I have always had this rule on adventures, an hour before dark, that’s it, call it a day and find a place to camp. If you try and push on in the dark things always go pear shaped. It happens every time, one thinks you would learn.
We have had a few weeks of signal problems, especially with uploads to our site and Youtube. I had just run into Ratlam and the team called me, there was massive bandwidth here, so we decided to find a little shop with power, take a few hours off and catch up with the media. This meant I also had to stop and edit all my footage so that Nick could upload it. I also had blogs and pictures that needed to be sorted out.
The next thing we looked and it was 5. I could not believe this; I had 12 km to go to the camp. Finally at 5:30 I headed out. Ratlam is a big city with windy busy narrow streets, the first 5 Km were a grind. I was basically glued to my OVI map guide, following it to the main road out of town.
The light was fading, the buildings were throwing cloaks of shadows over the streets, and the cold winter chill was slowly descending as it does every evening, as if some one had suddenly switched on the chillier fan. I was trying to fight my way through the crowds, every second person trying to stop me with the same questions, where are you from, where you going, what’s your name. Finally I burst through this brush of harassment and out into the open and I broke into a run. Dusk was here, I could just see where I was going. Trucks hooters blaring at me and lights blinding me I tilted me peak down and pushed on in the fading light.
The light suddenly seemed to disappear and darkness was all around me. The roads of India are littered with rocks, the pavement is intermittent with open sewers and things scurry from every direction. 50% of scooters and bikes drive with no lights and 4 people on board, on top of this, mostly appearing from the wrong direction at breakneck speed. Then suddenly there is a massive shape standing in front of you that appears from nowhere, a cow that’s just chilling in the road, chewing its cud of plastic and cardboard, still contemplating and wondering where all the grass has gone.
The road now split due to road works and all traffic was diverted, I carried on straight, I was not going to run the extra kilometres. This meant that I now was in darkness, no headlights behind me. A kilometre later I joined the road again and picked up the pace. I was running up a small rise and the next thing a massive truck came over it, lights on bright and that was it I was totally blinded, bewildered and disorientated. Within a split second my feet were swept out from under me and I went crashing down onto the pavement all I could remember was just thinking, roll left out of the road. There was a vortex of wind and dust that swept past me as a truck came steaming up from behind, hooting like mad as it cascaded down the road into the darkness, punching a hole into the night air as it disappeared over the rise.
There I lay, looking around, bewildered to what had happened; there was a horrific stench all around me, what the hell was going on. Then in the light of the next truck my eyes caught it just beyond my feet, there staring at me was the cause of my wipe out, a bloated carcass of a dead dog that I had fallen over.