Thursday, 6 January 2011

Happy New Year

What a mad New Years eve, I thought it had been busy before, jeezuz! Thousands of Indian males, and I literally mean thousands, turned up to get pissed and let their hair down. There was a virtual complete absence of Indian females, not even the modern city types accompanied their male friends. So weird, earlier the beach was crowded, but not seriously, there were plenty of families and couples. Come nightfall it was a distinctly male domain, and that’s when the booze came out. During the day there had been a beach wide alcohol ban, nothing for sale anywhere, strict instructions of the police.With the coming of darkness the all clear went up and the booze started to flow. I won’t say it was ugly, but there were enough surly looking guys scowling at tourists, in general they only wanted to shout happy new year in your ear and either hug you or shake your hand. I chatted to a few, individually people are fine, but you put them in a mob and they overreact a bit. Not in aggressive displays of manhood, like at home, more like drunken schoolboys, screeching in over enthusiastic delight at the most trivial things. Fires littered the whole beach, as did the bodies, without a light falling over people was unavoidable. Keep to the surf line and you were constantly accosted by guys throwing themselves around you, slurring their greetings at full pitch, yes, definitely drunken school boys.

I didn’t emerge myself until nearly mid-day, bleary eyed and hung over. Breakfast and a swim were in order, luckily the beach had been largely cleared of bodies, unluckily not of the debris left behind. A continuous arc of litter swept round the bay at the high water mark. Plastic bottles were strewn everywhere and broken bottles lay by outcrops of rock, I was outraged, how could people do this to their own natural heritage? Since arriving it’s been kept clear, few bits of litter got left on the beach, invariably what turned up was after a weekend, busy with Indian tourists. In many ways the Indian culture is wavering, coming under pressure from western wealth and freedoms. Consumerism here may have its own particular Indian flavour to it, but it’s still the same old game. Don’t give a shit about anything except your own, material pleasures, where happiness is measured in retail activity. Environment, animals, other people, they don’t matter, as long as you’re having fun. I got very anti Indian tourist on New Years day, my disgust for them made me raise serious questions whether there might be a tinge of racism in there. But no, I detest any cretin who throws their waste all over the place, whatever race, colour or creed.

Decisions have been made, a goal is in sight, and my planning can commence. South America has been so strong a temptation, and to be perfectly honest, still is. But it’s across the Ukraine, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgystan and China, into Laos. My route through China will take me through Tibet and into Lhasa, I’m lead to believe it includes some of the most remote roads in China, sounds brilliant eh? There will be a bit of a ziz-zag route to fit them all in, but I think I can manage. Somewhere along the way, I want to do more on horse back, where and when I haven’t a clue. Riding horses long distance would be an amazing way to complete a trip, but I think the understanding and experience required to care for the animal would be beyond me. So an independent, solitary trip by horseback isn’t in the offing yet, I need more time, more experience with horses. So South America has been ruled out, it feels kind of stupid to have shipped my bike back home only to ship it there again, so that can be plan B. As to timing; there are plenty of high altitude passes so I don’t expect to cross Central Asia until late June early July, into China towards the end of August. The next thing to determine is whether my limbs can actually bear the strain of riding major amounts of miles, so a few rides around the UK are in order.

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