– ODO- 10676 – 10822km
– Location- Jhansi, Utter Pradesh, India
– Weather- 11-28 degrees
Today I completed another 150km and still had enough time to setup a briefing call for a new work project while I’m in Dehli and eat a hearty dal fry. I’ve been camping out in some forest campsites that have exceeded the abundance and privacy of anywhere in India I’ve tried to camp so far on this journey. The coasts and the south have been so populated that every space between villages was occupied with a farm or other. Here though there are forests. The ground is dry as are the leaves as it’s the end of the dry season. Some are a little sparse and the ground can be rocky. Once I’ve dropped down the steep highway siding and crunched my bike through the floor covering I’m alone and settled into some nice nights of sleep. The stars, particularly Orion, are clear and I’ve now followed the moon in a near full cycle.
My air mattress and tent are in need of some repair though. As I approach Agra and the more populated areas around the sprawling Dehli I’ve planned a few nights of hotels and warm showers hosts to see me through. As I followed Google maps down a shortcut to my hotel today I was taken through a military base. I went to turn round but thought I’d ask one of the armed guards. After showing the map and saying the name of the hotel he waved me through. I spent a surreal 10 minutes cycling through rows of camouflage trucks, the mess, parade ground and even had a chat with a lance corporal in his way to training. On exiting the base I suddenly remembered a news article a friend sent me earlier in the day. This is the week that two Indian Air Force jets were shot down in Pakistani airspace over Kashmir. I was waved to a stop. The corporal in the gate asked for my passport. When I said I was cycling around the world he asked, had I cycled through Kashmir to get here? I was in two minds back in October whether I should fly or take that route. Luckily I hadn’t otherwise, my surprise tour of the Indian army base could have ended quite differently.