– ODO- 12104 – 12379km
– Location- Dhampur, Utter Pradesh, India
– Weather- 18-33 Clear with slight head wind
This morning I stopped for breakfast at a dhaba around 9-30. The roads in Haryana and Utter Pradesh are dusty as ever. They are lined with brick works with smoke stacks chucking out thick smoke. The trucks that deliver the sand and clay spray powder from the cracks in their bed and the wheels spin up even more dust laid by trucks previous.
My breakfast of aloo paratha and omelette was served and I ate fast. The fans weren’t working in this joint so I competed with the flies for first bite of my food. As I finished I picked up my phone to plan the rest of my day east to the border when a black buffalo rounded the corner of the canopy. These beasts, about twice the size of the average UK cow, are common to India. They pull wooden carts laden with logs, grains or hay. Their horns fold back over their ears and a think hair covers their skin.
This buffalo still had a rope around its neck but had succeeded in giving its owner the slip. It charged and bucked. A man smoking out front took to running back inside, towards me, and it began to make chase. I sat up ready to dive out of the way if it came inside. The waiter knew what to do. He ran out beside the animal who fled across the lanes of traffic. Avoiding wild hooves he made a grab at the rope and grasped it, pulling back and the animal became docile as if the rope somehow controlled its passions. The owner came walking casually down the road and took back the rope and lead the buffalo away.
Breakfasts are never boring here.
It reminds me of one morning in Bir a few days ago. I was sitting in my favourite breakfast spot stuffing my face before getting a taxi up to the launch for a day of paragliding. The road was quiet (by Indian standards) with a few locals washing a car on one side of the road and shop keepers milling about on the other. A state bus came powering round the corner and straight into two parked mopeds. As soon as the sounds of crumpling metal stopped the shouts began. The owners of the mopeds appeared and locals condensed around the vehicles. For the next half an hour a circus of shouting and pointing continued while traffic built up on either side. I never saw the conclusion of events – I left to fly thoroughly entertained.