Time in Kanpur

Posted in The journey journal, india at 11:56 am by Administrator

We have been the last 4 days in the city of Kanpur. I broke my bike seat in half and my awesome parents have sent me a new one and so we are now waiting for it to arrive here in Kanpur. That will take a lot of faith in the Indian postal service. My parents have received a parcel from me here and so I figure that they should be able to get a parcel to me but it is proving a little difficult. I’ve been in and out of the post office nearly every day and while Australia post seems to be able to tell me that its in India the indians have no record of it. Hmmm. The inside of the post office is amazingly dirty and I wouldn’t want my dog to live in the conditions those people work in. They spit all over the walls and floors with the red spit of people that chew beetle nut. Its a pretty universal habit here and absolutely disgusting. The piles of red spit are everywhere and you can’t touch ANYthing because of it. The place also smells of months old urine and there are piles of rubbish in most corners. Its amazing they can even think about delivering mail let alone surviving a day at work.

We caught the train into Kanpur as we couldn’t take the riding in this country anymore. Nic was being constantly harrassed on the bike and there was no room to breath as every where we stopped a crowd of 10 to several hundred people would all push in on top of us to stare. So we found a hotel in the town of Shinkohabad (the only hotel in town and its marked as a restaurant not a hotel, we stumbled across it as it looked like the only place clean enough to eat at). One of the waiters was easily the best in india and could have worked a high class place anywhere and spoke perfect english. man he was wasted in that town. In shinkohabad while waiting for Nic to check out the train schedule (a monumental task in itself as no one in the train station can agree on times or prices) I was asked to sign numerous autographs for some reason. Apparently being white means that you are “rich, clever and famous” according to one of our admirers. I just wish that they’d stand back a mile if they feel the need to stare. They are so invasive. The train we caught was the cheapo regular passenger train and the 200 km journey cost us $1.30 and then and extra 75 cents for the bikes. It took 7 hours to get the distance and we spent that time perched a little uncomfortably but out of harms way on the luggage racks above the other passengers. It was a train full of all types and goats and everything. It was actually quite good as for the most part everyone left us to ourselves which was the first time that had happened outside our hotel rooms.
We’ve been spending most of our time hiding in the hotel in Kanpur to avoid the heat and people. We did go out for a few errands and to see a bollywood movie at the cinema. Hilarious stuff and they seem to speak a kind of hindi mixed with english in the movie. apparently speaking english is a bit of a status symbol.

Also one of our outings today ended in quite an adventure.
We went to fruitlessly check the train times out of the city (the guy kept asking me what train I wanted and I couldn’t make him understand that that was what I was asking him.). So on the way back from the station we thought that we’d get a rickshaw to avoid further sweating (which is profuse in the humidity). A few metres down the road a guy on a motor bike reached out and grabbed Nic fair on the boob. Needless to say I was a little upset about that and dived out of the rickshaw and gave chase. I could only see red and I therefore caught up to him at the next intersection. There was a guy on the back of the bike and I nearly took his head off. His mate, still on the bike, took off and the bloke I grabbed kept pointing at the guy on the bike. I saw him on the other side of a large roundabout laughing at me. I knew then that it was him that had done the dirty dead and I wanted to make him pay so I took off. Only someone that has had a massive adrenaline rush will know the power that it gives and with that power I knew I could get him. Logical thinking would say that a bloke on foot would never get a guy on a motor bike but my god I did. As I caught up to him in the traffic (that he was vainly trying to push through) I took a swipe at his head and as he ducked he reved hard and ran into an auto rickshaw and crashed the bike. I’d been running hard and had to jump to clear the fallen bike and as I turned back I saw that an undercover cop or very concerned citizen on a motorbike had also been giving chase to the excitement. He collared the guy and lifted him off the ground by the shirt. There was noway now that I could take the vengence that I wanted but I don’t feel bad as the treatment that he got at the hands of the police made me feel that justice was served. The undercover cop slapped him around pretty nicely and gave him a few good punches to the jaw and then the uniforms turned up. They all carry large bamboo sticks and let him get closely aquainted with a few of them. As all this was happening some guy tried to run off with the bloke’s motorbike. (what an opportunistic bastard) and off trotted 2 cops and they gave him a frightful smashing with their bamboo sticks. (note to self: don’t piss off an indian policeman). The sticks are used to beat people, clear crowds that gather, move traffic along by smashing lights or poking the drivers and finally as leaning sticks when things are a little boring. After the offender was litterally thrown into the back of the police wagon and carted off they wanted a statement from me. I had to get back nd let Nic know that I hadn’t killed the guy and a mob hadn’t turned on me and so I had to drag a few police back to where I’d left her in the rickshaw with a very bemused looking driver. They then drove us to the police station in a commandeered rickshaw (another use of the sticks is taking peoples property for police use) and drove to the station. We spent a while filling out the statement. The male cops who understood what happened couldn’t really see what all the fuss was about but by the scandalised looks of teh female cops we definitely have some friends in there. After that they droves us back to the hotel and we’re not leaving unless we absolutely have to for the next few days until I can track this parcel down and leave the city.

So that was our adventurous afternoon in sunny india. We’re such a great tourism ad for teh place aren’t we. Its also really ironic as there is quite a few articles in the papers over here about Indians being beaten up in Australia and here I am over here setting a fine example for my country by doing it here. I hope that I don’t make the papers or The Australian reputation is sunk.

Also as an aside we’re not riding anymore in india. Its become too uncomfortable and I’m going to do more damage if the behaviour doesn’t improve and so we’re avoiding it by catching the trains. IF only we can find a timetable somewhere.

Love and hugs to all


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