India – Day 6 – Tirupati to Rayachottu

Today: 132 km
Total: 326 km
38 degrees, clouds in the morning, sun in the afternoon, rain in the evening

The morning started out fine. We drove through a dry desert like landscape. Boulders scattered all around. Some small bushes. Dry river beds. Every now and a again a small village, where they sell water or bananas. A very nice scenary to cruise along. Than all that bad shit happened to the rickshaws. First the screws of the front wheel of the rickshaw Erik and Tom where driving were loosening by all the not so flat roads. We did not have the correct tools, so we somewhat fixed it each 5 kilometers with Eriks Leatherman, until we reached a village. In the village, with the help of the local school teacher and Point It, we could borrow the correct tools. This fixed the problem for half an hour. In the next village we found Abdul the repair guy. Abdul fixed to problem for real. From there we continued to the petrol station. The rickshaws need a mixture of petrol and oil, 50 ml of oil per liter of petrol. Erik and Tom filled there rickshaw. Armand and Mitch were nowhere in sight. After filling the rickshaw Erik and Tom drove back to find Armand and Mitch, probably without petrol, because they were already running low for some time. After 200 meters the engine stopped and wouldn’t start anymore. We decided to push the rickshaw back to Abdul. On our way we found Armand and Mitch. To prevent from being run over by a truck, Armand, on full speed, steered a little off the road, but ended up in the bushes, wrecking the front end of the rickshaw including loosing the window and the roof was broken. So with two broken rickshaws, we arrived back at Abdul’s repair shop. The first rickshaw got started again. The petrol-oil mixture was either wrong or not well mixed. But Abdul could not fix the broken window. Abdul send us to a near town and two of his friends joined us, to make sure we got to the repair shop. On our way there Armand and Mitch also got a flat tire. We picked up a repair guy from the near town, to replace the wheel, because still we didn’t have the correct tools. Resting the rickshaw on a tire made it possible to swap the flat tire for the reserve wheel. In the village called Rayachottu we were able to find somebody to fix the window. His shop happened to be across the street from a hotel. The whole time we were surrounded by a crowd. People asked us questions like “What’s your name?”, “Where are you from?”, You buy or rent rickshaws?”, “You come to my shop?”, etc. People told us we were the first white people to visit this town. We were very happy to get into the hotel and our of the crowd. Everything was fixed except the roof, that’s something for tomorrow morning.

Replacing a flat tire.