The Crash of the Kingfisher
What to do on our first Saturday night? With this question in mind we headed over to Tara and Nikky’s to take advantage of an offer for ayurvedic massages (how could we resist?). After being stepped on and kneaded for a solid half hour, it probably sounded like an orgy was going on to anyone outside, we decided to fire up the ponies and bike around town to see what’s good. With Tara on the back of my bike and Nikky on the back of Gabe’s, we headed up north to explore the unknown.
After riding around for a while, we decided to turn down a nondescript road that was supposed to lead to a fort. As we passed by a shabby outdoor bar, we held true to Nikky’s request that we stop at the first bar we come across. After downing some Kingfishers (one of the only two brands of beer in India along with Tuborg, both are lagers with a light body and light yellow color, not sure about the alcohol content as the label just says ‘less than 5% abv’) and laughing the night away, we were about ready to leave and see what this fort had to offer.
That’s when a bunch of locals started rolling up with handles of alcohol in each hand, so naturally we decided to stick around. It turns out it was a local named Sushine’s 28th birthday, and Sushine and his friends enthusiastically invited us to join the celebration. Downing mixed drinks, which we later realized were half whisky half coke in full pint glasses, we jumped around hooting and hollering with the locals. When they brought out a cake that said “Fuck you Sushine!”, we may have told the Indians it was customary in America to smash the cake in the birthday boy’s face, which they promptly did. Everyone had an awesome time dancing to modern electronic music and throwing remnants of cake and icing at one another. As we prepared to leave, Sushine thanked us for partying with his crew and bid us farewell, all the while licking chocolate icing off his nose.
In the dark of the night we headed back towards home. Gazing skyward the stars and moon moved along with us as the trees zoomed by in our peripheral vision. Unfortunately, the light on the scooter only works when accelerating and then only provides about 15 feet of visibility. Driving along with such a high from the pure joy of the night so far, there was a definite feeling of vitality as we drove up and down mountains, swerving around cows making their nightly migration and dogs sleeping in the middle of the road.
That’s when we rounded a corner going down a particularly steep hill and the shoddy headlights dimly lit up a warning sign for a big turn coming up. Squeezing the handbrakes we slowed down to about 40-45kmh and tried desperate to lean into the lefthand turn. Halfway through the turn, I realized that we were not going to pull this turn off (especially with a very wobbly Tara on the back). A few more degrees sharper of a turn, or kilometers per hour slower, and we would have been home free with just an adrenaline rush to remember the ride by.
As we hit the edge of the road, the bike slid out from underneath of us and the next thing I knew I was laying prone in a thicket of thorns next to the road. My first instinct was to find my sandals which I assumed had flown off due to the impact. Struggling amongst the thorns to get to my feet to initiate my search I realized that I hadn’t worn shoes for days and they were back in my room. Don’t ask me why my first instinct was to think about my shoes, but I was extremely relieved to realize that I didn’t have to go on what would have probably been a lifelong search to find a pair of size 13’s in India.
Gabe and Nikky strolled up, and seeing myself and Tara sprawled amongst the thorns, immediately started laughing like the good friends that they are. After a quick inspection, realizing that the bike still worked and nobody needed to go the hospital, we set back out on the bikes headed towards Agonda. Driving much more cautiously, (a crash will sober you up real quick), we made our way to Agonda and were almost back to the girls place when lightning struck twice.
About half a kilometer from the girls place, a herd of cows had caused a temporary roadblock. At this point I was driving half the time with one hand steering and one hand holding Tara’s drunk ass from falling off. After much horn blowing, the cows made a small clearing. Passing through, Tara suddenly looked to the left and seeing the cows exclaimed “Oh Shit!” and threw her body weight all the way to the right, tipping the bike over again for the slowest bike crash ever. Exasperated, I re-righted the bike and was able to get Tara home with no more calamities.
The next morning we grabbed breakfast, laughing while recounting the previous night. The damage to the bike cost a little under $80 and I suffered about 80 superficial scratches from the goddamn thorn bush (really, it couldn’t have been sand or good old fashioned grass?) making it look like I spent the night wrestling baby tigers. I also suffered two cracked ribs where my left side took the brunt of the impact and Tara had some scratches and a sore wrist for a week.
So let this be a lesson to anyone motorbiking in India, it can be waaay too much fun… but it can also be a bitch when you wind up in a thorn ditch.