After finding a decent hotel in Kannauj we decided to have a well deserved rest and set a later alarm. Pretty sad when 8am is considered a late wake up call but those extra few hours where amazing!!!
We didn't have a real destination in mind for today... Just head east and see where we land around sunset. As it turns out we still managed to do about 240 km even with the late departure ending up in Faizabad around 6 pm. Not a bad day on the road and a step closer to Nepal.
Over the past few days we've seen a change in the geography going from desert to what appears to be the "breadbasket" of India. Fairly flat and though dry still plenty of rivers. Now is wheat harvesting season so all alone the roads over the last few days there's been wheat fields almost everywhere. Unlike the giant fields we have back home here they appear to all be small farmers with at most 1 hector they can call their own. It's an extremely poor region which is apparent in their methods. Harvesting is all done by hand. People bent over all day in the blistering heat using a hooked knife to cut each plant at the base. Once cut they're gathered together and tied into bundles for a harvester that comes around cutting and separating the seeds from stocks which is then blown onto a large pile to be collected by massive Tata trucks. A very manually demanding task to say the least and by the basic lives they live not very profitable either.
Though poor everyone we've met so far has been extremely friendly inviting us for a cup of chai after bringing out their guest chairs from their houses. All want to know where we are from, our names, ages, if we're married and how many kids we have. That is if they can speak English.
That's one thing that's really surprised us on this journey. Only very few can speak more than the most basic English. Of course we came knowing that Hindi was the main language for most of the regions we'd be flying through in our 9 horsepower speed demon but just how few caught us off guard. English being an official language and the lingua that units this vast country it's almost non-existent in rural India. We've made it our goal to keep off the highways as much as possible so we can experience the towns and villages of rural India that for the most part have been unvisited by foreigners. That interaction has been by far the highlight of this trip. Within minutes of stopping somewhere we're surrounded by hoards of people.
This being a very conservative country other than a few exceptions it's only males that flock to us. Women and girls look on from a distance either too shy or not permitted to interact with the tall white strangers that have stopped in their village. It's kind of sad as half of the 1.2 billion inhabitants are almost completely off limits
In this scorching heat we each go through about 5 liters of water per day. Being in the rickshaw for 8-10 hours a day in 40C weather we dehydrate fast so other than insuring we have reserve gas with us in case we run out before the next petrel station we do the same with water. I for one have always disliked drinking room-temperature water I'd kill for 20C water these days! 40C water isn't really a joy to drink.
More to come and don't forget to track our progress via our website.