DAY TWENTY SIX… 24.30 miles (39.10 km)
Sitting on an antique couch, drinking lemon tea in the vestibule of our luxurious suite of rooms in Rajmahal. The bedroom is adorned with paintings and gold leaf. The windows are stained glass. There is a little kitchen, a huge bathroom, and another hall area. It’s like having a super luxury flat. I’m having fantasies of coming here in my dotage and living for £25.00 a day like the Exotic Marigold Hotel.
We left our hotel in Jahazpur with no poha, unfortunately, just chai. I’ve run out of my supply of poha from the UK, but miraculously we came across a supermarket in Deoli, where we were able to replenish my stocks.
Easy and pleasant riding to our first stop (for chai). A man came across the road to sweep the bench we had planned to sit on, so it was all clean for us.
Ten miles further on we sought out a place to stop for breakfast. We spotted a nice bench in the shade, off the road. Perfect. Nearby there were some tribal people in tents but they looked busy and harmless. Not so! As soon as we had got our breakfast stuff out, they gathered their babes and shoeless kids, and rushed towards us in droves. Tim and I sensed how this situation could develop and decided to make a dash for it.
Our next attempt to find a spot to eat was not great. There were not any ideal spots so we settled for a wall next to a house. As we got our breakfast stuff our again (lemon tea, poha, some left overs from supper), a man came over to talk to Tim. He was behaving strangely and I could see Tim struggling. I think the man was mentally unwell.
Eventually a woman came out of the house with a big stick and began hitting the unwell man until he left. Then she sat in the road and began to tuck into her own breakfast. She offered us some of her food and stupidly I accepted her yogurt. Too late I noticed a large number of black bits in it. What were they? Dirt? Grit? Worse? I prayed that the good bacteria in the yogurt would win the fight over the black bits.
The crazy man returned. This time wielding a scythe. Not sure what he was planning to do with this. Luckily for us, the woman hit him again with her stick, and we made our get away.
After this escapade, more unmade roads till we finally made it to our lovely palace.