The Blue Camels

The Blue Camels finish the Rickshaw Run... Featured

26 Sep 2011
3,000 kilometers, 13 days, 60L of petrol, 50+ breakdowns, 30 chai stops, etc.. Numbers that describe the 2011 Autumn Rickshaw Run as experienced through the Blue Camels' senses and vehicle. These numbers tell very little about the adventure itself, for numbers do not capture emotions, feelings, thoughts, smiles, tears and laughter. However, starting on the 23rd of September, when we ended the race at 5pm in Jaisalmer, numbers will dictate how our story is told. Pity really. But that needn't be the case. We have documented this epic journey in high definition video, spanky photos and some blog posts. These mediums are hardly sufficient to document every magical moment that we experienced in those 13 days, but we hope they give you a taste of what was. --------------------- Over the last 4 days of our trip, we really started to master our rickshaw, "she who cannot be named". We all became expert rickshaw-wallahs, as they are called locally. Our confidence levels soared as we took on Rajasthani roads, trucks and cows head on. The team picked up some real good tans and did some serious mileage. On day 10, we left Agra to go to Jaipur. That morning we left a bit later from the city than we usually do when leaving a place. We crossed the Yamuna River to take videos on the bank with the Taj Mahal in the background. It was a beautiful morning and some of the locals around were helping out. We got some great footage to add to our submission to the World Diabetes Day campaign. We then got escorted to a souvenir shop where we spent what little money we had left on gifts for loved ones at home; plus some goodies for ourselves. The owner of the shop, as it turns out, is diabetic, so we got an interview with him on video as well. It is crazy; the number of diabetics there are. Many locals have direct or second hand experience with diabetes. Leaving Agra without a jerry can for the first time. That's the little 10L container we mix our oil and petrol in before putting it into the fuel tank. So we thought to ourselves "There's four days left. Let's just mix it as we pour it in to the tank. No need to invest in a new jerry can." It caused a few hairy moments at petrol stations when they refused to fill up our tanks directly (something about it being a safety hazard). Overall, the engine was ok though. Our guesstimates were pretty much spot on, I guess. Did some lovely afternoon driving to arrive in Jaipur in the late afternoon. Checked into Karni Niwas guesthouse, where some of the other teams had already checked in. Kick back and enjoy the evening. Distance covered: 240km. Wake up very slowly on day 11, as we made it a rest day where we dedicated 3 hours in the morning to visiting the local hospital and medical college for diabetes interviews. The hospital was not fruitful as it was bogged down with patients and we couldn't get any time with the local endocrinologists or diabetologists. Fortunately, the medical college had some wonderful students who were willing to talk to us about diabetes in India and their thoughts on it. After lunch we headed to Amber Fort, a beautiful on a hill just outside Jaipur where we witnessed fantastic landscapes, monkeys and a cobra piper. We proceeded to purchase some precious stones from Jaipur's bustling old city (a.k.a "pink city") in the form of rings, earrings, bracelets. All as gifts of course. Distance covered: 0km. After agreeing to convoy with another team ("you've korma be joking") the night before, we missed the departure time by a good hour and a half. So we were on the road again, alone. The roads were not too stressful, and our destination for the day was going to be Jodhpur. This is the day before last based on our schedule. Our emotions are a nice mix of longing and anticipation, but also of sadness as we realized it was coming to an end. Only 600km to go or so, and it felt weird. We really did get attached to the beast and the routine. Wake up early. Churn out the kilometers. Work the broken down rickshaw. Get through the potholes. Break for chai and dal. It was a bitter sweet feeling, which we enjoyed thoroughly. Most of our day went on without a major hitch. Our petrol tank cover started disintegrating again, so we used a pack of crisps in front of the cover on the tank, to make sure nothing comes out of it. Some duct tape never hurt. We arrive in Jodhpur late afternoon, around 5 30 and check into where our lovely mates from "you've korma be joking" were staying. Proceed to the local market to enjoy local pineapple and coconut juice, followed by a shave and a hair cut. On our arrival back at the hotel room, each one of us just crashed to bed. We were exhausted. Distance covered: 330km Final day arrives. We wake up excited. The rickshaw has been making funny noises over the last 400km, and we're thinking, this would probably have been the extent of its ability to cope with the Indian roads and the Rickshaw Run. Our first 50km is basically east-Indian in its condition. Many pot holes and our beast took a beating. The rest of the ride to Jaisalmer was dotted with camel photos, lovely music, deep silent moments, and laughter. Good times with the boys on this trip. Although our trip in India is not over yet, we know that the intensity is going to drop significantly in the next 8 hours. We're happy for that. We're sad for that. As human beings, we were not lost before embarking on this trip, and yet, we found ourselves on it. It is hard to explain. I guess my most vivid memories of this trip were the ones where I was completely immersed in the moment. Nothing else crept into what you were doing or seeing. Nothing. I guess that's what meditation is about. In this day and age of super communication it is great to get a break like that. Our last few kilometers are driven to the sounds of Bob Marley, The Eagles and house music. We arrive in Jaisalmer, proceed to the finish line at Jawahar Niwas Palace. It's not a big welcoming finish line. There's barely anyone there. That's ok. We feel good to be here. We sign on the finish board. Join everyone else at the swimming pool for some food and drink and chill out... Distance covered: 270km Much took place after we arrived in Jaisalmer. I will be talking about that in the next blog post. Please visit our Facebook page, where we have uploaded many a photo for your enjoyment and ridicule. God bless...
Written by  The Blue Camels Published in Blog Read 496147 times
The Blue Camels

The Blue Camels

Three crazy dudes driving a Tuc-Tuc (aka Rickshaw) across India.



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