02/07 au 08/07/19 –  Transition in Punjab

After one night in Larij, on the same spot as on the way in, we will cover the distance of 40 kms to Mandi in 2 hours. Same dust and sections under construction on the road, but much less traffic, one way or the other, sign that we are past the peak tourist season and that the rains should not delay!

Yogu, with whom Loïc had left the broken bike, is waiting for us impatiently. Unfortunately, even if he thinks that he has identified the cause of the breakdown, it is impossible for him to repair it due to a lack of Yamaha spare parts in the area. Of course, the supply of Indian motorcycles (Enfield…) is at the rendezvous, and the foreign brands are no common sight… Well, we will not leave it there, even if we feel a bit like it is now a burden, and load it on the cabin by 35°C in the shade (yes, finish the altitude and its soft air). All this of course under the eyes of a dozen spectators who try to help a little but mostly offer commentaries.

Next step: Ner Chowk. On the way to the Navtej workshop, which had helped Loïc to tow the broken bike 10 days earlier, what do we see? A painter busy giving a tuk tuk a whole makeover. While waiting to find a street artist, why not tattoo on Arty those emblems that can be seen on almost all trucks in India? Done deed an hour later: colorful, an eagle (which kind of looks like a rooster) and the « Blow Horn », an invitation to gladly honk as a warning before bypassing, are added to the collection. Fantastic!

But, already dusk, and it’s time to find a place to spend the night. It will be in the parking lot of a hotel-restaurant adjoining a small tomato field (unfortunately blithely sprayed with pesticides). There is even a small grocery store, perfect for buying some food. After Iran, where the choice was quite exhaustive, although not very diversified, and Pakistan where we only did a bit of shopping, here, new adjustments in terms of local shops. Impossibility to find cans: bye bye canned tuna/sardine, hello very little dairy. So we manage with pasta, rice and potatoes embellished with what is found in vegetables (most often cucumbers, tomatoes and zucchini). And of course, the eternal eggs for proteins. Vegetarian diet, right?! Come on, eat and then time to go to sleep!
Back to the workshop, Navtej’s this time, to finish the small welding work, which will eventually take all day. We give up the idea of tinkering with new shock absorbers, welds seem to hold well, we’ll see how far…It is under a few raindrops that we take the direction of Chandigarh. The dense vegetation looks different in the mist, and the air is laden with moisture. Fortunately the weather is cloudy, because at the slightest ray of sunshine, we sweat like crazy. The road is nice with rather wide turns, and the traffic is fluid. Much more relaxing.

We take the time to stop to admire the view of the Sutlej River, so pretty with its remains of temples planted in the middle of the green grass on the shore, that we decide to turn around to see it closer. The descent into the narrow street will be on foot, and after watching for a moment a family of monkeys who has monopolized a playground, we descend to the shore and the temples. Small photoshoot on these banks a little muddy that will be flooded in a few weeks, after the opening of the dam gates. All before taking a little trip in one of the boats that act as a ferry between the two banks.Ok, still a lot of kilometers to cover! After an engine overheating warning that will have delayed us more than 2 hours (phew, just a leak on the cooling system), and worries about the gearbox stuck at times, we finally reach Chandigarh by night. No news from Jaspreet (there too, an encounter of Loïc during the motorcycle expedition Manali / Ner Chowk), so we manage to find a place in a commercial area that sucks a little, before quickly taking shelter from the mosquitoes.

Umpteenth day in an open garage on the outskirts of the city, where Jaspreet drove us. Finding a mechanic who can manage in english and tries to understand our problem (without advising us to pick up clutch discs in New Delhi), taking the bike and bicycles down to be able to lift the cabin, and the morning quickly passes by. In the meantime, Loïc is remotely assisted at by Fred, who leads us to the selector of speed, which would be a lesser evil. A few tests later, the diagnosis is confirmed, and the good news is that we can continue to drive, but the driving and engine speed will just be a little less optimized.

It is therefore with a relieved mind that we start packing everything, and we park under the trees of a huge parking lot, near a shabby cinema and a decrepit hotel.

We will stay there for four days, finally well filled. Starting with an express round trip by bus for Loïc to…Amritsar. Yes, that’s where Fabienne and Michel are waiting for him, coming from Pakistan, and with a precious parcel delivered by Hussain: our pakistani truck art stickers for Arty! A whole story: ordered two days before the departure of Julio and Maialen who were first supposed to bring them to us, before having to advance their border crossing by a day, 24 hours too early for delivery… Followed by several exchanges with Hussain to find new carriers, and finally the tables have turned and we are ready to stick them! And as a bonus: we just learned that Silvia and Davide have recovered our drone at the border, gave it to Hussain who will entrust it to some French folks departing for Paris!

Even more serene to enjoy Chandigahr, a city designed by Le Corbusier, and nice surprise: large key points lined with trees (sometimes with branches a little too low as we must almost drive in the middle of the road), nice people, always curious without being intrusive (even young people who come to smoke and empty a few bottles of alcohol at night). We always appreciate the colors of saris and turbans, the beautiful hair, and the wind of freedom and diversity that blows, especially when we meet women driving scooters, or even bike.

We will take the time to visit the Rock Garden, a huge, original, and very nice Park à la Parque Guell. It will be used as a backdrop to the new interview we give to the Show Time team, a YouTube channel.

Speaking of Spain, we will miss our last chance to see Julio and Maialen (snif), who have left their van in Rishikesh and are on their way to Ladakh…on a motorcycle!

Ready for the rest of the program which is becoming more precise, with the monsoon that has arrived: we cross Mumbai, the Center, and the South that are too far and already partly under heavy rains. But it would be a shame to miss at least part of Rajasthan, not so far away. Direction the sacred land of the Maharajas!

3 réflexions sur “02/07 au 08/07/19 –  Transition in Punjab

  1. Ping : 26/06 au 01/07/19 –  C’est reparti…ou presque – Les Pourquoi Pas

  2. Maëva MARIAGE

    J’avais fait une petite pause. Il s’en est passé des choses en un mois! Votre périple est toujours aussi beau de rencontres, de monuments et paysages.
    Une grosse bise à tous


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