Bicycle POV

As nervous as I was about cycling on Indian roads (lanes, paths, cliffs), there was no doubt in my mind that it would be better than driving, being driven, riding a motorcycle, or walking. The first two imply a car, and anything wide enough to hold 4 people is too wide. Either the roads (lanes, etc) barely accommodate the vehicle or the middle of the road is being used as a passing lane and the stress is simply more than I want to deal with. We do still take cabs now and then. We went the motorcycle route last time. It was great in some ways. Fairly efficient travel in any direction we wanted to go – low fuel consumption, nimble enough for narrow paths and well-slung enough for rough surfaces, fast enough for a couple cyclists. The Royal Enfield Bullet 350 is a lovely machine, too, with a comfortable and, ahem, stimulating growl. On the other hand, there was fuel to buy. James was the driver, which irritated me and stressed him. And while easy enough to maneuver, there’s a whole nother level of nimble that could improve the experience of moving about on these roads. Walking? It’s the only way to see every bit of a new neighborhood. It’s the only way to get every photo. And it’s the only way to have random conversations. Every other form of transportation moves too fast. On the other hand, we did so much walking between our arrival and getting the bicycles that I wore out a pair of shoes and my body thought I should give it a rest. Cycling, though. Wow. It’s good exercise, swift enough to put most of the city within our reach, and talk about nimble – we can ride almost anywhere we want and we[…]

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This is Tamarind

We went to a new lunch place today and got pretty freaked out. Prakash said we should check out the canteen at NISH (an institute for those with communication struggles), since it’s practically right out our front door. Not that he’d ever eaten there – it’s just the kind of place to have one. Today, we went there and arrived too early (as we do), but then we got fed a lovely meal by super-nice people and paid less than anywhere else nearby. Not only that, they do breakfast! Idly and sambar (we hope) in close proximity! Wow! We’ll be checking that out tomorrow morning. As we were walking back from lunch today we saw a couple of very nice people shaking a tree in quite a few different places. They’d shake and a bunch of brown pods would fall. We approached and asked what it was and the man reached into a bucket that he was rapidly filling with these things, pulled out a couple and handed them to us. He made the universal, “Go Ahead and Eat It, It’s Great!” gesture (Hand to mouth, big grin) so we did… Wow, Fucking wow!!! It was incredible! It was almost like my (James) body just absorbed the stuff, like I needed it, badly! And, it turns out it (my body) did. Tamarind is a very large, long lived shrub although to me it looks like a big tree. The evergreen leaves are elliptical ovular and pinnately veined; in other words, it’s cool looking. At night the leaflets close up like little books in a great green library. Now for the good part, it’s sweetly sour right off the tree and perfectly edible but best of all it is outrageously good for you, it has… 37% of your daily Thiamine, 13%[…]

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