June 20, 2009 GMT
Chennai to Vijayayawada

First I promise to mention clearing the bike yesterday.......
No surprise it took all day, getting security pass to go into secure customs warehouse, meeting customs officer and all his helpers, locating the bike crate, then opening it.
As soon as the crate was opened at least a dozen workers all gathered round poking and playing with every part of the bike. This is something I'll have to get used to.
Anyway after about 6hrs I had the bike assembled and rode out off there.
I left Chennai at 8am to head off to highway N5 but of course all the directions to get out of Chennai had me going all over. Finally at around 9am I got on the road and then just had to go straight as the road goes all the way to Calcutta.
I was hoping that riding in this heat would be abit cooler and to be fair it is but you still feel like you are riding in a furnace. I had to keep my visor down as it burnt my face. I even rode with out gloves as they were too hot but were protected by my handguards. Fantastic to finally cruising through the country side but you can't relax for a minute. The traffic my god, you can't second guess anything. The N5 is a 4lane highway (2 each way) but it's nothing for you to come across a truck coming down your lane on the wrong side of the road.
I had my first misshap early on, I went to stop at a roadside Chai stop and as I pulled in I misjudged the width of the bike with the panniers on and wacked a tree which left the pannier lying on the ground and me trying to keep the bike upright without dropping it. Luckily I had some spare small bolts on hand and managed to replace the rivets which had been pulled out. Lesson learnt.... its bigger than you think!.
Anyway I'm so pleased to be on the road. Did about 480Km today, not too bad.
Vijayayawada (you don't get a more Indian name than that) is actually a very nice city with a large river running through it. Much less hustle than Chennai thank god.
Just one more thing, every time I stop I get mobbed by are crowd within seconds, I even took to stopping in a layby with no one around. No different, they stop either in their car ,on a bike or scooter so there is no getting away from it . They just crowd around asking same old same old, where you from?, how much is this bike? (I now reply "why you want to buy it"), where you come from? where you going. I'm thinking of getting leaflets printed!!!

Posted by Ross MacDonald at June 20, 2009 05:03 PM GMT

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