[Continued from 30N 75E] We headed back on the road towards 31n 75E. By 1:45 pm we were on National Highway 15 passing through Bathinda, a city dominated by a very large thermal power plant. At about 2pm we got hungry and pulled off to a roadside dhaba, a sort of Indian version of a truck stop. Basically just a roof with some wooden cots and a cooking area, a dhaba is about as rustic as you can get, restaurant-wise. We rested a bit, had some food, then kept on going, eventually reaching the confluence point at 4:45 PM. It was actually possible to drive right up to the spot – a small dirt road for tractors took us straight there. We drove past it a bit so that the car wouldn’t dominate our photos, then walked around a bit to zero out our GPSes and take some panoramic shots. Again, like all three points (30N 75E,, 31N 75E, and 32N 75E) this was in a freshly-mowed wheat field. The nearest village is Zira, but we learned the hard way that it’s pronounced like “Jeera.” No one understood us when we asked for directions to Zeera!
By 6:45 we had pulled into Amritsar, home to the famous Golden Temple, and the place where we would be staying the night. We got caught in some early-evening traffic, but we made it to the Ranjit Svaasa heritage hotel before it was dark, had some dinner and got massages at the hotel spa – a nice end to a full day of driving!
…continued from 30 North 75 East
Please visit the write up for 30 North 75, East East to read about the revelation that spawned this sojourn.
31 North, 75 East sits about forty miles south of Amritsar, as the crow flies. It sits just a couple kilometers north of a little town called Zira, in the Punjab—the wheat growing region of India. After logging 30, 75, it was the early afternoon of 27 April, 2007. As Warren Apel, Sam Linker, and I drove north, we met up with Highway 15 at Bathinda, about twenty miles north of 30, 75. From here the road cut a winding path through a golden horizon of Punjabi wheat. When the next confluence point registered as perpendicular to our position on the main road, we searched for a way in, and one soon appeared. Cp hunting in this part of India is facilitated by the many roads, paths and tracks that are needed for tractors to plant and harvest. We jogged and bobbed only a bit before we found a well-traveled dirt road that led straight to the cp. In fact, the point sat directly on the road; we stopped the vehicle and almost did not have to open the door—Warren’s favorite kind of cp.
As we climbed out of the Qualis, we were immediately jabbed by the stench of decaying flesh. The mid-day heat intensified the rot of whatever animal had kicked it. While we did the cp dance necessary to zero out, a man approached on a motorcycle. Curious resident Baltez Singh told us that we were closest to the village of Maloke. While logging this cp, we also ran into an older couple on bike with a small child—presumably a grandchild. They had a ways to go to the next village and clearly found the heat oppressive. An iguana would’ve, for Pete’s sake. We gave the old woman and child a lift. The man indicated that he’d be fine on his 694 pound Hero bicycle. Conversation was sparse, but the two seemed friendly and appreciative for the lift.
As we approached the outskirts of Amritsar, we were hoping to grab a couple of beers to take to the guesthouse/spa where we would be staying. It was also about this time that the dhaba lunch (about which I wrote in 30, 75) decided to visit me again. As we pulled into the guest house, the Martian eggs earlier deposited my intestines began to hatch and soon even Sigourney Weaver would not be able to help. I underwent a thoroughly disappointing Ayurvedic massage (lots of oil, little pressure), pretended to eat the meal provided for me and passed out at 8:30 PM; I’d been driving for over fourteen hours. I was awoken at around midnight by my tireless comrades, jumping on my bed and doing the Dance Fever thing with the room’s nasty florescent lights. One of their finer moments, no doubt. Luckily, the Brits staying down the way shared their enthusiasm and occupied them while I did the potato bug, fetal position thing and began my vision quest into the mystical netherworld of E. Coli. The next morning I gave birth to alien quintuplets and immediately began killing the infestation with unhealthy doses of Ciprofloxacin. The recovery would take the better part of a week.
Continue onto 32 North, 75 East, if you dare.