– ODO- 8397 – 8511km
– Location- Hotel in Hosur, India
– Weather- 20-34 Thick fog until 10am
Camping in India
Last night I tried a new approach to camping. In Europe, Turkey and the caucuses the population is sparse enough that within 10km I easily found a field or a tree down to camp behind for the night. I could set up with my stove and tent an hour before sunset. Whiling away the dusk resting and getting ready for bed. In India, I pass hundreds of people every hour on the bike. There are a staggering number of people around me. Every kilometre a new village or town. Each house with a small field or packed in tight side by side as a shop or cafe. On the road I pass so many scooters. Each one a full family of man, wife and kids. Today I really began to realise it’s impossible to comprehend the number of lives playing out side by side when I glance for just a second down a side street on and unnamed road.
I’ve managed to camp mostly by chance here. Diving into the hedge when the sun has just set. Eating out darkness with my bike still packed up. Then eating a cold dinner and rolling out my bivy. All but twice have I been spotted by a family or land owner. Last night I tried a new approach. Everyone on Tamil Nadu wanted a photo. So as the sun began to set I agreed to a photo then asked the best English speaker in the group “do you know where I can camp”. My question was met with confusion. “The next rooms are in 30km”. No, I have a tent. “The next rooms are in 30km”.
The next moped I stopped by had two older gentlemen. I asked the same question. Trying to mime tent. The response came. “The next rooms are in 30km”. Camping just isn’t done here. It turned out this gentleman was the town official. Oh dear. He gave me a few options of local towns he ran as said he’d meet me there. All were almost an hour of cycling away so I smiled, nodded – with my recent head wobble affectation – waited for them to disappear over the horizon of the road, and ducked into a small field bordered by stones and cacti where I spent the night.