Sunday, January 7, 2007

Pubescent Petrol

I must say, this experience rivals most that I've had in the last 24 months and to even think about where to begin hurts my branium. We had so many interesting and dangerous things happen to us in that crazy eight day stretch that it is difficult to pull them apart into digestible chunks of entertaining reading, and honestly, the lack of sleep has caused some experiences to be permanently forgotten (like the time we found a freaking pubic hair in our gas tank) but thankfully there were two men here and together we can hopefully weave together something that loosely resembles and adventurous tale.
Having set off last from the starting gate gave us no opportunity to make any alliances so from the get go we were on our own, and truly, we would have it no other way. Like wolves of the Steppes we carried on through many a nights with only the comfort of a single sleeping bag and Iron Maiden's Run To The Hills to keep us company. At nightfall we would repeat the mantra of "only twelve hours till dawn" and at dawn "only twelve hours before we start freezing our arses off again." I specifically remember our first experience driving through the night in an attempt to make up time and blow the doors off Captain Chaos and his Calamity Crew. It was nearly dawn and we had just gotten up from a two hour nap in the dirt in front of a petrol pump. My partner was obviously still delirious from the twenty two hour stretch that we had just put in so I took the helm as the sun was just starting to shed some light onto national highway 5. Now, as many of you know the roads of India are iffy at best and at most times downright shitty but this particular stretch was absolutely pristine. I thought to myself "finally" and throttled Mr. Higgins to where he was chewing up highway so smoothly that Jake was in the back sleeping like a baby. Having properly run the new engine in for nearly four days our little hummer was cooking down the road at a gingerly 60kph as we blew through a totally vacant toll booth. It was at this point that I noticed a suspicious lack of road traffic, particularly the massive TATA trucks that you spend most of the day and night dodging to save your hide. At that point though I could have cared less as we hadn't seen a decent stretch of tarmac for what seemed like several lifetimes. Carelessly I gunned Higgins even harder to see what the old boy was really made of. The new morning and beautifully vacant roadway gave me a brilliant false sense of security that had me rocking to the tunes and getting excited about the finish line. It was about 30 seconds later that I looked ahead and saw what most expected Columbus to see in his search for the new world. I have no idea how it snuck up on me so quickly but I soon realized that I was about to take Mr. Higgins for his first flying lesson. I put the break down to the floorboard and locked up the wheels which quickly put us into a rear skid, milliseconds later the back end broke loose and began to turn us sideways which knocked Jake out of his stupor in the back. What he must have been thinking as he cracked through the eye crust I imagine to be something like "Tell mom I love her..." Reacting purely from instincts and drawing on several past lives as a Hollywood stunt driver I decided that going off the end of the earth in a sideways power slide was a real bad idea, so I said a little prayer to Shiva, released the brake and closed my eyes as we zipped off into the abyss at top speed. A moment of weightlessness and a huge crash landing later I lifted my lids to find us sitting in a pile of dirt and hay (with the engine miraculously still running and unharmed) surrounded by several very confused farmers who kindly pointed us in the right direction back to the highway. I looked back to a stunned, but thankfully, intact passenger to proclaim that to be "My one fuckup for the day" of which normally we were allotted two but somehow I think that counted for both.

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