Now you think 110km doesn't sound far or take too long, I tell you my friend to think again.
But let me start at the beginning of the day, a breakfast meeting, so you think of course don't eat breakfast you will get to eat at the meeting. Ha think again.
We were picked up at 9:30am to go to the meeting, so we should have got something light ourselves before going out, and when does a Rotary meeting run on time, rarely I tell you especially when a politician is involved so we can always blame him for the ensuing events. The meeting ran late opening the eye clinic in which they were going to find 50 patients out of an initial pick of 200, surgery to be done tomorrow. Afterwards (and these are drawn out enough as it is) was breakfast (11:45am) at the house that the President of the Rotary Club of Gwalior Central, or members had organised. It was very hospitable of them to open their house up to us, and everybody enjoyed the food and the fellowship of the members and their families.
So in turn the last event put us behind for the tour of the school at the fort "Schindia"? And lunch provided by them. Well mannered young men respectful of their elders, teachers and the environment of their school. No rubbish, graffiti or stuff around the place to be seen, fantastic history to the buildings. Also the Fort that it is contained within. An amazing history and the palaces that are contained within the complex as well. To try to describe them would be an injustice, for my knowledge of the history is minimal at best.
Well all these events put us way behind schedule to getting to the final event tonight. We are still using the same bus driver. This takes us up to my story as hair raising as any death defying act, for in reality that is what it turned out to be.
We were headed away from Gwalior to Shivpuri. On what is a National Highway, And unless you have been to India out of the major cities you will have no concept of time/distance in this country, it's not like going from Melbourne to Ballarat nor even Ballarat to Bendigo. The roads are not much more than one lane yet traffic goes in both directions, with people walking along them (not moving out of harms way) motor bikes, push bikes, cows (and don't hit those whatever you do) dogs, pigs, kids, tractors towing carts (taking the family on an outing, even to a wedding!) slow moving buses well you get the idea. It's seems the attitude is I'm here you stop, move around me but I'm going ready or not. A bit like the game "British Bulldogs" that we played as children. Roads are never good here in any case but when you come across potholes you couldn't see Barry Burnett in, (wait I think I left my lunch back there, or was it my intestines?) you would think it is a problem, heck no, just swerve onto wrong side of road towards oncoming traffic and back again before you get hit, all while trying to avoid the piglets darting across the road, or people wandering around anything in their path, don't look to see if you are stepping in front of anything, no it's I'm right Jack. Or try to over take (with 12 innocent passengers on board) on a blind corner and have to slam on the brakes to get back behind the slow truck and get missed by a whisker, this wasn't just an isolated incident we lost count on the way, it's like "Hey I survived that once let's try it again" There is a saying amongst drivers here, "just pray to God" ...... Mind you all this driving business might go smoother if you remembered to change out of third once in a while (oh s***, you mean it's not an auto!!!!) oh and just to add more thrill for my passengers, it's twilight, no don't worry about turning your lights on so you can be seen (just cos the tail lights on the motor bikes don't work anyway) You know what that means don't you, did I hear you say no? Well let me tell you, imagine trying to drive down the Main Street of your town wearing a blindfold at 70km/h on the wrong side of the road with at least twice as many lanes of traffic than that is marked on the road. Add into the mix people, dogs and cattle. Just for extra spice use your mobile phone and occasionally open and close your door. Now which hand is on the steering wheel during all this?
The drive here reminded me of a cross between the old ride at the Melbourne show called Mad Mouse and Dodgems with a bit of the Zipper thrown in for good measure.
I am skipping the meeting as Green is not really my favourite colour for my complexion.
Tomorrow is the return journey to Gwalior and we are so looking for to that... Now didn't I see an helicopter parked somewhere.................