Benja: It all gets a little more serious

Ratnagiri Travel Blog

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Mr Badger meets Potholio

A fairly uneventful morning with the usual plethora of breakdowns, faffing, hangovers and more faffing. Greg also tried to leave his watch in the hotel room, but thankfully the fumble police caught him in time and he failed in his attempt. He was almost successful second time at a tea stop, leaving his bag, but returned to find that the locals are contemptuous of that low quality of fumbling, and had held onto it for him, waiting for a true pro to turn up, not some Potholio loving amateur.

 

The scenery on the journey was stunning, and we rounded a particularly beautiful vista to see some tuk tuk's pulled over and one of the support vehicles by the side of the road. There we some worried faces and it didn't look good.

 

It appears that one of the rickshaw teams (not one of ours, but I won't mention their name for various reasons) may have over-cooked a corner and clipped a rock sending them off the edge of a cliff.

Mr Badger
Fortunately the tuk was caught upside down by some foliage after about 6ft, where a few feet forward they would have been looking at more like 60ft. As we arrived they were being carted off to hospital, with Fran and Matt accompanying them.

 

Injuries are said to be non-life threatening but there is a possibility one has a fairly cut up foot, and I imagine they are more than a little shaken up.

 

It's a timely reminder that this isn't a Butlins holiday and the dangers are significant. With a support team and hotels each night its easy to forget that we are driving these vehicles beyond what they were designed for (50 years ago), long distances on some of the worlds most dangerous roads. A walk in the park it ain't, but if it was easy there wouldn't be any challenge would there?

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The accident

India is well known for excellent cheap salons and ayurvedic massage. In the role of the dutiful tourist, team Badger racing has indulged at every opportunity. Five days in and I have sloped off at strategic moments for a pedicure, three massages, a herbal facial, reflexology, eyebrow shaping and emergency waxing. Even Benja was spotted on the massage table. Essential performance enhancer for the rally as your spine gets fairly out of line with the potholes, driving posture and constant over-the-shoulder lookout for runaway buses. Not to be outdone by the passengers, the badger mobile used a day at the beach to have a back alley make over and now sports a new black top, white stripes and logo.


The salons range from straw huts with fans and clean sarongs to marbled, hushed spaces of incense and hushed voices. Heaven. Just in case you were concerned that we were suffering.

Upside down in a tree
India is a land of rich culture and a complex web of religious fabric. The Hindis worship various Gods including Vishnya, Ganesh, .. A lesser known object of worship is Mr Badger. Nationwide interest in the badger began 2007 AD with the arrival of the badger mobile, badger team and a bag of badger accessories. On a mission to promote Resp'ct for the Badger, Benja has a sketch hennaed on his left shoulder as a mobile prop. Mags introduces all pump attendants, school children and unsuspecting bystanders to two puppets and sketches on the rickshaw. Only the reading material 'Mr Badger Saves the Day' and 'Badger has a Bath' are yet to be deployed. The school visit on day three was a good opportunity to introduce the badgers to the next generation of Indian leaders and judging by the smiles, wobby heads and bemused expressions, I feel there is reason to believe that within few years the brightly coloured trucks, rickshaws and booming buses will sport miniature illuminated badgers on the dash board. You gotta love the badger.
Mr Badger meets Potholio
Mr Badger meets Potholio
Mr Badger
Mr Badger
The accident
The accident
Upside down in a tree
Upside down in a tree
Girls got out OK
Girls got out OK
Ratnagiri
photo by: Rickshaw