Whole idea is to do a survey the full length of the Yamuna and Ganges river from Delhi to Calcutta (Kolkata) for an electric boat trip in October as a part of the clean up the rivers campaign.
Anyhow, I bought by remote control a $1,000 Mahindra Ambassador taxi that I and Terry O;Neil, an old army mate, will use for about 1,700 km drive over 3 weeks.
Suddenly get a call from the Indian Electric Vehicle Association. They have an experimental kit they have developed to use the Ambassador as a test bed for their latest technology. They want to rip the engine out of my Ambassador and have it ready to go electronically by the weekend. Sounds like great fun so I said go ahead.
I don't have great confidence in their timing so have a second diesel Ambassador on standby to fill the gap if they fall over. I have absolutely no idea how we are going to charge along the way but they keep saying "just off the mains". The whole thing has the potential for an hilarious string of disasters but whatever happens, not much money is involved and I will have a better Xmas holiday than anyone I know.
India is one of the leading electric vehicle development countries with several on the market already including tuk-tuks and small delivery trucks. They are all designed from the ground up with world leading technology. What we are doing is sticking a highly advanced brushless motor in a 65 year old design, ripping the back seats out to carry batteries and doing the first test run on a Brisbane-to-Melbourne drive.
It is like putting a computer chip in an abacus or shoving a battery up a horse's bum.
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20 people shot by police in Delhi over the weekend. People rioting about new laws that offer citizenship to any immigrants except Muslims.
Lucknow, down the road where my car is, has been deliberately cut off the internet for 4 days. Trying to finalise arrangements with a bloke over the phone who only speaks Hindlish. I will either have a brand new Rolls-Royce or a battered bicycle waiting for me on Friday!!!!!
Enjoy yourself Lang but be extra vigilant when driving as you are no doubt fully aware that the driving 'skills' of other aiming wheel attendants leaves a lot to be desired plus there are the pedestrians that have no idea of self preservation and so on and so forth. But the potential is there for a very enjoyable safari with 'highlights' around every corner. Jeez, the shit that I used to see driving in Africa- those that have never been there don't believe what I tell them at times. I'd reckon this page is going to be very entertaining with your experiences to come. Have a cracking time Lang and travel safely.
Lang, the cook reckons, who happens to be a nurse practitioner in travel medicine, hopes you have got your vaccines organized e.g hep A typhoid, tetanus diphtheria and whooping cough and even a pneumonia vaccine would not go a stray. Malaria medication would be a good idea, as would mossie repellent. Of course rabies is a risk so don't go patting any animals. Hope you have some antibiotics in case you start pissing out of your arse. What a terrific trip, lucky I only told the cook today other wise she would have come over as a co pilot . Bit intense eh but I figure you'd have done your homework and are happy with your preparations. Again,travel safe Lang
This is about my tenth long term trip to India. Other than the triple (Hep A, Diphtheria, Japanese Encephalitis) that's about it.
I love those little hepatitis carts on the street and have at least one meal a day from them. Don't drink tap water but know full well half the bottled water comes out of the tap. At least beer is brewed sterile. Always carry the killer antibiotics but never needed them. Always a first time.
I am very keen to hear how the Mahindra Ambassador (1956 Morris Oxford) ex taxi performs. I would also like to hear how they go getting the electrikery working and find out how to charge it. Lang, maybe you should buy a petrol powered generator when you get there!
By the way, one Morris enthusiast, not me, has imported an Ambassador. I expect to see it at Easter.
I have my shoulder to the wheel,
my nose to the grindstone,
I've put my best foot forward,
I've put my back into it,
I'm gritting my teeth,