Good Energy

The guys at Good Energy have been really supportive and excited about the expedition, so much so that they have made a contribution which allows me to keep the blog regularly updated during the expedition, so they and everyone else can follow the journey. Good Energy supplies 100% renewable electricity sourced from wind, water, sun and sustainable biomass. CO2 from coal-fired electricity generation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Switch your electricity supply to Good Energy using this link and not only will you be supporting the pioneering community of independent green generators, but for every sign up they get they’ll make another donation to help get the bus around the world. It helps you cut your personal CO2 emissions, helps them grow a great business, and helps me get round the world.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Pene al Pesto

I order Pene al Pesto in a restaurant and for the time between placing my order and receiving the food I am in heaven, tasting the delicious familiar flavours and textures in my head, and delighting in the satisfying feeling that follows the completion of the heavy carb dish.

Of course when the food comes there’s a rude awakening from my dreams, It’s hard to screw up Pene al Pesto, but the restaurant kitchen must be running a masterclass on just how many ways it can be done; floating in oil, cold and dried-out pasta, half peeled garlic cloves...

After 4 months here in India, I’m not expecting anything less. I only ordered Italian food so I could live the brief dream. I didn’t for a minute expect it to be fulfilled.

In so many ways India dashes my hopes and expectations, and screws up my plans and schedules. The endless court case delays and the spiralling legal fees, the tandem paragliding lessons which never really happened. Paying extra for the bus that doesn’t go as far, getting delivered to the wrong side of town by the rickshaw driver that speaks no English, removing the oil filter which can’t be found in India.

Three times I’ve visited Pushkar for the final time, only to find I have to return. My next final visit will be to collect my passport which will have my exit visa in it. I’m not currently allowed to leave the country. I had planned to collect the paperwork I needed from Ajmer and take it all back to Delhi and get the exit visa there. Instead they kept my passport and told me it won’t take more than a week. My brilliantly thought out plans shattered, I will now have to take the 18 hour return train journey to collect my passport and once again visit Pushkar.

But this time I was pretty quick to accept my fate. I tried to argue my corner but these guys were adamant, and I had the sense that they’d done it before, so a voice in my head (I think it was my sister’s) said just go with it.

On reflection it saves me from 2 days wrestling with the immigration officers mofos at Jaisalmere House and the FFRO office in Delhi. And I quite like the Indian trains, they’re cheap and I can write my blogs and eat the variety of low rent restaurant offerings.

After the trial I felt things were far from over, and getting congratulations from everyone about how well I’d coped with it all was an extra frustration. Now 3 weeks on, I’ve raised the money back which I spent, the journey can continue, I’ve got my bail money back and in a few days I’ll get my passport too (they say).

So now, I’m reflecting on how I’ve behaved in my moments of stress. People are fascinated when I tell them I was in a Rajasthani prison, Indians and foreigners alike. I think they are curious to know what it was like maybe because they’d like to muse about how they would cope. I’d thought about ending up in a foreign prison before and always imagined I’d keep my cool. When it happened, I didn’t. With hindsight I’ve got a better idea of who the good guys were and who the bad ones were, and I often directed my anger at people who were helping me and on my side. It’s a testament to them and the Indian character that they put up with me.

But even the “bad guys”, SP Tak and Capn Jatinder of the Military Intelligence, were scared by the events, scared of criticism and jeopardising their positions. None the less, through their fear they stayed courteous (if not dispassionate) which is more than I managed. I’m not particularly proud of the hissy fits I’ve thrown along the way.

In my defence this journey was motivated in part by my anti-establishment desire to escape authority in all its forms, and in India I’ve singularly failed to do that. So I suppose the moral of the story is, if you do end up in a Rajasthan prison through nothing more than bad luck, remember just because it’s not your fault, it’s not everybody else’s either and if you want good Pene al Pesto, go to Italy not India.

1 comment:

  1. My uncle rightly points out that Pene means Penis in Italian, and that I'd be better off asking for Penne al Pesto.

    Perhaps Pene al Pesto is a back room speciality of the Pushkar restaurant.


What do you think?