Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Long not Winding Road

The NH5 is a long not winding road through flat countryside filled with paddy fields.  I set out from Bhubaneswar toward Cuttack and then onwards.  Once out of the towns it really was featureless and almost straight as a die.  I seem to have mislaid the mp3 player or lost it all together so there was no music to listen to.  All in all it made for hot and boring 130ks.  However I have met some of the nicest kindest people who have taken their time to help me on my way.  After my 10/- breakfast I met some guys at the chai stall who bought me chai and explained the route to me.  At lunch (a really good 30/- thali) more help and advice and lots of friendly chat.  There is a town I was heading for on the map which does not exist but nearby there is another one.  I pulled off the highway and asked directions of a rickshaw driver but we couldn't understand each other.  Waves and shouts from the shade of a cafe drew me over and I spent a very happy half hour cooling down, drinking sprite and getting directions for the last 15kmsfrom a group of blokes who seemed to have been put there just for me.  They all spoke English and the patriarch was a particularly interesting and cultured gentleman.  My last meeting of the day was a young guy on a Hero Honda ( I know I've been unkind before) who guided me through a labyrinth of villages and unmade roads to the temple I was heading for in Jajpur and then my hotel.  I now have a vast room with ceiling fan and a working shower.  The only downside of the whole day is the temple which I, as a non-Hindu, can't visit.  I also mis-timed my evening meal and arrived at the only restaurant in town just as it sold out and shut. 
One of the things I have noticed over the last 3 days is the lack of Human excrement by the side of the road.  Let me explain.  Further south the roads edge was a vast latrine with people lined up in the early morning as far as the eye could see.  The consequence for me was the obligation to slalom between the turds when I was driven off the road by a speeding bus.  This is not pleasant experience.  But now further north this seems to have stopped and the roads edge is crap free.  Why is this?  Cultural?  Social?  Economic?  I don't understand.  But it's so much better, believe me!

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