December 30. Purandhar – Belekan (beach)

[14°31´16”, 074°20´47”]

Km today: 755

I don’t know why but when I wake up today I am in a bad mood already. I don’t get the 2 chai I had ordered and paid last evening (one I wanted in the evening and one in the morning but neither of them came) which is making it worse. I quickly pack the bike and roll down a hill to start Omtatsat and quickly find out he is in a bad mood too – no starting. I am dressed warm for morning time ride so I start to sweat a lot when pushing him up to the petrol pump with the help of an Indian guy. I am expecting too much all people will help me so nobody cares for me first. When I start trying to change the situation a mechanic comes soon. He changes the spark plug and tells me to go to enfield wallah in swagat – 20km wrong direction but what to do, I can fix the mainstand there too.

At the temple I take no more look in the morning as I am too busy. The coil needs to be changed and a little before lunchtime I pass the temple again back direction to the highway. In the evening before I checked the map and found one route passing a hill station. It is late already so I decide to skip it first but then the traffic on the highway is really crazy. Like in an Indian city but at speed of more than 100 km/h! After 36km a sideroad leads to the hillstation and as I am completely done already I stop and eat a little before I take it.

Passing an alley of banjan trees I start to enjoy the ride immediately. There is still a lot of traffic as Mahabaleshwar (the hill station) is famous at Christmas holidays amongst Indians but much more shanty. Road is amazing mountain road – many nice curves and proper pavement, perfect to be taken by motorbike. I enjoy riding too much so I can´t stop often to take pictures – I just cannot make myself step on the brake…
When arriving at the hillstation I see people at the street selling some red fruits. I stop there and see it is strawberries! I eat ½ kg on the spot, the taste is amazing! Sweet but much more fragrant than the ones at home. I have to think about Lina (my exgirlfriend) who loves strawberries at midsommar – now it is midwinter!

Going down the hill on the other side it becomes hot for the first time. Different than at daytime in Rajasthan now I feel I am in an area where it doesn’t get cool at all. The air feels different in areas like these, probably the humidity has raised a lot too. Down the mountain there is much less traffic but the road stays amazing. Even when I come back to a smaller highway the road remains awesome and the traffic ok – I simply enjoy riding. At sunset I have done only 250km – half the way to Goa.

I am still in good condition so I get some great food and decide to go on. Street is good and traffic is not that bad. I learn to ride at night: If driving a low gear I have enough light no problem. The sound of the engine is not as pleasing as in high gear but what to do sometimes safety is more important than the amazing sound of a low turning bullet engine. I try to stay behind trucks or buses as they protect me a little from the light of the upcoming traffic. Soon I enjoy even riding at night.

At 4.30 I arrive in Anjuna. This is the place where it all had started some years ago. I came here from the airport by taxi so here I touched like Indian soil for the first time in my life. First I want to get a chai at the beach. I check several beachside restaurants but all they offer is beer, wine and whisky. I want to buy a bottle water but for the demanded 30 rupees I can get proper lunch everywhere on the road. I turn around and leave. I didn’t like the place when I was here the first time and it seems like it has become worse. It is only 250km more to gokarna where it is supposed to be nicer – I am still alright so I hit the road. When the sun rises I am close to Agonda. I have something like a déjà vu and suddenly remember the town I am just passing has been the first town I have ever been to in india. I remember some really nice people from Agonda who took me there because of a problem with the camera I had here on my first india trip.

Soon I pass the border to Karnataka and suddenly stop in front of an amazing landscape. Kali river meets the sea and what I see is really astonishing! The sun being still pretty low to my left rises above the mountains. On the other side of Kali river there is a big tropical bamboo and palm forest and to my right there is more pure nature where Kali river forms little lakes and islands making a slow ÜBERGANG to the land. Everywhere is different kinds of blue and green. Even though I should go on because I am slowly getting tired I take a long break to take pictures and to enjoy.

Less than an hour after leaving that place I pass the road to gokarna without recognizing. 10 km later I ask some people and they send me back. Should this be a sign? I was already suspicious because too many people telling me about this place. I go back and when I finally arrive in Gokarna my worst nightmares seem to become true.

Nobody offers rooms so I ask some police officers who are standing on every corner. They are not at all ready to help and soon somebody sends me to Om beach for accommodation. On the way there one of the police officers I have asked for a hotel before stops me and asks me for the papers. I give him my international driving license but he doesn’t even want to see. He only wants the insurance and the cycle papers which he knows I will not have if the bike is rented. It is my bike but the papers are in Pushkar. I had these with me all the way from Europe and nobody ever asked me for them – either when I travelled Himachaml Pradesh this spring on Omtatsat…. He says something about problem and fine. I give him the 800 rupees he wants and he asks me if I want receipe. Yes I say and he goes away. 5 minutes later he (policeofficer Naik – at least that was what he said) is standing around the corner talking to somebody else. I ask for the receipe and again he asks “You want receipe?”…. “Yes” I repeat – this game happens one more time before he finally gives me note with my name and the amount but not his name written on it. I ask for his name and he says “Naik” covering the shield carrying his name with his arm. Actually there are people starving themselves to death in india to protest against corruption like this.

Gokarna is full of really crazy tourists so I check Om Beach. On the way there suddenly I can´t change gear anymore. I stop the engine immediately and roll down back to Gokarna. Gear oil is finished – the mechanic who did oil change in Puna did not close properly so oil was leaking. We put in oil and I am happy everything seems to be fine. Getting 3rd gear is a little hard but we will see. I go back to Om Beach and decide to check for a proper enfield mechanic later. I want to leave Gokarna. Om beach is a few kilometers away and there is a big car and motorcycle park full of vehicles. Accomodation possible but I have to pack my stuff and carry all down a long stairway to the beach. Bike I would have to leave here. I star to sweat as I am still fully dressed in long underwear and pullovers for the night ride. Now it´s above 30° so I put on dhoti and kurtha again having no idea what to do.

What to do in india if you don’t know what to do? Ask the rickshaw driver of course! And there were plenty. I ask one of them for a nice peaceful beach and he knows immediately what I want. 5km away I will find. After 5 km I stop in a very small town at a place with “Hotel” written on the house. The owner is from kerala and we start talking over a cup of chai. He has just bought that place and is building a hotel and doesn’t know any in town. 3 km further maybe at the end of the road. I go there and find a beach called Belekan beach its paradise! First beach since Greece and I love it! From one end to the other it takes me 5 minutes and soon I find the only guesthouse here. The two huts available are already occupied by a few guys from Bengalore but the owner offers me to keep my luggage in his house so I can sleep on the terrace! JAI HO! What an awesome place and in fact my own private beach with a tourist infra structure only a few minutes away! After a 24h bikeride I have chai and food and soon fall asleep finally – in paradise!

Dec. 29 Uruli – Purandhar

[18°15´21”, 073°55´37.7”]

Km today: 89

One bucket of nearly boiling water – I am in heaven! After an amazing shower I go downstairs to the counter to pay the morning chai and ask for somebody to help with my luggage. My Rajasthani friend who arranged this hotel for me is already waiting for me. He pays for the chai and helps me with the luggage and when I want to leave he insists inviting me for maharastran breakfast. Of course I accept! While having breakfast I call Swami Narein and make an appointment for 3 in the afternoon. Before I want to go to find a mechanic in Puna to make oil change and fix the mainstand and the luggage holder (I have lost one screw).

Mechanic is done quickly so I have some time left to look for a room and see what people I meet around Osho Ashram. I am disappointed… At a dhabawallah (small restaurant) I meet some people who make courses in the Ashram. Rooms are available for minimum 600 Rupees a night and people sleep and eat outside the Ashram because inside it is too expensive. Surprisingly I meet a lot of Indian people doing courses in the Ashram.

Soon I have to leave for my appointment with Swami Narein. Asking me through all city I find the SP college where we want to meet quickly. I call him when I am there and his boy picks me up. I ask the guards at the college door to take care of my luggage and again leave computer, camera etc at the bike. No problem even though it feels a little strange in a big city so close to Mumbai. Dr. Narein is a really sweet guy and he offers me to help me with anything I need. I ask him for meditation classes and he recommends a place close by – for sleeping he suggests to go to Iskcon but if I want to sleep now I can sleep at his place, no problem. The place he suggests me to do meditation is a yoga school and when his boy goes there with me all is closed.

Never mind I think and decide to check Iskcon – I always wanted to find out more about this society as it seems to match my believes pretty very well. People there are amazing and I love the place and what they do immediately. Unfortunatley they are just building the place to sleep and the membership costs a quarter lakh rupees – nearly 400€. I decide to become member when I am back home and to leave Puna.

When going back direction SP college (NH4 to the south) from the Iskcon I already get a good feeling for they way. After crossing the city three times I hardly ever need to ask for the way and find the highway quickly. The street is really amazing in this hillside area. The pavement is ok and the curves are amazing to ride on the bike. I see a Mc Wlan sign and go there to check for Internet. The last one I have seen was in Istanbul and the last one I have used was in Dubrovnik – but in india there is not only beef missing at Mc Wlan but Wifi too…. No need for crappy food in india so I go on to find a place to have chai and dress for a nightride.

For chai I have to leave the mainroad but then I quickly find a nice place. I really enjoy being able to talk to the people in their language a little bit at least and take every chance to practice. People ask me where I come from (Pushkar) and where I go…. I tell them I will go straight to Goa which is only 450km to go as they tell me. Somebody else tells me there will be big party for new year in all goa! JAI HO! (YEAH!) Then people ask me where I want to sleep and that there is “bahout sundar temple hai badme din kilometer” – a very beautiful temple only three kilometers away – “sona milega, din sow rupia hai” – a place to sleep possible for 300 rupees. I think 3 kilometers is nothing and decide to take a look at the place.

It´s almost dark when I leave the chaishop and three kilometers later there is a little traffic jam including a few buses. I sneak through the traffic and soon arrive at a car park where I am told I have to put the bike on a dark field. I tell the guard this is not possible because of my luggage and after a short discussion I am allowed to drive directly to the temple. The view is really astonishing! When I come there on the bike the guards stop me immediately and tell me I have to put my luggage at a luggage counter and my bike on the carpark. The temple will close in 30 minutes so this seems to be impossible. After a short talk they suggest to put the bike in front of a chaishop where the people will take care. The chaiwallah only wants me to be back in ten minutes as he wants to go home so I quickly unpack the mirror camera, take of my shoes and run to the temple entrance – where they take my cameras and my cellphone – pictures not allowed inside. What to do I think and go to take a place in one of the four queues.

Divided in children and adults, male and female we have to walk around the temple in the wrong direction (our left hand side showing to the temple). When I ask the people around me they discuss the fact but find no solution – the queue is simply the wrong direction! So even hindus don’t practice always right! I feel a little better as I know many of my daily rituals are not perfect too. Inside the temple is breathtaking! One of the most beautiful temples I have ever seen in my life! What a pity pictures are not allowed! I walk all through the temple in a kind of single person queue. Many guards are really busy trying to keep the people in line but everybody who knows this country knows about the impossibility of what they are trying to do… I enjoy this holy and powerful place a lot and come back to the chai shop much too late.

No problem ten minutes in india are not same like in the west and the chai wallah knows about the queue. Instead of giving him money for taking care of my stuff he invites ma for chai and suggest I should sleep in the nearby guesthouse as the temple is much more beautiful at daytime. I like this place as I see not one single foreigner and decide to give the guesthouse a try. “Din sow rupees ek rad” – Three hundred rupees for one night I am told again before I go there. Still ready to go on direction south I stop at the guesthouse and ask for a room. Five hundred rupees they tell me making me turn around telling them in hindi I am not ready anymore to pay foreigner prices. They laugh and give me a room for 300. I like them and the room is nice and clean – hot water in bucket is possible too. They are curious about my yoga mat so I make a little show for them. They are impressed and I believe they like me too.

Tomorrow I will hopefully arrive in Goa so I am finally able to update my blog – in Puna I didn’t find a place today where it is possible to connect my laptop….

December 28. Ellora – Uruli

[18°29´19.5”, 074°04´17”]

Km today: 270

I wake up late. My host and his family are going to Aurangabad today which means I have to leave the room as soon as possible. I quickly wash and have chai. After leaving I search for a mechanic first. 30 rupees for fixing the horn and the trishul. Mainstand no possible and sound is gone. Acha next Ellora caves. On the way there I see a barber which makes me stop to get shaved and look a little more handsome again. The caves themselves are amazing! Gaddi (car/motorcycle) park costs ten rupees and as the guards see my bike they tell me to put it right at there place so they can take care of my luggage. Perfect I had already been worried how to handle this problem. The caves are pretty crowded by tourists but still a great sight to see. When I enter the first cave I hear bats and seconds later discover dozens hanging on the ceiling. In one of the caves an Indian tourists says something about doing yoga there so I make a little show so they can take pictures. It takes me more than two hours to see all of them and when I am finished I am very thirsty. The climate here is much warmer already.

I leave the caves dressed in a T Shirt only but soon find out this is not enough. I stop to dress and eat chana masala. Dressed properly again I head direction south. Taking short cuts I will not pass Puna but see a little of the nice countryside here and maybe safe a few hours on my way. 50km after Aurangabad I cross Godavari river and see an amazing little Island with a temple on it. I see it is a shiva temple and of course stop to make little puja there for safe and happy journey. The temple is wonderful. No tourist at all but just pure beauty on a jungle island. I really enjoy this amazingly powerful place. Outside a few guys selling sugar cane juice pressed by cowpower. I don’t remember to have seen this before…

It is afternoon already and I have not even done 100km so I focus on driving now. The perfect pavement of Rajasthani roads is history which makes me go more slowly too. Never mind I am in perfect condition and ready to go all night if I enjoy. It is already dark when I arrive at a T crossing making my street end at a highway. It should be an X and I wanted to go straight (the shortcut). I take a chai and ask the people there but they send me knowingly in the wrong direction as I see on my map. I ask somebody else and he tells me to go direction Puna and turn left after 10km because the road I wanted to take is just too bad to go there at night. This information matches the map so I take the highway to Puna. After 10 km there is a big construction site but no way to turn left so I stay on the motorway going more slowly to find somebody to ask. Unfortunately there is only fields everywhere and I don’t see anybody at all.

Suddenly a single walker appears in my light so I stop to ask for the way. I try my best in hindi but he answers in very good English. I have to go back two kilometers, I missed the chowk. I try to continue in hindi but he says he prefers English as he hardly ever gets the chance to practice. I ask why he doesn’t make a lot of money with tourists…? “What is money?”, he replies smiling at me. I somehow liked this guy from the first second and slowly I start understanding why. In only a few sentesey we become very philosophical and he tells me he has met Osho in Puna and learned at his Ashram. I start thinking about going to Puna as I still have a lot of problems facing my desires. For some reason I am on the way there anyway even though I wanted to avoid it and india means to “Just say yes!” (as sukha says). When I tell him what´s in my mind Swami Ram Krsna (his name) gives me a contact of a friend in Puna immediately. He asks me what time it is but I have no idea – “What is time?” I reply and we smile at each other. It is eight o clock so we call Dr. Swami Narein and as much as I understand he is happy to meet me tomorrow.

After seeing the masses of tourists at Elorra and people telling me Gokarna is probably the same I asked myself why to go there so fast anyway. Puna is only 60 km to go so I say thank you to Swami Ram Krsna and stay on the road. Just a few kilometers before Puna I make a short stop to get chai and some sweets. I have nice chat with a Rajasthani guy running the shop so I ask him if he knows any cheap hotels in Puna. He knows one just around the corner and I can´t stop him from bringing me there. No commission story but he only wants to make sure that the guys at the hotel give me no tourist price. I believe I like Puna. Om tat sat is parked in a garage and I get a very nice room with real warm water. For dinner I get a real big pot (which means not even I am able to finish it) Veg. Byriani. I find out the boy who brings me food, chai and hot water is from Nepal, he is a very nice and always smiling person – I like him. And it seems like people here like me too.

I want to tell a view words about my desire problems. Since coming to india my life turned from unhappiness to happiness. I learned to practice solutions before problems happen. Slowly my life becomes anand – happy – something I was talking about with Swami Ram Krsnaji. My problem is the more I like my life, the more I love and the more I enjoy the more I have the desire to share this feelings. Writing this blog is an attempt but it still does not please my desire completely even though it makes it a little better. At the moment Puna feels like a good place and I am curious what might be waiting here for me tomorrow – I am sure it will be pure love!

December 27. Nayagaon – Ellora

[20°01´20.8”, 075°09´39”]

Km today: 604

After quickly having chai I chalo soon after sunrise. On the bike it is freezing cold even though I am fully dressed so the first 50km become hard work. When it gets warmer I start enjoying again. Om tat sat and I become one again and riding is pure meditaion. I will need mechanic soon. The feather of the main stand and the horn are broken (it still works but is only fixed to the bike by the electric wires). Gearbox making a little sound too but and the trishul in the front needs to be fixed properly again. Nothing important as the horn is still working. (I ve been riding Om tat sat at night without light in the Himalayas but I would not drive one meter in india without a horn!).

In the morning the street and the landscape remain boring but this changes short before sunset so I stop 2 or 3 times to take a few pictures with the compact camera. When the sun sets I recognize I have moved several hundred kilometer to the south. It is not really warm but there are lakes of warm and cold air I am diving through. 70 kilometers before Ellora the street becomes nice. I´d really love to do this curvy mountain road full power but when dark this is impossible as a bullet is not specifically built for night riding – the light system is really bad….. I stop to have a little food and the guys want to cheat me again. I use all my hindi and pay nearly half of what they first wanted. I really don’t like this stupid game happening every day but I decide to take it with humor now!

I arrive at Ellora around 11pm and stop at the first group of people (a few young guys) I see to ask for a place to sleep. Five minutes later I have a pretty expensive but for that time of the day very good accommodation for tonight. Hot water I get in buckets for 10 rupees each and not before tomorrow morning. Well I can´t have everything – the room is warm, big and has 3 electric plugs to charge toothbrush, cell phone and computer – perfect! I wanted to maybe stay two nights to see the famous caves and get the bike fixed but to do so the room is I believe too expensive. However I will have a look at the caves in the morning and then decide what to do.
Goa is still more than 700 km to go so impossible in a day anyway. Maybe better to make 2 or 300 tomorrow afternoon and then sleep chaishop again. However I am curious already what tomorrow will bring! I love these days on the road – in a way I become a lot more focused and can handle desire attachment and expectation much better – I am happy!

December 26. Pushkar – Nayagaon

[24°35´09.6”, 074°44´43.2”]

Km today: 254

The sun has not risen when I wake up – still I have a lot of packing to do!. When sun finally rises I am finished with cleaning, packing and fixing suryananda (the caravan). I sit together down with Ella who came back from vipassna yesterday. We enjoy chai and coffee and have a very nice talk that showed me a wonderful loving person. I am really blessed with the people I met on this trip I think. When her friend, Moar who has been her for a few days already, wakes up I decide to pack Om tat sat (gods own motorbike). Before going to the market to buy cigarettes the girls suggest to have breakfast together before I go. Quickly (too quickly as I find out later) Om tat sat is ready to go. While waiting for the girls to come back I turn on music and enjoy dancing barefoot in the desserts sand powered by the fresh and amazing morning sun (the music by the solar cells and I directly). Anand! (WIKILINK)

When the girls come back we have a great breakfast together (I already miss your food Saura) and as we are talking about mantras I change the music playing my favourite bajhans now. We talk about the sound massage I did a few days ago too. None of them has tried yet so I offer after breakfast.

Morning sun, Mantras, the powerful place and the people around create a very special energy making me enjoy to make the sound in a way not to be described by words!

Sukha stand up early just to say good bye and I get a flower necklace from Saura even though I will be back soon. He makes a lot of jokes telling me he will come with me. Saura, if you were a girl, I´d marry you straight away!

When I am about to leave I see that I have to repack my bike like Saura and Lalit had predicted. Its not in balance at all and riding is very hard. I want to stop for a chai at Rajus place anyway so I decide to repack there. Raju is unfortunately at the market and I realize I have much better tools for packing in suryananda… So back to Sukha place, pack properly and chalo finally at lunchtime.

I pass the well known streets of Ajmer quickly and as soon as I am on the highway I stop at the first chai shop. Om tat sat makes easily up to 120 km per hour and its way cooler than with suryananda. I realize I really have to get used packing a bike again. I have to completely unpack to get the pullover and a warm jacket! 50km further I stop again for the same reason. I have chai first and want to pay before dressing more (which requires completely unpacking again). I give the usual 5 Rupees to the chai wallah but he demands ten. Using all the little hindi I know I have a short discussion about tourist prices before I turn around to go without giving him one more rupee. I take some time to start to give him some time to run after me but I decide not to do the unpacking action here.

2 km further I stop at some trees to dress there. I am not half done when a friendly guy stands next to meinviting me for chai. Of course I accept! When we talk I ask him about the prices at the close by chai shop and he proves me right – 5 rupees…

Dressed very warm I enjoy riding a lot, the street is in awesome good condition (little boring though: straight and flat) and short before sunset I have done little more than 200km.

I am used to have an eye at the petrol so I stop at a petrol pump. I have 1200 rupees in my pocket, not eaten and no place to sleep yet…. “900 Rupees” I say but at 550 I am nearly full, at 600 we have little more than when making full in Ajmer 210km ago. This means we need on 100 km ten liter less than suryananda – 4l we need! Sometimes I really miss her (thinking about the sleeping problem) but either for warmth, music and privacy!

Around sunset I suddenly have to stop for a few minutes as the road is entirely blocked. A few kilometers ahead, at a railway crossing (!), an accident had happened. I cant figure what exactly happened but I hope nobody is hurt to bad. I pass the Indian way using the smallest slot to sneak through cars and trucks so I can pass pretty quickly.

Driving at night is very exhausting so after using the last daylight I stop at a roadside restaurant to get some food. It is amazing and even more is the cook who loves me for loving his food. Of course I get second (as well as third and fourth) service. By now it is completely dark so the guys ask me where I will spend the night. I want to do some more way but they suggest I should sleep at there shop. I can take a bed in the backside area and don’t even need to unpack as I can park Om tat sat right next to the bed! Bolenath!

This is my first blog entry written by hand. Not like last time in india (when writing everything by hand), this time I have my own computer with me for the first time to do the writing. Still at this place it feels strange to unpack it and sit here having a computer in front of me. I enjoy writing by hand and I enjoy all about the life on the road – like stopping and sleeping anywhere – too much!

Shubh ratri! Good night!

December 17 – 22 Pushkar

I enjoy too much! I realize more and more every day how much I feel at home here. I am back to my old habits: In early morning, after yoga I buy roses and take a walk at the market to give one to all the people who cross my way…. “HariOm!” This where my name is coming from. All people smile with me and this walk takes hours in the first days because of so much chai I have to drink. I see in the peoples faces how happy they are I am back. An awesome feeling!

On one of the first days I meet Barbara and Doro – two beautiful girls from Switzerland at the barber and we make sightseeing tour on the next day. Goamuk temple, monkey feeding, old pushkar lake, Bednad temple – all my favourite places. We all enjoy a lot and promise so stay in contact.

I have lot of fun riding Om tat sat and cant wait to go to Gokarna. It is getting colder in Pushkar morning time is like freezing at below ten degrees. Ansu did Yoga Teacher training too so we do Yoga together in the evening at sunset ghat. We decide to make free Yoga classes again, if possible at the temple so I make nice template. Tomorrow I will go to Ajmer to print it. Yoga classes at old ranji temple are something really special and I can hardly describe the energy I receive when practicing there. Every year I experience something very special there so I can´t wait to enjoy this again.

When sitting in front of enigma café today suddenly a girl from france stopped her enfield in front of us. I know her from spring as we wanted to go north together then. For some reason it did not happen. She plans to go south now too so we decide to meet in the evening to have food together and talk about maybe going to Gokarna together.

At Sukha place everything is nearly too much loving to be true….: A few days ago I come to the kitchen and Saura ask me how I am. Smilingly I reply I am hungry. Saura makes a sad face and says:”Why like this my friend? You make me really sad when you say you are hungry! I am here 24 hours to cook for you so no need to be hungry! Next time please tell me BEFORE you are hungry – ok?”

Leaving Pushkar is planed for December 25. Sukha has planned big Christmas party so it is not possible to go earlier and I have to be back at jan 19. As many people want to celebrate my birthday together with me…!

December 16 Tal Chhapar – Sukha Place (Pushkar)

[26°28´56”, 074°34´01.5”]

Km today:311

I can´t wait to arrive in Pushkar so I start without even leaving the car. A few kilometers down the road I see an awesome temple next to the road. I fall back to old habits immediately and make morning pooja there. The priest welcome me and give me prassat. Its incredibly sweet but its holy so I enjoy. At a railway crossing I have to stop and use the time (about an hour) to refill the tank with the petrol containers and make some chai. Driving is still a little exhausting as I share the street with goats, camels, donkeys, cows and so on, at least the quality of the street is great so I can go pretty fast. I enjoy being home in Rajasthan – love this dessert country full of colors and great smell! 60km before pushkar I decide to take a shortcut as I don’t like to drive through ajmer if I can avoid it. Street becomes little worse but much more beautiful. I enjoy the landscape even though the last kilometers take ages to pass.

Finally I arrive in Pushkar around lunchtime. I stop in front of enigma café to start saying hello to my friends. For some of them it is completely surprising but most already expected me. I have chai at enigma rooftop and take a nice shower only minutes after. A walk through the market to say hello to everybody takes all afternoon and everybody is happy to see me again as much as I am happy to be back. Menash has a kali painting I get as welcome present – I am blessed! Thank you again Menash! In the evening I decide to take the way through the market with suryananda as Max suggests. Streets are very narrow but now everybody knows I am here after this parade!

At sunset I arrive at Sukha place and can hardly recognize it! This place has changed to become even more like paradise! I got an own toilet and wifi at my hut! We have broadband internet and everything is green like in the middle of the jungle! I love what Sukha has done here in the last months! Unfortunately I break the screen of my computer when unpacking it so no internet at the hut the first evening. Sukha says no problem and 2 hours later a friend of him comes to pick up the computer. He goes to jaipur tomorrow so no problem. I have amazing food and go to bed in my old hut again. It really feels like home – even the birds are still here and have raised a little family by now. I am happy I have my mosquito net to protect my sleeping place from their excrements :).

December 15 Amritsar – Tal Chhapar

[28°31`30.2”, 074°27`57.6”]

Km today: 418

I get up early enough so I can go to the golden temple before too many people are there. In spring I was just walking around it because of the long queue but this time I am lucky and can go inside without any waiting. The atmosphere is breathtaking and I can take on of the best pictures of the trip around the temple. Next I go to internet to update the blog and find the shortest way to Pushkar. I can´t wait to arrive there. Its still morning time when I leave town and soon I find myself in a chaishop on the road where I already had chai in spring. People there remember me and my painted bike and we have a lot of fun.

A few kilometers further I see a biker on the road. Obviously an overlander too. I stop and give him a lift to where he wants to go today. Sam is from france and speaks better German than English. We have chai together and after I drop him. When it´s already dark I cross the border from Punjab to Haryana – in the same moment the street becomes a million of bumpholes all over. 30km in Haryana take me more than an hour and I am happy to be allowed to pay road tax as soon as I am in Rajasthan. A little later I recognize the change in the landscape when I arrive in the dessert Thar.

At 22.30 the moon rises and gives all the surroundings a real magic touch. Soon I get tired and find a little chaishop in the dessert to spend the night there. I have food, tea and sleep amazingly well. Tomorrow I will be at home: Pushkar!

December 14. Okara – Amritsar (Hindustan, Bharat, India, HOME!)

[31°37´25.4”, 074°52´44.1”]

Km today: 181

When I wake up at 9 the escort is already ready to go. I quickly get ready too and half an hour later we leave. One of my new police friends changes some money for me so I take some petrol (cheaper in Pakistan than in india!) and on we go. 150km to the border pass like nothing even though there is a traffic jam in Lahore. Pakistani side of the border is done pretty quickly even though they check all the numbers of the car – I am happy they accept that color is nothing important and smiling they write “colorful” in their documents and ignore the “grey” in the carnet de passage.

When I pass the gate to india I have to stop everything to take some pictures of suryananda at Wagah border. When I am exactly at the gate I step out of the car to make a few steps back taking a picture. The guard smiles but says “Sir it is not allowed to go back to Pakistan once you are in india”. I apologize and go back to india again. No problem. As soon as I cross the border all the people greet me saying HariOm because of my jyoti (the little longer hair on the backhead). I enjoy! Custom control invites me for chai and take a look inside (I am happy I cleaned yesterday) suryananda. They like my hindi and I enjoy hearing it again. Slowly I understand more and more of what they say to me – if they speak slowly enough. Because of the chatting it takes nearly an hour on the Indian side to pass the border. They ask me about my job and I tell them Yoga teacher and ecologists being prepared to explain that fact. They smile and say this combination fits very well…. I am at home!

I leave the border and arrive in Amritsar some time before sunset. The road to the hotel where I stayed in spring is blocked for cars so I take the closest guarded car park and walk there. Even though my room is free I am not really ready to pay this price. Not expensive for a room with this view but I know the view and I don’t really want to take my stuff out of suryananda to carry it up 5 floors and down again on the next day. Sunset is over anyway and as the sun set behind the golden temple when being in the room the most spectacular moment is done anyway. I sleep in suryananda. The next hours I spend walking around in town, going to hindu temple (finally), internet and getting some food. I see some dog puppies on the street and there was not much missing to make me be the owner of a dog again. They are supercute!

I go back to suryananda and decide to leave to Pushkar as soon as possible tomorrow morning. I want to update the blog in the morning and check google maps for the best way there. After chalo!

December 13. Sukkur – Okara

December 13. Sukkur – Okara
[30°48´02”, 073°26`51.6”]

Km today: 643

We leave Sukkur in time and as soon as we are on the Highway we make way. The landscape is incredibly….. boring! (Well at least this is new to me). At lunchtime I get very tired. I feel like sleeping for about an hour but then it gets better. It feels like I have been driving home a long way at night and these are the last 10 minutes of driving. Well at least its only 800 to be done to the border and I hope as soon as we are in Punjab I can drive alone. We cross the border an my bodyguards give me hand sign to drive on. YEAH! 20 more km, I think and then I stop for a chai! (When being escorted this is not easy to do) Suddenly I hear a horn and see the police car again. They stop me and I have to go back with them – it was a misunderstanding and I will get an escort until we are at the border. What to do. In the afternoon we stop in a small village for chai and little food. As soon as we stand we are surrounded by more than 50 people who look at us curious. I am not allowed to leave the car and my bodyguards bring food and chai to me. It feels really strange being guarded all the time. Even on the motorway the have the blue flashlight turned on all the time and the other traffic has to give way for us. When the sun sets I count little more than 400km but I feel fresh so I go on.

Two hours later I get hungry and ask the escort if it is possible to get some food. Several times I tell them I want no hotel, local food and things like this but when we stop after half an hour (after passing many small roadside restaurants) we stop in front of a restaurant with a lot of big cars in front (No, no trucks and no caravans too – more the mercedes and bmw kind of). I want to be polite so I take a look at least but inside there are people in western clothes sitting on chairs at tables eating with knife and fork…. Escort waits outside so I go back to tell them this not possible and to illustrate what I want I sit down on the floor and pretend to eat from the floor. Faster than I can react the take me under my shoulders, lift me up and smile at me. The oldest officer takes me at the hand and we go to a place right next to the first one – this time the escort comes in with me. I get amazing Chana Masala with rice and chapati. Probably the best food on this trip yet. When I want to pay for food and chai they say no. The owner of the restaurant invites me for eating like them and trying to talk in urdu…. What to say – the feelings I have are hard to be described by words – I am more than happy for this gesture of friendship that is offered to me. Pakistan people are really same like Persians in their hospitality – It seems like never ending.
About 160km before Lahore the guards are changing again. 5 Minutes later we stop and they say hello and ask me if I need something, where I want to go and what they can do for me. Wow this is the first time something like this happens until now I had more the feeling like they want to keep me moving…
I tell them a chai would be great and sleeping, well I feel pretty awake now but I don’t want to make them drive all night so I tell them if they want to sleep we can go to the next police station and make it their choice. We go on to stop again 5 minutes later at a chai shop. We talk a little and they tell me they have decided I should sleep at their police station. I accept and 5 minutes later we are there. I am told to put suryananda behind the door directly into the entrance – we can´t drive in the yard because the second door is too low. We block all the vehicles inside but no problem…. I have a nice talk with all the guys from the police station, clean suryananda properly for the border and fall asleep very late surrounded by police :).