Sunday, December 9, 2007

India Auto Rickshaw Spectacular

Some of you have been informed already about my upcoming adventure. Dec. 29th I will be leaving for India to participate in the 2007 CEAT Autorickshaw charity race. My friend from orientation, Art, and myself are leaving from Seoul (the capital of Korea) on the 29th at 1050 in the morning. We land in Thailand at 4:45 pm and have a one night lay over there. It will be nice cause i'll get to see a little of Bangkok. We leave the next morning at 1055am and land in Chennai India 1245pm. We are getting picked up from the airport by transportation provided by the event. When we get there the fun begins. This race is a team event. Each team recieves a Tuk Tuk, or Autorickshaw, that they will use for the duration of the event. The Auto rickshaw is basically a motorcycle taxi. One wheel in the front, two in the back and bench seat behind the drivers seat all enclosed with a roof. Forget the doors here. They vary in size but basically on the smaller side. It's gonna be funny Art is about 6' 2". I'll take plenty of pictures of him squeezing in. Some are in better shape than others but they are all basically guaranteed to break at least once in the event. But hey, getting them fixed is all part of the fun. Since they are really popular in India there is no shortage of repair men. Even the smallest town has at least one specialist. THE RACE: It is a 10 day, 600+ mile race down the South East coast of India. It starts in Chennai and we work our way down the coast. We race in every type of terrain India has to offer. From deserted roads to thick jungles, from busy paved city streets to dirt roads in a monsoon. The race is tour de France style so we start at a checkpoint and end at another one for the day. That night we all get dinner and hang out until the next morning. The people with the best time at the end of the race win. Let me say right away I don't give 5 shits about winning, the experience in itself is rewarding enough for me. We will be seeing places that many tourists have never been. I plan on stopping many times when ever we want to get out and look around. My team name is The Hanuman-iacs. It was Art's idea and a very good one at that. Hanuman is a monkey god in India. He went around India in his time and caused all sorts of trouble, he is very popular among the Indian people. It should help us out especially in the smaller towns. Adding iacs to the end to make maniacs was just as necessary as taking showers. It made it THAT much better. When we get there first thing is to go through the check in process. Right after that we learn how to actually drive the thing. Since I drive a bike I think it will be easier for me than others but all in all it shouldn't be too hard. Basic gears and clutch so we should be good to go. Next we get to paint our rickshaw. It should be obvious that we are going to paint a big picture of a monkey on the thing. I requested orange base paint so we can be seen better but I don't know if that will work out. Either way, there will be painting. After the first day of learning how to drive we all hang out together, the next morning the race starts. I can't explain how excited I am about this whole thing so I won't even try. I bought a video camera specifically to film the event so i'll make some DVD's and put stuff on my facebook. I'll have this footage when I get home so if ya'll wanna see what's good it'll be there. After we finish the race it will be January 9th...yes new years will be celebrated in India...IN A COCONUT GROVE! Off the hoooook. We fly out of India on the 10th (hopefully with tailor made suits and jewlery cause it's maaad cheap) and land in Bangkok later that night. We are going to an Island right off the coast. Art lived there for 6 months while teaching so he knows the area. We got a little cabin literally on the beach and i'm gonna chill there until the 13th when I fly out. I can't wait. Jealous?

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