Ride The Flavour (en)

How India makes you do a split

Apr. 29th | 0 comments

Monday, April 14. The safety belt lights turn off for good and the aircraft doors open. It is 6 p.m., our captain is certainly a very punctual man. We enter the airport, pass the immigration without any problem, then arrive in front of the luggage belt and grab all our bags within a minute. Perfection itself seems to have coordinated our arrival… An hour later, however, we learn that our bikes have decided to extend their stopover in Colombo, Sri Lanka. And nobody is able to predict when they will leave for the India! So we leave the airport sitting in a taxi, but with the insurance to be called as soon as our bikes have resurfaced.

The next day, around 6 p.m., the airport called: our bikes were on today’s plane. They’ve arrived in New Delhi and will be delivered at the hotel within 2/3 h. Very well…

8:30 pm : “I’m on the way, I’ll be there in 10 minutes”
9: 45 pm “I am at the traffic light at the end of the street” 
10: 15 pm “Hello!”

So yes, obviously we were a bit stressed! At the airport, the bikes were safe. At the hotel, they would have been safe again. But between the two… And this guy doesn’t give any news for more than an hour after he had said that he was only 10 minutes away!

But what a relief to get our bikes back! We only had to put them up and the Indian adventure would begin!


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Wednesday, April 16. The hellish traffic of New Delhi is before us. There is no other way around, we have to enter the melee. Trucks, buses, cars, motorcycles and bicycles are one, no free square of asphalt is free for long. We are moving fitfully, stopping every 50 m. Yet in this jerky progression, one element remains constant: the hysteria of horns. The air is saturated. If not the truck next door, it is the motorcycle from behind, and if not on our way, it is on the other. Our ears do not have a single moment of respite.

After half an hour of this chaos, the traffic decongests finally, so that we can now ride without too much disruption and observe the surroundings of the road with more attention.

     – Everything is dirty. Roadsides are strewn with rubbish and it doesn’t seem to disturb anyone. Indians have a common trash: India. And this first impression was sadly a truth. Later on, when we asked “Where can I throw that away?”, the answer was always the same: “Here, throw it on the ground”.

Hedge of garbage between Delhi and Agra


     – In the city, only 2 m away from the noisiest and most polluting traffic, we can see tents, and their inhabitants are usually not far away… Never before had we seen people living in such misery.

     – We regularly hear these two words “money, money”, and most of the time, when we raise our eyes we see the face of a child.

     – But there are also the schoolchildren’s smiles and their “Hello, how are you?” coming out through the windows of their school buses.

Damien: “3 smiles particularly touched me. 3 children were sitting on a tree beside the road and they smiled at us as we were passing by. The tent of their family was a little further. They were doubtlessly in extreme poverty, and yet their smiles were pure and sincere. The most pure and sincere that a smile could be… But what does it mean? How can we understand it?”

     – In India, a head wobble means something like “Yes, I understand” (an approval) or simply “Hello”. It is first very confusing, but so funny: for a second, Indians whatever their age look like kids!

     – One last point. However interesting the Indian life can be along roadsides, we should not forget the road itself and pay attention to what comes from behind… but also from the front! Any vehicle, even a truck, can come towards you against the flow. Indian roads are anarchy, anything can happen. But there is no need to worry for all that: drivers are very attentive and anticipate your trajectory as long as you make no sudden movement. Just be careful… and have confidence!

We finally leave New Delhi behind us and take the NH2 towards Agra. The landscape is flat and dry. Monotonous. Motorbikes are regularly slowing down to ask us where we come from and where you are going. They are our only distractions. Gently, we acclimatize to India, and after 3 days riding, we enter in Agra. We spend a full day in this city, walking between the splendid architectures that the Mughal empire left behind it.

Sikandra, the Emperor Akbar’s mausoleum, who ruled the Mughal empire from 1556 to 1605.


The Agra fort, also built by Emperor Akbar. It was here that Emperor Shâh Jahân spent the last 8 years of his life, locked up by his son Aurangzeb for not having supported him as successor (and supported his elder brother Dârâ Shikôh instead). From his prison, he fortunately had a direct view to his masterpiece, the Taj Mahal…



The Taj Mahal. Wonder of wonders. Built by Emperor Shâh Jahân in memory of his beloved wife Arjumand Banu Begum. Construction began in 1631, and it took 22 years to complete the entire monument with the help of an estimated 20 000 workers.


All in all, it was a beautiful day, and almost a relaxing day despite the tourist bustle! First we were walking, and secondly and more importantly, we have seen no trace of incomprehension, envy or malice in the looks that we’d met. During the last 3 days, in the countryside between Delhi and Agra, we had often read these emotions around us. But here, we were only 2 tourists among others, we were relaxed.

And to complete the picture, why not sit on the roof top of the hotel?
And test the local Coca-Cola… before the Taj Mahal!
Thums up!


The next day, we left Agra and started riding towards Jaipur. Without going into details, we got sick one after another and going forward became a bit complicated. It took us 4 days, and the help of a truck on the last portion, to overcome 250 completely flat kilometers!

But in Jaipur, fabulous news was waiting for us…

And don’t worry, between two diseases, we had our quota of laughter!




To be continued…

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