Thursday, February 7, 2008

REFLECTIONS OF INDIA - LEAVING AGRA
February 7, 2007 - from Agra to Kosi

TAJ MAHAL. Our little bicycle entourage arrived in Agra on February 5, 2007. We visited the Taj Mahal the next day. The world's most awesome mausoleum was simply grand. It's reflection of the hues of the sky at various times of day was glorious. The sheer size and intricate detail of the edifice, as well as its elegant endurance over centuries, seem to make it worthy of its reputation as a man-made wonder. Indians are rightfully proud of this expression of art, ingenuity and hard labor. Still, I winced at the sheer size of ego and heights of abuse of power that could convieve of and compel such a feat.

DAY FOR FLATS. When we got back on the road on February 7, it was our day for flat tires. I punctured and repaired quickly. Joe hit a piece of glass that cut his tire, which took a bit more time to repair. Then, my back tire went down...again. We found the culprit: the same tiny shard of glass imbedded in the tire surface. Three flats in a day after only two punctures in over 1,900 miles…interesting. Cross-country cycling requires readiness to quickly repair flat tires and access extra tires and supplies.

NEXT TO LAST DAY OF RIDING. On this day one year ago, we pedaled 108 kilometers / 66 miles to a little town on National Highway 2 called Kosi on what was our next to last day of cycling in India. The roads had become familiar to us. We'd become quite adept at the Indian “rules of the road.” We were accustomed to the diverse activity on the roadsides. We felt like we are part of it and it is a part of us. There were hardly any more unique visuals that we hadn’t already captured on photo or video clips. Still, the thought that we will not be riding these roads—Seals and Crofts’ song “We May Never Pass this Way Again” came to mind—put us in a wistful but grateful frame of mind.

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