Monday, February 11, 2008

India day 2 to the party

The second day started out like the first. Try to get out of a busy busy city, and try to get the the end checkpoint before it got dark. The second day we finally got our rickshaw. It was Red #25. I requested an orange rickshaw but at least they spelled our team name right. Art and I took turns driving and divided it up by distance. Every day I started out driving he would end driving. We were a good team. We only broke down like 5 times. A couple of the times we were close enough to a town either to be, pushed back by another team, or to push it back manually to get a part. Sometimes you could pay someone to take their mo-ped into town and bring you back the part for the local mechanic to install. If you weren't close to a town you could call the dispatcher on the pre-paid phone they gave us to use and the mechanics that traveled with the ralley would come and fix us where ever we might be. If they touched it there was a 200 rupee service charge no matter what...we tried not to have them help us out. The stuff that broke for the most part wasn't anything major. The first time it was the clutch wire, then the accelerator wire. The next break was a little was a piece of the cluth. At one point our crank shaft cover screws came out and the thing was open. It was a little costly. I have to say gas and maintainence was the biggest expense. But still wasn't that much. We carried with us spare bottles of oil and gas in the "trunk" in case we ran out. We never knew because there wasn't a gas guage...or a speedometer...or for that matter a front head light, horn, or turn signal etc. Our rickshaw was still the fastest out of all of them. We ended up being first a bunch of times and techincally should have won. They don't pick the winner on that basis though. It's really whoever is best for their publicity. But like I said before we left, I wasn't going to win.

Around the 4th day Art and I started to hang out with the documentary crew that was there to cover the whole race. The t.v channel was called SS Music which was the equivelent of MTV. The face for the documentary was named Gibran. A cool guy that was fluent in English. We started hanging out a lot and he eventually told us that 1)The article he was writing for this english magazine was going to be about us. And 2)The documentary he was filming was going to be focused on us. It was like over night a star was born. They would follow us in their mini-van and do interviews with us during the day and after we hit the end check point. It was fun. During one of the first days they were traveling with us they stopped us at the school we were suppose to visit. Everyday we visited a school and played with the kids, handed out supplies and stuff like that. So we were in first place so we weren't surprised when we stopped and no one was there. We saw the kids inside looking out there windows and smiling, obviously excited that there were white people and video cameras there. We did the opening of us walking into the school while being interviewed and once through the gates the producer (gopi) whispers to us, "Yoooo wrong school!!!" We immediatly waved to the kids and jumped in our auto and drove away. It was soooooo funny but I felt so bad for those kids.

After about the 5th day we got to the end checkpoint after another day of trying to survive the madness. After the arrival and taking pictures with the whole group of racers for the local paper we were requested by the radio station that interviewed us the first time. "HELLO 106.4" This was a different area but the same station. They brought us to the radio station and we went in. We had our second live broadcast. The whole show was for about an hour so we just chilled and took phone calls. Went out, had dinner, went back and passed out.

The second to last day I have to say was probably the coolest. One of the challenges was to go about 30km's off of the track and check out a waterfall. The road up to the waterfall was windy and steep and up a mountain. No guard rails and a steep drop awaited us if I fucked up. We got up the mountain in one piece and saw the waterfall. There were monkey's everrrrrryyyywhere. I had a stick with me already to beat monkey's off the rickshaw because they had a habit of jumping onto the rickshaw and stealing whatever they could even while we were moving. We took all our valuables and walked to the waterfall where we found a chain that led under the waterfall. We had to get under it. The t.v crew was with us so they watched our shit and we went under. It was soooo refreshing and cold and amazing and AWESOME! After a little bit we walked back to the rickshaw. From the radio station they gave us a HUGE bag full of business cards with sucking candies stapled to them. We left that in the rickshaw because it wasn't valuable. We got back from the waterfall and the cards were ALL over the place with not one sucking candy left in any of the wrappers. Damn monkey's.

After all that we got to the end checkpoint and after the next day, which was thefinal day of the race, they threw a party for us in a really nice hotel (which was included with the entry fee so we got to stay in a place that actually had hot water!). It was all you can drink, all you can eat, all you can party. They gave out awards and announced the winners. I think we got something like 4th place out of 26 teams. Our award was the "wow I can't believe they are still alive" award. We had a reputation, know what i'm saying? After that ceremoney we continued drinking. Sometimes in the evening 9 people decided to grab me and try to throw me in the pool. I couldn't escape and started yelling that I had my passport and cell phone in my pocket. My teammate Art said "I'll help you!" Then proceeded to only take the stuff out of my pocket so I could be deposited into the pool. I stopped fighting because each appendage had a person or two on it, it was a losing battle. All at once they counted to three and realeased me into the air! Sadly they got a lot of upward motion but no foward motion. I landed smack on the concrete with only my face hitting the water. They fucked up! I stood up and grabbed the first person I could and launched us into the pool. My chest felt like I was dropped on it! What a night.

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