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Tweets of India

April 24, 2010

I’ve become a huge fan of social networking site Twitter in the past year. There are some interesting and inspiring stories hidden among its members, and it’s a very powerful tool that I’ve enjoyed using to spread news of my expedition.

My tweets reach about 1,000 people at the moment, as well as some more who, I guess, read them directly from the right hand column of my blog. Here are some of the tweets I’ve posted since I set off from Mumbai 10 days ago, in chronological order, with little explanations below. Sorry for the lack of photos in this blog – I won’t get technical, because I can’t, but I’m having problems with my external hard drive:

16th April
Left Mumbai after an English breakfast with new friends Syd and Mihir. On the road south and looking forward to the Konkan coast.
Self-explanatory. Huge thanks go to Syd and Mihir for the delicious breakfast and the mosquito cream. It’s saving my ankles as I type this blog.

17th April
Why, why, why, kind hosts? An omelette is fine without a whole chili dumped in it…especially at 9am.
Since enjoying that spicy omelette, I’ve had plenty more spicy food including the strangest of drinks, a spicy banana milkshake. I wouldn’t have wished it on my worst enemy.

18th April
Impossible to replace fluids quick enough. Put simply, this is the hottest, most unpleasant weather I’ve ever encountered.
It’s true, I’ve never been anywhere as humid as this. Someone emailed me the other day saying they had just seen a feature on British TV saying that Mumbai and Maharastra were experiencing their hottest April in history. I’m in the thick of it, in the sun for up to 10 hours a day. It’s difficult to take photos (the camera lense steams up), I am sweating before I get up in the morning and like the tweet says, I can’t drink enough water. In a moment of inventory brilliance though, I bartered at a hair dressers for one those water sprays they use to wet a victim’s barnet. I have strapped it in position on the handlebars so that all I have to do is squeeze and I get a cool spray in the face. The only problem is that after 30 minutes the water is generally too hot to spray onto my face.

19th April

Taking the coastal route to Goa has meant 50km days and steep hills in ridiculous humidity, but beaches are a just reward. Tropical paradise.

There are no tourists on the Konkan Coast south of Mumbai. There is plenty of thick jungle and it’s dotted with small villages, trickling streams and the occasional river. But the beaches are the real draw. Miles and miles of deserted beaches, backed by palm trees and jungle. It’s a fair setting for a cycling adventure.

If Mongoose isn’t a household name in India then nothing is. Everyone knows the bat, and loves it.
Mongoose are one of my sponsors, and Marcus, the inventor, brought a new bat out to Mumbai for me last week, signed by their new player, Matthew Hayden. Mongoose only launched in India just before the IPL and it’s not an understatement to say it’s a phenomenon amongst the kids in the villages I’ve cycled through (“Mr, Mr, please can I have your Mongoose bat?”…..”No you can’t.”), as well as with the media.

First puncture since Syria today. Fixed by a lovely old man in tribal kit outside Kelshi. Told me I was first white man there for a year.
Like I said, there aren’t many tourists on the Konkan Coast. If I stop in a village, I have a crowd of at least 20 people around me in seconds. Most just stare because we don’t share a common language, but there is usually someone who speaks English and he translates what I’m saying to everyone else. 95% of people in the villages I’ve been cycling through are illiterate.

20th April
Thought I just heard first 3 bars of Chris Rea’s eternal classic Driving Home For Christmas sound from the horn of a bus.
The heat must be getting to me. It can’t have been. That reminds me though, Driving Home for Christmas was the only Christmas song I heard on the road this year, in petrol station cafes all through Bulgaria – I know I wasn’t imagining that, although it does seem strange in a largely Muslim country.

Glad mum cant see the place I’m staying in tonight. She’d have kittens…or rats. 103kms and bushed. Curry then bed…then breakfast (curry).
I’ve been doing a mixture of camping and ‘hotels’ so far – they’re so cheap and camping in 30 degree night time heat isn’t that fun. Still, some of the ‘hotels’ aren’t that fun either. I know India has a fascinating and diverse fauna, but surely it’s presence in hotel rooms is a bit much?

21st April
Heat and hills, no energy. Struggling. Give me some good / funny news from home to perk me up.
It’s always nice to get pick-me-ups, whether it’s good news, or just a funny story, from back home. Thanks to those who tweeted back with strange stories of volcanic ash and Iranian clerics.

Positioned myself nicely in front of a box to watch the IPL semi this evening. Who is going to win? Does anyone back in England care?
Did anyone care? Over here there isn’t anyone who doesn’t try to watch it. Lack of TV’s is a problem for a lot of folks but they all congregate and watch it together, which makes for a great spectator sport in itself.

23rd April
I’m the only person on this beach without a tatoo. I feel so left out.
Goa at this time of year.

24th April
India is too hot to have hair, so I’ve just had most of it shaved off (from my head).
Yes, that’s right. I’ve got a very, very small head, and it’s not got a lot of hair on it now. I look so stupid.

And that’s where I’ve got to. I’ve just got back from having my head shaved. I’m leaving Goa tomorrow morning to get back on the bike and head east across India. Word has it that the weather is about to change. I hope word is right.

If you’ve got something to tweet about, sign up and join my twitter account while you’re at it.

If you liked this blog then please sign up for further email updates here. They’re closing up at this cafe so I’ve got to dash. Have a great week!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. tali permalink
    April 24, 2010 11:55 pm

    i want to see this tiny head

  2. Brian Read permalink
    April 25, 2010 6:32 am

    Yes, we need a pic of the fast becomming infamous head!!….Just by way of an aside, India is mainly Hindu….hope your hard drive is sorted soon, all power to your legs…

    • April 25, 2010 6:46 am

      Pic of the aero-dynamic barnet has been posted on FB and twitter now…think I said that it is Bulgaria that is largely least in the south east of the country near the Turkish border anyway. Am I right Victoria Extemporalis?

      • Victoria permalink
        April 26, 2010 1:42 pm

        Dear Oliver, Bulgaria definitely isn’t a largely Muslim country (80 % orthodox Christians) and some truly patriotic Bulgarian would certainly have found the time to kick your butt for saying that, while using his spare foot for kicking the Turks’ butts out of our country some 100 years prior to today’s Monday! 🙂

        Glad you keep vrooming, pity you cut the hair off.
        Did you manage to knit a sweater with it already or not yet? 🙂

        All the best!

  3. Dad permalink
    April 25, 2010 11:01 am

    First time I’ve seen you with a bigger barnet below the chin than above the eyes!Good to talk this morning and good luck on the road to Hyderabad.
    Love from us all.

  4. Annie permalink
    April 25, 2010 4:59 pm

    PEA HEAD!!! 🙂

  5. Marian permalink
    April 26, 2010 1:24 pm

    You wanted a joke. Its one of Liberty and Jodi’s. Here goes!!!!

    A man with 2 left feet walking along the beach, what does he wear on his feet??

    FLIP FLIPS or (Flop Flops)

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