07.01.2017 - 08.01.2017
In the dark hours of the morning I loaded the Tuk Tuk as Laura found a new friend. A little dog only too happy to play with her.
As we pulled out, the little dog followed all the way to the motorway slip road. He ran out happily until the traffic caused him to apply the brakes only just in time.
Out on the road we've found what looks to be oil or grease in a place we've never seen it before. It's covering the gear box, CV joint and an as yet unidentified rubber pipe coming out of our engine. Tony hadn't grumbled so we carried on. One way or another we'll find out what's causing it eventually.
Horns on vehicles are a big thing over here. People don't use their rear view mirrors as much but rather, if you're about to overtake you give a little friendly toot to say "Hey there, coming through." If a pathway doesn't open then you can give a longer toot which means, "I'm still coming through, how do you want this to end?" Many people don't actually pay much attention to the road, even pedestrians will walk blithely out onto the tarmac as if the Green Cross Code had never been invented. One toot of the horn though and they're scrambling for cover. We've now learnt the horns of India too which helps enormously. An angry bee is a bike. They can do little harm but given the number of people on each bike and the random location of the single crash helmet it'd probably take a while to clear up the mess. A road runner 'Meep-meep' is a tuk-tuk. That's a dog eat dog level playing field. He who dares wins Rodders and we're getting braver. A traditional car horn is, well, a car. Most likely a Mahindra or Tata 4x4 driver (think Defender or Jeep) who is probably on a mission somewhere but will happily slow down so that he and his passengers can take selfies of 'Tourists in the wild'; whilst overtaking in the face of oncoming traffic and certain death. Throughout the experience his smile will never waver his head nod will stay consistent and his eyes will stay fixed to you rather than the road. The next category houses coaches and trucks because they have proper horns. Some actually have two, the first is a diddle-iddle-iddle parp and as stated earlier, that's friendly; the second inspires a spurt of adrenaline and some evasive action on our part. It's like a mouse taking on a bull; it can't be done. One more horn exists but is rarely heard and that's the train. It sounds like a fog horn on an ocean liner and no one gets in the way of that.
We watched the Swiss Cheese team conk out on a particularly steep hill today. Laura and I did slow but Em and Al were caning the life out of it and so 'team' took precedence over 'charity' and unlike the cheeses we know how to take a side.
Todays destination was the fortress a Dalautabad. It was a hill fortress started in the eleventh century by the Yadavas though I haven't worked out who they are yet. Then in 1327 a Muslim leader took control of the camp and moved his entire court from Delhi 1100km to be there. The Yadavas cut away the edges of the mountain so that it effectively had a cliff around it's base. Subsequent occupants then added to the fort so that there was a 15m deep moat half way up the mountain, this was filled with crocodiles. Cannons were placed all over one of which had a barrel that I could climb into! Then there was a maze of passages with the last designed so that a fire could be lit and the passage would become the chimney.
We watched the sun set and then did half an hours night driving and got to our hotel near the Ellora caves at 6:30. There were a few Tuks in the car park, one of which was Ollie and Squirrel. They'd spent the last two days seeing the caves and would be leaving at 5am the next morning. We had dinner with the Swiss who had proved to be quite capable in patching up their vehicle until they could get a full service. We got their mechanics location; it was about time we gave ours some TLC.