Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day 19 - Sajnekhali to Kolkata

March27 at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:GPS Geotagging

Trip meter so far 3382

Got up lazily as i had nothing to do but get myself to calcutta. Cos any more boat ride and it would set me back too much in money. Also had two worries. Weather my bike will be there and if its there, how do i get it up the steep ramp at Gosaba.

Was also not feeling well, with whole night sleep i was feeling weak and felt like resting for more time. But knew once on bike i would be alright and riding heals!. Have got on to the bike before in much bad shape and few mins into riding i felt fine :).

Go the watch tower behind the hotel for one last look at the Sunderbans. Its just forest just outside the fence. Have a lazy breakfast, collect myself and check out the room. The care takers wish me luck for my further trip. I had let them know that i am on a big bike trip. I get to the gate and the Subhendu, my previous boat ride guied was there and he announced about my ride to near by people. The same old curious questions to which i answered politely. After hearing all the tiger stories of Sunderbans, may i left a story about a crazy guy who came in bike all the way from bangalore to pakhirala, blew some money alone on a boat ride and left! Cos the previous day by the time our boat reached the SudhanaKhali watch tower, a boat man near by had already heard my story!

Bid farewell for the cheerful crowd waited for my boat to Pakhirala. Got there a bit nervous and when i went to the Apanjan hotel, yeppie my bike is still standing there. Though i was assured by many people that bike would be safe but still it was at the mercy of strangers for 2 days. Gave the owner 150 bux though he might not have expected as much. But had requested me to stay in his hotel for a day. Any way again the same announcement about my ride and the owner was taking pride in saying that my bike was at his place. Shook hands with him and went towards other side of Gosaba for the impending boat ride! With people who rarely spot motorcycle on the island they see a black 'new model' bike with black attaired rider and were surprised like hell. Caught up with the donation collection boys whome i had met the other day. They were over joyed to see me hehe. shook hands with me and told me to come again.

Now i maneuver through the narrow streets and present myself at the boat ghat, where there was a boat already full of people. I was told to put bike in now itself. The boat man sterny says 25 Rs it will be, expecting my disapproval, but i am like anything boss just get my bike on the other side! Thanks to the high tide, the boat at the top most step. Not much man power, and i had to spend my limited muscular resources! With a couple of scares of falling into water bike was in the midst of overcrowd boat and i sat on the boat with my feet anchoring the bike to compensate the sways. Again i was the talk of the boat.

Reached the other side and scare came alive. Though it was high tide, the topmost and steep ramp of 6-7 steps had to be climbed. No sooner did the boat stop and people got off the next batch of people wanted to get in. Managed to turn around the bike on the boat just before people hurried in to secure their seat on the boats edges. Got the bike of the boat. Could understand their difficult cos 1) the bike is heavy and 2) there is nothing to hold. Was afraid that they might use plastic or the box mounts for the lifting. But the patient boat men listened to me as to where to lift. pointed them at the swing arm and front tire.
Now i had to put the bike in gear and manage the drive up. Since it was too steep at one point the bike stood on engine! Somehow managed to get it up and breathed a sigh relief. Yeppie back on the main land.

Then on it was pretty comfortable ride till calcutta. Lot of empty stretches of road. Since the bike did not have boxes and luggage, handled really well. Once i get o cal the boxes will be on. So made use of this ride to do some spirited riding and ripping. Get into cal by 1.30pm and then it was some traffic surfing and to my friend's place. Tiger or not the Sunderbans trip was awesome the landscape very unique and the experience was great.

Off to Siliguri tomm. Its going to be hard to make it in a day but thinking of giving it a run. After hot beaches, its time for cold mountains....


one last look at the Mangrove forest..




Waiting for my boat to pakhirala wondering if my bike is still there...


Fellow island hoppers...



Hurray the bike is still there...



with one worry over i ride through the picturesque gosaba island thinking about the impending boat ride...



ride through gosaba streets..


On the boat and center of attraction...


Oh man that incline...


Boy am i glad to be on the main land rubber side down!



Ride through the villages near basanti


Curious kids...


who needs expensive theme parks


Rare empty road towards Kolkata


Before i put back the panniers. This is how i am carrying the spare rear sprocket!

2 comments:

Martin said...

The Indian hospitality industry has seen a major hike in the recent times owing to the astounding industrial growth of the country. The growth in the IT sector has also hugely led to the revolving fortunes of the metros and major cities of the country. Offshore business flowing in and the eagerness of the MNCs to come up in India has led to the obvious growth of the hospitality sector also. Most of the big names in the hospitality industry from India and abroad have their properties in the important commercial hubs of the country. However, surprisingly, the hospitality industry is not that vigorously promoted in one of the most important metros of the country, Kolkata. In the past decade Kolkata has also seen major industrial growth. But unfortunately, the West Bengal state Government hasn’t shown much inclination towards the development of the hospitality industry of the state in general and the hotels in Kolkata in particular. Inspite of the repeated appeals from the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Eastern India, the state government hasn’t come up with steps that would boost the growth of the hospitality industry. Most of the suggestions and appeals made by the Association have gone unheeded. On the contrary, the state government increased the luxury tax payable by the air conditioned budget hotels in Kolkata and the ones in the rest of the state by a whopping 650%. Change in excise duties, reduction in the bar license renewal fee etc have also not been worked upon. In one word, the government seems to be underestimating the need to strengthen and boost the hospitality industry in the wake of unprecedented industrial growth. With proper etching out of the taxes and fees payable by the hotels of the state, the state government can make the business hotels in Kolkata and other renowned hotels of the state bring in huge profits for the state.

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