DAY TWENTY SEVEN… 36.35 miles (58.50 km)
The day began so well with a road with beautifully smooth tarmac, that I thought might go on forever (foolishly). After 10 miles, into the ride, the surface turned into the most horrible bumpy, stony, jolty surface imaginable. It was most stressful to be jolted around, mile after mile with no idea how long it was going to go on.
We stopped for a break from the jolting and an old woman called us over for chai. Normally we would refuse such an invitation, but morale was low and desperation high, so we accepted. Again, we met the extended family, and the cows, the goats and the chickens. They were so kind, good natured and lovely. A far cry from further down the road.
As we approached Tonk, our next destination, we received more and more unpleasant hassle. People shouting at us; ‘How are you?’. It wasn’t pleasant and friendly, it was menacing and persecutory, worse still as we were trying to keep our bikes upright on a really terrible road surface, of which we have had more than our surfeit of today
6.00pm…. We are in Tonk. It’s a bit edgy. Beggars abound and are very persistent. We were followed by one woman who kept hitting her drum harder and harder as she came after us, well in fact she was hitting it virtually in our face, then she shouted at us as we turned away. Another woman grabbed my arm and kept on and on asking for money.
Just been out to see about the only sight to speak of in Tonk, the Jama Masjid. An impressive interior, but not another woman in sight. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed there, so sat, quiet as a mouse.
In the market we found a shoe wallah to mend my trainers which were starting to look the worse for wear. Whilst he was doing a very professional but probably ultimately destructive job on the trainers rubber toe with a needle and thread, a loan shark appeared on a motorbike, and began to hassle him. I couldn’t believe it. This man was on a tiny piece of cardboard on the road, and had to pay rent for it, to this bully. I gave him double the money he asked for the repair (only £1.00). I hope it covered the rent.
We went on to witness police hassling street vendors. The wily ones fled as soon as they caught a whiff of the cops. The slower ones got hassled. A nasty looking burly man was standing by, probably to do the dirty work if that was needed. Quite like to get out of here soon.