Long time no speak/write/read, I am not sure what the right word is in this situation so you can create you own! Anyway I know I have been a bad blogger but dont worry I have lots of stories to share and loads more memories still to make!
I thought I would welcome you back with my story of riding a tuktuk around India.
When you think of India there are a number of iconic images that come to mind; the Taj Mahal, curry and Tuk-tuks. So as you can imagine in the 3 months I have spent here, I have spent a lot of time racing around the street, diving into small passageways, and sat in traffic at the back of the brightly coloured vehicle.
If you have somehow missed the chance to see a Tuk-tuk, or auto rickshaw, in your life then ill give you a quick description with the promise you go and find one next time your travelling. They are a vehicle that is simply different from anything else, the front section looks like a motorcycle with a large windscreen at the front, and the back has a bench for passengers to sit in. It has a roof but no doors or seat belts are needed- it is India after all. As tourists you can fit about 3-4 people in, we managed to get 5 in one but people were sitting on each others laps, for an Indian you can get at least 7 people in one all sort of hanging off in a way that looks like a turn would send the whole thing flying. Tuk-tuks can be found in other places around the world but there is something very Indian about them.
So when I was given the opportunity to drive a rickshaw, I obviously jumped at the chance. We had hired a fleet of Tuk-tuks for half the day to drive us around the town in Fort Cochin; there are some beautiful places, baths and other monuments to see around the island but they are quiet spread around and due to the heat in this area of the country (even in March) it was only really possible for us to take a tour around without walking too much.
We all piled into the tuk-Tuks, 3 passengers per Tuk-tuk very luxurious, 2 in the back and one sharing the front seat with the driver. We whizzed along the road chatting away, when the driver looked over at Ivy, one of the other passengers, and asked if she wanted to drive- and she did. We had to stop a few minutes later and then he turned to me and asked “Do you want to have a go?” I nodded and swopped over with Ivy so I could take the wheel- well actually handlebars- and got going.
The driver got us going and helped me manoeuvre around the people and cows (!!!) on the street before we went into a quiet road where I could drive by myself. I was surprised at how hard it was to drive, considering every driver makes it look like a piece of cake I had assumed anyone would be able to do it easily. The one I drove had a strong pull to the left, I don’t know if that was due to weight distribution, but it meant that I was constantly pulling to the right just to keep us straight. The gears and acceleration work the same way of a motorbike or moped, but are very difficult to work and the break- which I only found half way through the journey kept moving around so I could never find it, breaking with accelerator became very important.
However I drove it!! Past cows, around lorries and over speed bumps I managed to manoeuvre this little vehicle and my 3 passengers through the streets of India an impressive achievement even if I do say so myself. We all arrived at the temple safe and sound a free to enjoy the beautiful architecture.
Here are some pictures of Hampi as well for you to enoy.