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SOUTHERN INDIA    DIARY  3

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 From Diary 2, I now enters the central part of India.
27.
I sleep just as bad, as I done every night since Central America, and wake up cold, and to a lack of power and water. At least, I got breakfast. I have to wake up the receptionist to be locked out. I have found a larger village Gangapur 10 kilometres away, and head here, to find a police station, at seven. It is a real poor town with practical no sealing on any streets.

None of the policemen I wake up, speak any English, nor do those meeting in. I get to give a lot of information a lot o times, either to officers working the case, or curious ones. We end up driving to the accidence site in a police car, and it is exactly, where I pointed it out on the map - and in an other district!

Back for my car and a guided tour the district border. From here, a motorcycle guides me additional ten kilometres to an other police station in Nevasa. None speak English, but finally, the call in two teachers from the local school - who kind of speak English. I give my data once again, and now also my description of the accidence, which have not been reported.

While we work on that (written in real bad English), I ask for a mechanic. They call a third teacher, living here. He drive me on his motorcycle to a garage, who will make some bush-fixes. Back at the station to sign the report and wait for something along with the mechanic.  At least, I have done all I can, to be correct.

The mechanic want to use two days to fix it; I give him an hour. It does not look new, but the headlamp is back, and nothing sticks out. I have lost a day and a half, and I can't figure how to make them back. I set the GPS for Ellora and the B&B I have found here.

It is along the same highway, and this time, I meet around 500 sheep. I manages to NOT make a video of that incidence. A bit later, it is a group of water buffalos, and I kind of get that, facing the low sun. Here start to be some cotton fields and fig plantations, but it remains rather dry.

I reach the Ellora area, and huge Bodhi trees form an alley, while temples and alike is found along the road. Here are quite some nature, till I enters the town. Lines of stands with plastic souvenirs for the pilgrims and their children dominates, along with some restaurants.

I start driven into the area with my B&B, but these roads are not for cars. I park out on the big road, and walk straight to the right place. They should have Wi-Fi (which I later fails to find), and hot water is by demand, in a bucket. It faces the fields, and is on the top of the families' house. I drop the bag, and head back to town at six. On the way back, I stop at the horses and goats within the town. It is not the rich part of an else poor town, but people are so friendly and smiling.

It is only two kilometres to the Cave Temple, and right through town at first. I see the market of the neighbourhood, and pass the stalls fast. A huge Gath have temples inside, and a bit of water. A little road leads over the fields to the huge staircase, leading to the caves.

Shoes are left at the button, and the steps are rather rough rocks. I meet two but-naked Digambara monks, but don't get a proper photo, despite they don't care. One of them is kind of choppy, and a cheerful guy. They do bear the traditional ostrich feather broom, but don't use it at all.

Besides from the rather new main temple, here are some fantastic old ones, made from great stone work. Elephants and men along some gods. They don't want me to make photos within the main temple, but ask for selfies (just like the policemen, teachers, mechanics and others have done the entire day).

The sun is setting over the plain, in a real red scenery. I hurry down and back to town in the last light. I pass two nice restaurants at the start of town, but can't really find any closer to home. Well, I get some dumplings-like things and some milk-tea. I had hoped for internet to do some planning and find a mirror for the car, along with a new tire. Hate to drive without them both! Ellora.

28. I get a bucket of hot water, just as I finished my breakfast. It is so much better than a cold shower! I set the GPS for Ajanta, only 97 kilometres away. However, the GPS guess on 53 minutes is a bit off. Not only is the car limited to 80 Km/h, here are no sealing on most of the stretch - but quite some traffic.

It is a misty - or smoky morning, and a challenge to drive. The road leads through dry bushland, harvested farmland and a few watered green fields. The combination on real bad surface, insane traffic and manual gear make it hard to make any photos. And no chance I stop and let the trucks I just overtaken, get back in front!

I have no spare tire, and that is really a issue in these roads. Only a few shops are open, and they don't have my size. Long stretches are some odd head sized bumps, with a occasional swamp-breaker. I don't exactly drive after the safe-limitations, but it still take me two and a half hour to reach Ajanta.

Ajanta is fare from a rich town, despite its famous cave temples. Pigs are fighting over trash in the muddy main street, houses are falling apart, and it is not a tourist site at all. Once, it must have been rich, to judge from the impressive city wall and huge gates. I head on, to get to the deep canyon the river have cut. I get to park for a fee, take the shuttle for a fee and pay my 10 to get into the sight.

The cave temples here are real old and quite big. They are found along a horseshoe bed of the river, and besides from the fine fronts, there are exclusive rock cuttings and drawings on all walls and sealing - although blackened by time and smoke.

I desperately try to capture the interior and the front of the temples. The inside is real dark, the outside facing a narrow path. Inside each temple is either one large central Buddha statue along with other small ones, many of Hindi gods. Some temples have a huge rock ball as the centre piece. Besides from the caves, here are chipmunks, black-faced monkeys and a mongoose.

My next site is 470 kilometres south of here, and despite the GPS' optimistic guess on four and a half hour, I know I can't make it today, despite it is just noon now. It is still by bad roads and through dry bushland with some farming. One area have grapes, another cane. The ox wagons are everywhere, especially on the road. I se a single horse carriages, but here are not many horses at all.

I try one more tire repair, and he have a worn-down tire, which have been patched from the outside several times. And with montage and a new hose (the former one lasted five hours), it somehow sums up to R1950. Rather steep, but I have a peace of mind, knowing I got a spare tire on these roads.

It is the cotton harvest season too, and hundreds of small trucks and ox wagons are lined up in front of the factories with huge loads. At five, I start looking for a hotel. At six, the sun sets over a banana field, and then it is dark. Driving in India after dark is not for the faint hearted!

I am after all driving in a remote countryside, and the villages are containing of fifteen huts. The road turn into gravel in 18 kilometres, which is rather smooth and light. Then it is back to the bumpy line of black potholes. And all the water buffalos, goats, sheep and cows are out now in the dusk. I have now entered the Karnataka & Bengaluru regions, and I hope they are finish renovating their roads.

Finally, I make it to a proper road, and stop in several small towns and villages to ask for a hotel. I am pointed further down the road every time. Then I get to the large city of Parli, and I can see tall buildings across the river with "Hotel". I still have 200 kilometres to my next site, but it is impossible to do that at night.

Unfortunately, "hotl" means "restaurant", but I finally find a nice hotel, and get a huge room with living room, hot water, and all - but internet. They have two routers in the reception, but won't share. The point me to the next-door restaurant. I order a light meal, and ask for their Wi-Fi code. Unfortunately, they can't find it. Ajanta and a lot of road.

29. Despite the price of the room, there are no hot water, although it was promised. I hit the road half pass six, as I have yet another long drive ahead. First 200 to Bidar, then 130 to Hyderabad, where I might get to see a few things today. I drive before sunset, and when it raises, it is red as the sunset.

The roads are generally better today, but it is a patch-work, the longest stretch is 19 kilometres. It is through dry farmland and yellow grass, and through a few small villages. The traffic is light, and I meet more cows and people on foot, than vehicles. Some fields are watered and lush green of filled with vegetables.  One area have black and white Indian oxen.

After four hours of intense driving, I make it to the rather poor town of Bidar. I had expected to end at the huge fortress, but I'm at the courthouse. I get a direction, and soon after; a lift on a moped from two young men. The fort is truly impressive! It is pretty intact, and have a tipple moult. It was build from 1426-32, and the outer wall is 5500 metres long.

It is one of the most impressive fortresses in India, and I had expected the usually 15 times entrance fee for a pale, but it is for free! Well, here are only locals anyway, and while walking around in the nearby Old Town, I get a clear feeling off: They never get visitors at all! I see some of the impressive buildings, but fare from it all.

Then I walk back through the old town, and see the "rustic" buildings, the market and the impressive clock-tower. Several local shopkeepers and others ask for photos, but they don't mean selfies. They mean photos of them with my camera? Even the numerous Muslins. I get some milktea, but fail to find lunch, despite it is noon.

I have 135 kilometres to my next site, and the roads are actually quite good - most of the way. The last half is actually a toll road with little traffic and no potholes, and I get to enjoy the drive fully. The first part s through an open forest with yellow grass underneath. When I get close to a river, there are intense farming. Here are tractors, but a lot of weeding is done by hand, sitting down.

I pass tent camps daily, some being those of the road workers, others by seasonal workers like the cotton pickers. Then I enters a huge city, with huge, modern buildings. I still have 25 kilometres to my hotel in Hyderabad. But it is Hyderabad! Well, the population is more than twice the entire Danish! Around 12.000.000.

It take forever in dense traffic to get to the hotel. Then it turns out, they have no room for me. Next door, they are way too expensive . Especially the standard considered. I borrow the first ones internet, and find one in the centre of old Hyderabad. I didn't want that at first, as parking can cause a problem. But I don't bother drive here anyway...

It is ten kilometres away, and I state I'll be there at five. And I am on the dot! One hour to drive 10 kilometres and walk a few hundred kilometres back over the bridge. It is aliened with fruit stands. I get yet another room without hot water and Wi-Fi.

Plenty of daylight, so I see the old town. And get milktea one place and masala tea another. And only now, I realises: Masala is ginger! I see a lot of small shops, and again, I get the feeling; they newer seen a pale before. Everyone want to chat and be my friend, despite so few speak any English. After some time, I take avenges of; that they are a bit slow, and I get 10-20 metres down the street, before they call me - and I overhear it. I simply can't talk with them all!

Despite it is a fairly modern city, some of the shops are dealing with wooden tools and some are making huge cupper kettles over open fire. I buy milktea one place: First I buy a ticket, then I exchange it for a cup of hot tea. Same system are in use, where I find dinner after dusk. One of the shopkeepers are so eager to show me the old mosque, but I'm kicked out right away.

I find some dinner next door: Some omelette-like pancakes with herbs and several balls of dip. I sit in the lobby and use their internet, while I feed the mosquitoes and listen to loud music at a smart phone and the numerous horns from the street. 
Bidar with Fort and Hyderabad.

Despite I remain in Hyderabad, I open Diary 4.

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