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South Indian Tuk-Tuk Challenge: The "Mini" Challenge

Nov 11, 2010

11 November at approximately 4:30 pm - At the end of orientation and after we agreed to be on the road by 7 am the next morning, Aravind, our organizer, asks everyone if they are up for an 18 km (each way) mini challenge. Standing out there in the pouring rain, everyone immediately threw up their arms and shouted "Yes!!!"

My team mate, Guy, noticed I was standing there incredulous with my mouth agape. He quietly let me off the hook, and joined Kagan and Paul for the quest.

While I slumbered in a deep jetlag-induced sleep, Paul, Guy and Kagan spent 2-1/2 hours getting thoroughly lost and soaked. Still, Kagan got some good practice at closing his eyes and gunning his rickshaw through 5 lanes of buses, cars, bicycles and pedestrians. This is apparently a worthwhile skill when driving a rickshaw, and I seem to be behind already.

Eddie and Henry also gave up after and were back at the hotel after 3 hours.

Rob and Trang did finally find the place, and it took them 2-1/2 hours. They found manuevering around 5 lanes of traffic in 3 lanes of road "challenging." And as the rain poured down on them the infamous manual windshield wiper did not seem to do much. When they mentioned it did not work to the repairman, he quickly fixed it by grabbing the wiper and ripping it right off. So, Rob and Trang simply drove back without one. No worries, it was useless anyway.

Mark and Eddie turned up five minutes later. On the way back, they missed their turn and went 30 kms out of the way. Getting back around 10 pm.

Xavier and Karen got there third only after discovering the road Aravind gave us was not the same as where the destination resided. I suppose that is part of the challenge.

Ed and Roger rounded up the folks who actually made it to the destination. These four teams then headed back together. Unfortunately, Ed and Roger did not get back until 11 pm... it only took 6-1/2 hours to go a total of 36 kms. Everyone knows that the tuk tuk breaks down every 5 minutes, and only takes 2 minutes to fix. In this particular case, however, the fuel line ruptured and fuel was spewing out. Nonchalantly, Roger kept smoking until someone prudently pointed out he should put out his cigarette.

And now we depart for the real challenge. It is only 240 kilometers to our destination.