Where Riders' Bend & Cobblers' Mend- Aggie Rider's Take: Part II
Phuentsholing is an interesting town; looks beautiful and deceivingly big as we are winding down the mountains. The town looks almost planned with its right angled streets. It is the commercial hub of Bhutan; that is about it on Phuentsholing. We head on to Sibsoo after lunch (or sort of lunch) via India. I let Cool Rider ride my motorcycle as some of the stretches of roads in India were bad and not suitable for his Harley. Thought it would be good for my Karma; a biker brother sacrificing a motorcycle for another – the mother of all sacrifices for a biker. I drive the backup car with some of the other members who were having problems with their motorcycles. The Lee Enfield motorcycle, a classic motorcycle by reputation is classic in its unreliability.
Driving through India is interesting. Not sure if I’d want to do that again. People moving all over the place with little respect for traffic, almost daring someone to run them over with a motor vehicle. Most of the time, I felt as if I was playing a game of chicken with the oncoming traffic; and the rest of the time, I was thankful that I did not hit anything. There were animals all over the road; it is not unusual to find animals on the Bhutanese roads but at least our animals follow the traffic rules – slower traffic on the left; well, except for an occasional bull who decides to jump across the road. The road was generally good with the exception of some stretches. They have potholes the size of small huts. But not a big deal for bikers, haha.. Along the way, more motorcycles start falling casualty to the Lee Enfield’s legendary reputation. X-Rider’s motorcycle died out due to electrical problems. Another passenger for the backup car. We drive for about half hour and the stop by a Dhaba to get something to eat. The food was delicious; Parathas, Aloo Bujiyas, Dal, Roti were all wonderful. The last good food for the next few days.
It is late when we get to Samtse (our night halt). All arrangements had been made by our Samtse members. Tents were up; we had food and drinks waiting for us. About 100 meters from the camp, Gangjung Rider took a tumble on the road; a motorcycle assisted somersault that would have made on Olympic gymnast proud. Welcome to Samtse, Gangjung! The night went well. Plenty of food and drinks for everyone. Surprisingly, the night was cold. Thought Samtse was warm. Our Samtse members said, “Yeah it is but during the summer”. A lot of good the cold did to some of the members caught out without sleeping bags. Steel Rider, remember to bring you sleeping bag next time. Hell, if I am giving you my sleeping bag – made my mother of all biker sacrifices, besides it is better you suffer than me. Poor bastard!
The morning was rather pleasant. Cool but not cold with just enough warmth from the sun. Breakfast tasted as usual – terrible. We started riding to Sibsoo after breakfast. Late again, I might add. The ride to Sibsoo made up for everything. The landscape with flowing Himalayan foothills made it one of the most memorable rides. Small gentle slopes that went up and down almost made me feel as if we were riding on ocean waves. Beautiful houses, beautiful land and the girls. The girls were just beautiful. Natural beauties, the kind you do not see in the cities anymore that reminded one of poems written by Byron almost without fail. We stopped over at a shop with a beautiful shopkeeper; think almost everybody bought stuff that we do not need.
I must confess, riding in this beautiful landscape made me think of my dream girl. Let me clarify that, my dream girl, it is one way – I dream of her, don’t think the feelings mutual. Would she settle in a place like this, own some land, farm, and live happily after? Probably not, er, absolutely not! I am quite certain she is not into bikers. I would probably need a college degree first. Change of plans; invent time machine, go back in time and graduate high school, get a college degree – at this rate, it’s going to take me a several lifetimes. Shit, shit – I need to snap out of it and concentrate on the road. I am riding a motorcycle. Just be glad, the weather’s warm and no snot icicle under the helmet today unlike our ride from Thimphu. We reach Sibsoo eventually and then ride on to Tendu. Tendu is one of those dismal places. Did not like it at all and made me dislike it even more after my motorcycle fall. I fell down twice in the same spot, can you believe it? Stupid sand and gravel, somebody needs to sue the road contractors. It was quiet on the way back. Tired, hungry and hurt.
Getting back to Phuentsholing on the fourth day was almost like a breath of fresh air. Warm bed, mediocre food and decent toilets. We ride up to Thimphu the next day. Late again, as usual. Not a big deal until night fell and temperature started going below zero. Cold, hungry and the damn ice on the roads made it difficult to ride. Snot icicle, freezing fingers, sub-zero temperature – so what else is new. Think Toxic Rider slipped on the ice. Minor fall and no injury. Phew! We were freezing by the time we got over to the club house. There was hot tea and food waiting for us. In all, it was a good ride. No injuries and lots of fun.