Sitting in the cafe overlooking the pedestrian suspension bridge across the Ganges. An Indian guy in a turban comes in and goes over the the corner table and whistles towards the bridge. He then takes out a mobile phone and looks at it but doesn’t make a call. He sits down at the table where a tourist is sitting on his own smoking a cigarette. A short while later the friend he must have been whistling to on the bridge comes in and sits down at the table next to the tourist. There are other empty tables but they choose to sit at this one. In India there appears to be a different conception of personal space to that in the west. Someone sitting at a table doesn’t own that table. Another Indian comes and sits in the last vacant seat. The tourist gets up. The guy next to him lets him out. The tourist goes up to the desk to pay. Another Indian comes in and sits down at the table.
The island is 18km long and 12km wide, or 12km long and 18km wide, depending on which way up you hold the map. It’s known to islanders as “the rock”. The main event of the day seems to be the arrival of the ferry. There are three crossings a day from Thursday to Monday – no service on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
I don’t know why they call this place Moose Jaw but they do. I haven’t asked though. Maybe I should ask the waitress the next time she comes to refill my coffee – I’m on the third cup now.
83km (total so far 920km)
I was expecting this to be a tough day since it was over hills (mountains even) but it wasn’t that bad at all. The main reason for this I think was the weather – either the wind had dropped or I was sheltered from it by the hills. If I was given the choice between cycling into a strong headwind or cycling uphill I’d opt for a hot bath and a night in watching the tele, but if whoever was giving me the choice said no, it’s either hills or wind then I think I’d go for the hills. The thing with hills is you know they can’t go on for ever – you’ve got to eventually get to the top and come down the other side. And when you’re cycling into a strong wind and you can’t manage more than 15km/h and cars are whizzing past you they don’t have a clue what you’re up against because cars don’t feel the wind, and so I’m thinking they must be thinking God, he’s a really crap cyclist going so slowly on a nice flat road and that’s really demoralizing and makes it even harder.
I finished writing that last post at about 1 o’clock, had some lunch and then started cycling, heading North up Route 1, a long and sometimes quite hilly road. Got to the junction with route 6 just as it was getting dark and thunder clouds were gathering, but there was a sign saying 8 miles to a campsite so I thought I can do that, and headed off with my waterproofs and my lights on.