Same, same….. But different.

There is a few similarities between bicycle and motorcycle travelling.traffic
The most important one, and why I like it so much, is you’re free! You can come and go as you please without restrictions.
Both motorbike and pushbike have a couple of pro’s and cons;bicycle

With a motorbike you can…
… Take people with you for a day.
… Go at the same speed as the rest of the traffic so it doesn’t seem too hectic.
… Ride through sand, although it’s not easy.
… Not smell roadkill like you do on bicycle.
… Get rid of people following you easier.
… Go 20 or 30km more if you need too.
… And of course, look super cool 😉

But, with a bicycle you can…
… Push it if something breaks, or fix it yourself.
… Hear the birds singing and see every flower and butterfly.
… Travel 5 times longer ’cause you don’t spend more on petrol and oil then you do on food and accommodation.
… Easily stop to take a picture or have a chat.
… Go anytime, even when there is no petrol.
… Eat as much chocolate as you like without the need to feel guilty.

All together I have to say I prefer to travel by bicycle but go on shorter trips by motorbike.
Good thing that this is exactly what I am doing 😀family on a pilgrimage

India continues to surprise me. Such generosity and friendliness of some people I’ve met. I hadn’t expected.
Prime example Would be the friends and family of Hermant in Mount Abu and Abu Road.Hermants sister-in-law and me

Sanjay, who showed me around and promised to get my mobile fixed that hadn’t worked since I dropped it in Delhi. When it couldn’t be repaired he gave me another one! Sadly that got stolen 3 days later.
He also showed Wouter, a cyclingdutchguy you’ll find on, and me a temple up a hill where a Gujarat family where on a pilgrimage and invited us into the temple with them to take photo’s. Afterwards they offered us lunch.dinner is servedinvited for lunch Then there is Hermants sister-in-law, who made me many cups of tea and dressed me up in her sari’s. She even gave me one to keep!
The rest of the family who live in Abu Road invited me to stay with them two nights.
I visited the school where Hermants brother works and try to teach the kids there a dutch song (hoofd-schouders-knie-en-teen..) teachingI failed miserably. Lucky I missed my calling to become a teacher.schoolkids
One of the girls from the family decorated my hands with ‘Mahendra’ a henna-tattoo that woman usually get when there is something to celebrate.pretty feet In the evening we had a nice gathering of family and friends singing and dancing along on Bollywood songs.
I shared a room with 22-year old Indu and we spent half the night chatting away ’bout things girls chat about; “Do you have arranged marriages in your country…?” …. ” So, what if you don’t find love?” …..the men who invited me for tea

When I finally managed to drag myself away from Abu I slowly started making my way back north. Via small desert roads,village Rajastan half of which weren’t even on the map at all, where tulbanded men ride camels or invite me for tea.

washing a sheepI got to the small village of Khudi, I never planned to go on a camel-safari after I did one 5 years ago in Morocco. Just can’t be bothered bargaining with hassling touts and being stuck in the desert with sleazy camel-men…

But then I arrived at Badal Singhs place, A lovely quiet and honest men that runs a family guesthouse and organises camel-treks for a price you can’t bargain for.camel sunset
He was very surprised when I showed him the way I came on a map. “That road is illegal for tourist!, to close to Pakistan border..”

So there I found myself on a camel. In a desert together with Marc from France who happened to know a lot about stars, and you can REALLY see many stars when you sleep out there in the open, I even saw the Milkyway!'morning' And there was a lovely Italian couple who only stayed with us one night.
And of course Vikram, our saviour in times of trouble..can't miss that one, obviously

I rode a 9-year old male camel named Saha. reminds me of 'donkey'...He was more interested in the female camels then listening to me. He showed it by gurgling up and bubbling his insides out of his mouth while making a disgusting sound, all to impress the girls. One morning Saha started running and wouldn’t stop, I almost thought this was gonna be the horse episode all over again but luckily I managed to stay on this time. But men it’s a bumpy ride!
It’s nice that, unlike Morocco where all the camels were tied together and follow a guy walking up front, here you are free on your own camel or choose to have a driver sitting behind you. I didn’t, but borrowed Marcs after Saha decided he wasn’t gonna listen to me.
You can’t beat the scenery of the Sahara-dunes. But the whole relaxing atmosphere, cooking your own meal and being in good company made this trek much nicer. I wish I could’ve stayed longer.creative with chapati
Even talked about swapping my motorbike against two camels… But will have to leave that for next time…girl in the desert

It’s more and more fun riding as I’m getting used to the traffic here.
One particular surprising experience is crossing a railway.
When the crossing arms are closed, usually about half an hour before the train actually arrives, all bikes, scooters and bicycles push forward and occupy both sides of the road… On both sides of the track. Some crawl, with bikes and all underneath to cross before the train gets there. Then, when the train passes with an enormous noise, everybody starts up and let the engines roar. As soon as the crossing arms move the tiniest wee bit you try to get further up front to charge for the other side when they open…. and on the other side they do exactly the same. The art then is to get through unscattered and preferably as one of the first.
I love this game! getting pretty good at it too 🙂that thing they do to kids

I had a great day in around Bikaner where I took a cool Belgium chick for a ride.
We headed for the ‘world-famous’ Karni Mata temple a.k.a. the rat-temple… they're no rats.. they're poetshundreds of rats run around freely and get well looked after since they’re the re-incarnated souls of dead story-tellers.
It’s supposed to be good luck if you spot the white rat. And we did! It worked immediately…milk
We took the bike over small sandy roads to the village of Koyalat. Mick had told me how to ride in sand… just don’t stop basically. So we pushed through with my wheel swirling all over the show but we managed.

In Koyalat we ran into this Sadhu, out own Sadhua holy man, with seriously long dreads and a pot belly. He took us for tea to his place and offered us to smoke ganja with him. I kindly refused the ganja since I figured it
might not improve my reaction-speed while riding. But the tea was the kitchen

Now I’ve just come from Amritsar where I witnessed the India/Pakistan border ceremony.borderguard India It’s completely mad! People running around with flags and spontaneous outbursts of dancing and shouting. Then the guards walk about kicking their legs up so high you’d think they’ll break their nose. After a good while of carrying on and both sides of the border trying to be louder and more ridiculous than the other, the flags come down and the border is closed for another night…

Amritsar itself has a great feel, the traffic is worse than anything else I’ve seen so far, but I love being in the middle of that madness.Sikh
As I came into town and asked directions I got invited to drink some more tea, and got shown the way to a hotel.
Wondering around town a men urged everybody passing into his temple. apparently it was lord Shivas birthday and because of that he got food for two- to three-thousand people. eating for Shiva's b'dayThat included me.Golden Temple, Amritsar

the crowdsToday, for the first time in India I rode on a road with a serious WOW-factor. Approaching the mighty Himalayas again, it’s my favorite place…
I just arrived at Mcleod Ganj. The headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile and home of the Dalai Lama. Not sure if he is at home, but I’ll find out and let you know.
A bit like Tibet…. But different.breakfast



22 thoughts on “Same, same….. But different.

  1. Hoi Mirjam!

    Net voordat ik naar m’n werk ga nog even de foto’s kunnen bewonderen, schitterend weer! wat een mooie portretten zitten er weer tussen. Het verhaal lees ik vanavond wel rustig door.



  2. Weer prachtige foto’s. Leuk die ratten die melk zitten te drinken. En de woestijn is schitterend. Nog gelukt de sterrenhemel op de foto te krijgen?
    veel plezier nog in India en goede reis op weg naar Nepal.

  3. St Patricks’s Day coming up soon. Aaand the Jazz Fest in May, are you sure you wouldn’t rather be back home in Derry? I get the feeling maybe not… Your pics and stories from India make me LAUGH! Got cravings for a fresh, creamy pineapple juice coming on, mmm. Love to you xxx

  4. Hee Mir,

    Nogmaals bedankt voor de mooie bloemen he, en die zingende kameel is erg grappig, ik zou hem ruilen voor mn motor als ik jou was. Veel plezier, groetjes Karin

  5. lieve mirjam het heeft wel een poosje geduurt maar hier weer een berichtje van ons.Wat een geweldig leuke fotos heh je gemaakt,vooral die zingende kameel .We zijn vandaag bij karin geweest voor haar verjaardag,jij ook gefeliciteerd met je zus.Henk en Celia moesten ook in haarlem zijn en wij konden mooi meerijden,en terug hebben je ouders ons weer thuisgebracht,en je vader heeft de printer weer nieuwe inkt in gedaan en nu kan ik weer het een en ander tijd gaat wel opschieten dat je ouders bij je zijn,ik denk dat je het wel geweldig vind,en daarna is het weer fietsen geblazen.we wensen je nog een heel fijne tijd in India.veel liefs en ook van opa de hart.groeten,en een knuffel van oma.


  7. Dag lieve zus,
    Nog steeds erg naar je zin zie ik, mooi! Hier ook alles goed, binnenkort afrijden. Ben benieuwd wat dat gaat opleveren, mijn rij-instructeur gelooft er nog niet zo in volgens mij. Lekker hoopgevend… Zal je op de hoogte houden.

  8. Hej Mir!
    Wat fijn dat jij geen verdere problemen met je Bullet hebt gehad! Wij wel en hebben het onding inmiddels verkocht. Dachten dat dat wel even kon duren maar de tweede dag vd verkoop (op een vlooienmarkt in Goa) is er al iemand voor gevallen! Nu genieten we van het strand en de zee en vliegen de 20ste terug naar Delhi. Dan gaan we vervolgens via een omweg langs Varanassi naar het int. airport en terug naar Nederland. En dan bij jij al weer terug in Kathmandu, ben erg benieuwd hoe dat weer is, erg veel plezier met je ouders toegewenst!!!

    Hasta la pasta (we slapen hier bij een italiaan die heerlijke pasta’s in elkaar flanst),


  9. A bit late this time… 😉
    Hopefully you aren’t bothered with the Tibetan/ Chinese thing?
    Beautiful pics and very funny videos!
    Enjoy and take care!

  10. I wished I was back home in Derry on St Paddies Day. Instead I spent a sober night at home in Napier. Now Mirjam my girl be careful in Tibet with all the riots and protests going on. No doubt it’s another example of us hearing about the dramas and you seeing nothing but please be careful!
    Loves ya and enjoying the stories. Was thinking motorbikes in USA instead of a van????

  11. Hey Mirjam,

    Your on the road for more than 12 months now and you are still having an excellent time. I keep following your adventures anytime I can and I guess I will have to wave from the plane again when I will be on my way to Amsterdam as it looks you won’t be in Oz soon. Though I still would love to drink a beer with you here Down Under.

    Anyway take your time as no-one ever can take these impressions away from you.


  12. Hi ya missus. Great pics and stories. I loved Indiahhh! too. The Golden Temple is just so spectacular.

    Becareful with all the troubles in Tibet
    just now. The Dalai Lama is coming to England in May, to Nottingham and I am going to one of his talks – I’m sure he is very sad just now….

    Keep writing your wonderful journeys for us to enjoy and take good care of yourself.

    Linda xxx

  13. Hee dochter!

    Leuk om je na zo’n lange tijd gisteren weer even ‘gesproken’ te hebben via msn. Over precies een week vertrekken we en een dag later zien we je in Kathmandu. We kijken er naar uit, en Hans & Ali natuurlijk ook. Van de week nog even een blog maken… 🙂

    Liefs van ons, dikke kus en tot 1 april.

    papa & mama

  14. Happy Easter my dear!!
    It’s fun: every time I read one of your stories, it’s like hearing your lovely dutch accent telling it to me! 🙂
    Miss you!
    All the best and
    as always
    never stop dancing!! 🙂

  15. hai Mirjam,

    Wat raar zeg! Ik ben al weken bezig m’n fietsvakantie naar Iran te organiseren en pas geleden kwam ik jouw site tegen. Zo te zien heb je ongeveer dezelfde route gefietst als ik van plan ben te gaan fietsen, wat een toeval! (Als er al toeval bestaat daar wil ik vanaf zijn)
    Die mensen die je onderweg bent tegengekomen zullen wel denken ‘ah! daar heb je weer zo’n fietser uit Nederland net als preies een jaar geleden!’ 🙂 Tjee, ik zie dat je zelfs helemaal tot aan Nepal & India bent gefietst! Echt super knap! Ongelofelijk… dat doe ik en zo’n 99,99% van de andere mensen je niet na!

    groetjes Teun (wordt over een paar weken pas weer ge-update)

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