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February 11th, 2011 | Asia

Enter: The Dark Destroyer…!!

In order to get things to move along, I put away my free-wheeling Gypsy Biker persona, and called on my flip side for assistance….

Enter: The Dark Destroyer….  (Straight down the centre aisle…!! He doesn’t do stage left….or right for  that matter….!!)

The Dark Destroyer, seen here in his younger and more vulnerable days...!! And with a younger (and much cleaner !!) Big Fella...!! Ah....those were the days...!!

D.D. (as some have discovered) comes with a full repertoire of extremely colourful language, including words that have probably never before been uttered or heard in India…!!

He is also accompanied by threatening body language; looks that can kill from forty paces; and a “bladder-weakening” attitude that usually gets the desired results…!! Good man to have on your side in a “spot of bother”…

Long story short, (I spare you the details for your own good…!!) : A few phone calls to Hari and Chris, one email (wherein I made it clear that the guy at Customs could whistle “God Save the Queen” through his nether regions if he thought he was going to get “additional monies” out of me…) and suddenly things began to move forward again…

Out of his box and back on his wheels...

The elusive Customs official magically appeared back at his desk, and well after closing hours too, I might add, signed off the documents, and released the bike…

Hari and his guys made special arrangements for the crate to be transported to their offices later that night, and the next morning, I was finally able to not only lay hands and eyes on it, but with the assistance of some of the maintenance team responsible for the upkeep of the building, managed to get the Big Fella assembled and ready to roll…

But first, there was the little matter of my Carnet Certificate…

This was apparently still at customs, as it had not yet “been entered onto the computers”…. The fact that I had not seen a computer in any of the offices I had entered in the building, rang a few alarm bells…!! Also, in every other country I had ever had to use the Carnet in, it was simply stamped and handed back to me…

Hari assured me that everything was in order, and later that afternoon he had the Carnet in hand… We struggled all afternoon to try and get other documents into place and eventually gave up, resigning ourselves to a fifth day of frustration…

On day one I had forked over about $510.00 to get the Airwaybill released, and cover all costs to clear the crate… This included all the items I had been quoted for… When presented with another invoice almost doubling what I had already laid out, a vein in my forehead began to throb painfully…!!

Hari explained that Delhi was a very expensive place to import goods into, but this did not explain away the fact that many of the costs that were now cropping up had not been mentioned to me before… I tried to hide my annoyance, reminding myself that both Hari and Chris had spent a lot of time and expended much effort to get the Big Fella released, and for this I was grateful…

The ever-dapper, and helpful Chris, and Hari Krisnan bid me farewell at the offices of LSH Logistics in Gurgoan...

At the end of the day, officialdom calls the tune, and we all have to dance to their brand of music, I guess…!! Although I have no hesitation in recommending LSH Logistics ( www.logisticslsh.com ) to any prospective biker flying their bikes into or out of Delhi, I do suggest that if you have the time, try using another port of entry such as Mumbai, where my friends, the Wilson’s. paid far less to have their identical bike cleared…

All in all, it cost almost $890.00 to reunite my backside with the Big Fella’s saddle…!!

Safely parked within the walls of the Enkay Residency...

Then it was into the madness and mayhem of what can only be euphemistically called “traffic”…!!

I can deal with heavy traffic, having experienced the delights of riding in such sought after places such as Nairobi and Cairo, and the huge capitals of Europe, but here, where the only law seems to be “Bugger everybody else”, things are different…!!

The ambulance and mortuary services must be very efficient in these parts, because despite the fact that people are doing there utmost to either commit suicide or assassinate their fellow road users, I have to date not seen a single corpse on the side of the road…!!

Perhaps they throw the bodies into the backs of the many trucks that bulldoze their way through the rickshaws, bicycles, tuk-tuks and buses, that are all hellbent on defending every inch of the road they have battled so bravely to win…!!

There are no rules here, except of course “Do unto others before they do unto you…”

A one way sign is taken to mean “If there is no traffic coming towards you, then feel free to make use of this road”…

A red traffic light, “Watch out for cars trying to cross the road from either side… Don’t let them in….”

A painted dividing line (when you can find one…!!) : “Straddle this line so that cars can fit on either side of you to convert these two lanes into three…”

A sign saying “No Two-wheelers on the Motorway”…  “Except for those who can say “I like spicy food…”…”

Washday in Delhi... Just in case you think I have been sitting on my hands...!!

Amid a cacophony of hooting, I finally decided to show these guys my mettle…!! I shoved my way into gaps, ignoring the furious looks on my opponents faces; used my superior power to forge my way around the slower moving traffic, and found myself enjoying the challenge…!!

I also discovered that it is far better to be driving in this madness, than sitting as a passive passenger, fighting the urge to drive your fingers through the seat that you are clutching for dear life, or biting a hole in the dashboard as a means of ensuring that your teeth stop their chattering…!!

Gi-Gi, bless her silicon chips, is working perfectly, and within a short space of time I was back at the hotel, and calling Chris to tell him I had arrived safely…

“That was quick…!!” he said…

“Well, I have also filled up with petrol, searched for someone to give me a Pollution Control Certificate, and stopped at the ATM…!!” I replied…

Suitably as impressed as I was, Chris rang off with a promise to keep in touch, and did not hear my huge sigh of relief at making it back in one piece…

I set about repacking my gear, and planning my ride to Kathmandu… I had been given a list of places to ride to by Mr. Luthra, a director of LSH, who happened to be in the office while we were trying to get the documentation sorted… He had visited South Africa on numerous occasions, and within minutes, we were “tight”…!!

He suggested I ride to Jaipur, then on to Agra and the Taj Mahal, then east to Kanpur and Varanasi, before turning north and heading towards Gorakhpur and the Nepalese border…

I have seven days to that in, which is apparently “more than enough”….

From your lips to God’s ears, Mr Luthra…!!

©GBWT 2011

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