Spoke to my daughter Zoe earlier today. She has been travelling around India for the last 3 and a half months. Zoe has just returned to Varanasi in Utter Pradesh from Pokhara in Nepal where I visited in 2001. It's nice to know that she has seen the holy mountain of Macchapuchare reflecting in the lake. When I was speaking to Zoe I could hear the back ground noise from the crazy scenes you get in the cities in India, it's not a bit like here and it is good to be reminded about the different beliefs, lifestyle and culture of that country. Zoe will be travelling through Orrisa and Andra Pradesh where I was cycling earlier this year. When I got back I wrote a poem about my experiences with our group of cyclists. An unforgettable experience.
Some of our party knew India.
Had cycled it's roads.
They knew her intensity.
People crushing together in cities.
Traffic playing a distraught symphony
with their horns and performing a graceful dance.
Lorry and tut tut swaying by each other,
slowing occassionally to let a cow walk through.
Some noticed the vibrant colours of saris
worn by women shifting rubble - baskets on their heads.
My friends had been warmed by children smiling, waving,
shouting hello - goodby.
They had cycled through villages of happy people.
Our party knew the sun as they cycled by paddy fields.
They understood the lengths our crew went,
to prepare our meals and look after us.
They were familiar with the horns of the
buses, lorries, cars and tut tuts,
each horn sending a warning as they passed by.
These people were meeting old friends at the
Leper Hospital and the Health clinic.
They knew LEPRA and it's work.
But I didn't know any of this -
I had 350 miles to ride
before I found out.