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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Rider Mania 2014: A Trip to India

Yes, indeed, this year I decided to join my friend +Javier Honrubia who was going to Goa for Royal Enfield's Rider Mania 2014 before working a few days in Kolhapur.
I found a great flight on Emirates, a fantastic airlines that treats even economy as in the good old days of pre-low-cost flying. Thanks Emirates for renewing my faith in airplanes!



How kind of them!


2. ARRIVE IN BANGALORE
My hotel, the Goldfinch on Crescent Road, is a 4-star hotel that cost me 4999 rupees, I think. That's about 65 euros. It was really very nice. They upgraded me to a superior executive room which had a bathroom as big as Ohio.


Room at the Goldfinch Hotel, Bangalore

Once settled in, I what sapped my virtual biker friend Rudra Raaven Mahanti, who came over to meet up with me on Bholu, his trusty Royal Enfield. We ended up having lunch there, and a good lunch it was, too. He taught me how to eat biriyani with my fingers!

Hey, Rudra!
He then took me around to a couple Royal Enfield showrooms, this one not far from the hotel.









 We then went to his apartment to switch bikes: he wanted to show me his new acquisition: Lambu, a 535-cc version that is pretty unique.
 A stop for a snack: grilled kebabs. Yum!

 We went out for a beer at a trendy micro-brewery where we actually had to wait for a table. Then he drove me back to the hotel, through the Bangalore late evening traffic jams. Amazing. I was very glad not to be driving.

I chose an Indian breakfast at the hotel: idles and sambar and stuff. Very nice indeed.
 Then I was off to the airport again to fly to Goa.
But first, a bit of lunch at the 24hr Tiffin Restaurant. They served me this fantastic thali for 300 rupees. Very yum!
 I took a cab (a beat up non a/c moto rickshaw) from the airport in Goa to Colva, where I spent a night. This hotel was much cheaper and family basic, but was more than adequate and was right on the beach.
 It had no wifi, though, which was a problem because I had promised to meet another Royal Enfield online buddy, +saif nalband , at a place called Mickey's. So I wandered up the beach and asked some guys and they took me to it, where Saif came and rescued me from too much beer ;-)
The cooks were just starting to make the flatbread in the coal oven.


 Said then drove me on his new 500cc Desert Storm Royal Enfield to a really nice restaurant a few km further north, but still in South Goa. We had some nice Goan fish curry and rice. It wasn't nearly as spicy hot as I remembered.


The one on the left is a cool dude. The bald guy, where did he come from? hehehe

 The next morning, bright and early, I took a long walk into the countryside while it was still cool out.



It was cool to see the beautiful old Portuguese colonial villas still there, some lovingly fixed up, some a bit down on their luck. But all showed a quality of life that is hard to beat in India.









I think I'll stay here next time. It looked nice. The Skylark Resort, Colva Beach.

I then had some breakfast and my driver showed up to take me to Vagator Beach, in North Goa, where Javier was zonked out at our bungalow (he had just arrived at 3am from Qatar).


 3. VAGATOR BEACH, GOA. Rider Mania 2014
First things first. A Kingfisher.



 And now for some lunch on the way on foot to the event: a Greek restaurant that was actually really good.





As you can see, a light snack.

So on we walked, about 3 blocks, to the event.










A golden bullet!


Hardship at the hotel

Goa. My kinda place!

Night shopping!

G&T's before bed








Our cabin

Neighbors

Breakfast!



After breakfast we went for a swim on the beach. Very nice!




Pomfret, my favorite fish!
 We then had to check out. The driver arrived to take us to Kolhapur, a 5 hour journey up over some mountains.

My reward. 

Next part: Kolhapur and Pune and back to Bangalore. Coming soon!