I am now only three days away from the start of the trip and things are beginning to hot up. My brother-in-law Mark has sent my passport from the UK today by FedEx so I should get it in time. This whole visa business has been fraught. The visa website by VSF is one of the more baffling I have come across and I might have been better sending my passport to another office than the London one. Any way, all's well that seems to end well and my visa is in my passport and my passport is on its way.
I have started to pack my bike bags and find them remarkably light at the moment. Maybe they will get heavier when I suddenly remember lots of things I can't do without for a month. The Kindle is coming with me and is a lot lighter than the usual books. The only problem is that the guide book is less easy to use. So I suppose it doesn't matter that they don't even mention where I am going. The direct route from Hyderabad to Kolkata goes through the south of Chhattisgarh, western Orissa and then West Bengal. There are some interesting tribal regions to cross and a few sights to visit but for the most part it is virgin territory for the Lonely Planet + Rough Guide. Non of this matters, as I am not going to tick off the sights but to try and re-live my last bike trip in India 20 years ago. Recent visits have shown how fast urban India is changing and I must admit to a certain nostalgia for more sleepy rurality. We shall see. And as my ever tollerant wife Angie says "we shall see how your temper handles things".