“You live your life and tell me it can’t be done, I’ll live mine and show you it can.”
There are girls with burkas running arm and arm with each other down the street surrounded by men in flowing grey, white, and black outfits. Colorful headdresses have replaced saris, and Arabic is seen instead of Hindi on posters and signs. In everything but name, being in Jammu is a bit like being in Pakistan (alright, a much less controlled Pakistan that is). This predominately Muslim area is part of the disputed territories, a region in northern India which borders Pakistan where many of the “Indian” inhabitants would rather be part of their neighboring country instead.
Though it was interesting to see the difference in culture, Jammu and the surrounding area did not prove to be amazing cycling. Jammu itself was a stifling, busy, and obnoxious city (of course, I feel this way about every city, but this one was especially unpleasant), and the whole area was hot, over 40C everyday. People on the street ripped us off without shame and obviously just saw us as money, and though the rude men and pushy sales attempts may not have bothered me so much before, I find the more time I spend in Asia, the shorter my temper is (a sign it’s time to get out… two months months and I’ll be flying to Europe). Thankfully, Jammu is the gateway to the mountains, cold fresh air, and friendly farmers, and now that we are headed up to Srinagar and the Kashmir valley, we should finally have some great cycling ahead.
As you see from the video, we hitched a 40km ride at one point as I got sick for a few days (nothing serious and I’m up and riding again). The first person we flagged down, a Muslim gentlemen driving a small tuktuk with a truck bed pulled over straight away, loaded us in, and refused any type of payment at the end. Though I have become increasingly annoyed with many people here, it’s people like him who keep up my faith in humanity.