91 months ago

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- Route

Malda to Siliguri

Distance: 259.8 Km / 161.8 Mi Duration: 06:42:38


I stayed in Malda's best "Hotel Kalinga". Post Taj Bengal it was an experience of a lifetime - its called inner awakening. Poor guys tried to do everything for me so that my stay would be comfortable... like Giving me extra towels that were off-white due to wear & tear, spraying my room with the whole bottle of pungent Jasmine air freshener. Soon enough I was gasping for air, I smelled like a bouquet of Jasmine all through my ride.

The ride from Malda to Siliguri is the worst ride of this trip. The state roads of West Bengal are officially amongst the worst maintained roads on earth. The roads are mostly single lanes & due to plenty of trucks plying any given time there is always jams as we near cities or narrow bridges. In these traffic jams local goons band up together and collect "Chanda" or donations from every truck. They do not allow the truck to pass unless they pay up the money. Worse is that the local authorities turn a blind eye to this highway robbery. The audacity is they even give pre-printed receipt for the amount so that the drivers can reclaim the money. A crime (money taken by force) gets a legit receipt for expense occurred during travel is Brilliant ingenuity of the crime boss. For such audacious behavior to occur the local media are to blame as they do not make enough noise for it to be covered. I think it cannot be so blatant unless it has the blessing of powerful people whose identity is anybody's guess.

This was also the last stretch of flatlands that I will be riding. The hills have made their appearance in the horizon & from tomorrow the ride will an uphill task, pun intended. The last stretch of my ride from Bidhan Nagar to Bagdogra happened through tea gardens on either side, I felt like Tom Cruise going for a date with Kelly McGillis. (FYI : Bagdogra has an airbase and one can see many Air Force pilots in aviators around, none with my monster cruiser thou)

This morning the nip in the air lasted longer than yesterday. I still do not need to wear warm clothes but the onset of winter is apparent. The fog lasted longer & the visibility on the road was around 1.5 kms. In a month the fog will last longer and will be thicker and the average temperature will reduce by 10 degrees Celsius. Today I did not stop anywhere for either breakfast or lunch. Since I reached Siliguri at noon I had lunch at the hotel when I checked in.

Tomorrow I head for Gangtok in Sikkim, standby for the chilly experience.

Total distance covered today 254 kms Total Distance from Bombay 4710 kms

Tea plantations

Tea plantations

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