Saturday, 3 July 2010

From Iran to India; Desert to Monsoon; Theocracy to Democracy

After traveling at 12 miles-per-hour for the past 4 and a half months, to suddenly eat up 1,376 miles at about 600 miles-per-hour was always going to leave me in a bit of a haze.
The boring but necessary logistical challenges all came off without a hitch; finding and then transporting a bike-sized cardboard box on the back of said bike; checking-in to a flight with 60 kg of stuff, 100% more than allowed; rebuilding the bike in the middle of an airport.

I now sit surrounded by Tibetan monks being looked over by the Dalai Lama rather than Ayatollahs and Imams Khamenei and Khomeini. Most people are Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist. The air is wet, my mouth doesn't get dry in 3 breaths. Everything is green, and in English, and people nod their head sideways. I've been soaked by early monsoon rains, and nearly expired climbing 400m vertically in 2 miles. I'm in McLeodganj, above Dharamsala, the home of the Tibetan government in exile. Last week I was in Tehran, the capital of an Islamic Republic. Fundamentally, through all the differences, the people are still people, most are still good. Everyone still bloody beeps.

My first ever ride on a motorbike - Royal Enfield, dirt road, Himalayas (concentrating)

Sun set at Mcllo

Golden Temple, Amritsar

Resting Sikh with dagger

Henna, Pakistan-India border (the closest we could get)

Crazy border closing ceremony, Wagah

The mud-brick streets of Yazd

Our desert hosts back in Iran

I must apologise for the briefness but beer and the World Cup (or preferably the Tour de France) await. More soon!