The Ladies of Spiti: 3733km

“Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says “oh crap, she’s up!”

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I hit a low point cycling yesterday as I had eaten too much sugar and not enough real food. I felt tired and slightly sick, and had no desire to go on. Lucky for me, my afternoon got a lot better once a few local ladies in a small village I was passing through invited me for chai, then to spend the night. The women were three sisters (late twenties/early thirties) who lived with their mom, and one of the women’s child, a seven year old boy. Their husbands were drivers, meaning they were normally on the road driving tourists all around northern India. They all had children as well, but besides the one boy left, the children were at private schools in other towns. Many of the children in the area are sponsored to attend these schools with a “hostel” attached, meaning the children live there, often times starting at the young age of six. The women and their mother tended to the house and animals, and also did construction for a road work project nearby, a job which is both strenuous and tedious. They were a lovely and hospitable family, and one of the women spoke decent English which made my life a bit easier.

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At the Dhaba: 3465km

“Don’t be afraid to give yourself everything you have ever wanted in life.”

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After I arrived up and over the pass I decided to spend the night in a dhaba instead of camping since my gear was soaked and another storm was on its way (plus it costs less than two dollars). Dhabas are tea side stalls that sell rice and dal (the most typical meal here), along with a few basic snacks. It costs less than a dollar for an all you can eat meal (they refill your plate as many times as you want), which is definitely a hungry cyclist’s dream. Dhabas are found just outside of cities, or in the middle of nowhere, and out here, they are especially popular amongst truckers. In this area, two or three dhabas make up a village. These “villages” are only inhabited for four months of the year, because starting in October, this mountainous region is snowed in.

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