Our day started with an ominous greeting. Finishing the final crumbs of a soft cheese toastie and salted lassi, our makeshift breakfast had been a surprisingly basic but welcome combination, we were requested to ‘selfie’ with a traveling salesman.
“The problem, or I should say, challenge, with India, is the roads. There is no road awareness. If someone wants turn, they just turn. No indication, nothing. That’s the challenge with India”.
Hands shaken, selfies taken, he hopped into a taxi and was gone. Leaving with him a statement of fact that had not been missed. After a week traveling India by motorcycle, we’d figured out first hand exactly what he meant.
I like that he’d checked himself to say challenge rather than problem. There’s an optimism in challenge, a possibility of a solution, of progress. Today, would be a good day. We could rise to meet challenges. We could adapt, persevere and prevail with a challenge.
Starting out at a leisurely 10:30 we knew we had a simple and short day of travel to come. Hari started first time, having had a new battery and 1,000km service in Dharamshala with the excellent mechanic, Tesi.
A short ride from the RK Regency Hotel, a wonderfully flamboyant, rather gaudy, wedding venue, hotel and restaurant, and we were on the Pathankot – Amritsar Toll Road.
The Punjab is one of the most prosperous states in India and accordingly, the road was easily the most well surfaced, reliably so, to the point where every few dozen kilometres there was a man sweeping it clear of dust and debris.
Needless to say, this road was quite dull in terms of scenery, particularly when compared with the previous day of mountainous forest.
However, the vast expanses of farming land, distant settlements bundled together at a safe distance from the road and wide open space of the view ahead were compensated in the quality of the dual carriageway. A mornings easy riding was well worth the trade off.
We arrived to Amritsar at noon and after a skirmish in the back alleys and side streets of the local bazaar, we parked Hari under the shade of a tree for a well earned rest, freshened up in readiness to explore the Golden Temple.