New Delhi (India), 22.07.2013
The next morning after visiting the Ganges in Varanasi, we took a plane with Spice Jet to New Delhi, hoping to reach the city shortly after our car. While flying over India, as long as there were no clouds we noted that on the ground there seemed to be not a slice of land without cultivation, buildings, roads – occupied by man in some form. We arrived at our hotel after lunch, and waited for a call from Land Rover. The car was still not with the service center. We spent the day relaxing, organizing things, internetting, trying to plan next steps. The car reached New Delhi finally after over 60 hours of transport on the following day, and we kept waiting for news. Another day went by, waiting, chilling, reading, writing. The weather was pretty bad: hot, smoggy grey sky, rain in the afternoon. Once it poured down so heavily that there was almost half a meter of water on the streets. These showers lasted not too long, but kept the air humid.
On saturday we finally learned that the engine of our car was broken, for an unknown reason. The service center told us that next week they wanted to take the engine out of the car to check it properly, but that it would very likely have to be replaced. Since we drive a European model, the engine needed to be shipped from the UK. This would take some three weeks probably. Panic! Suddenly everything had changed. Four weeks to repair the car plus another month to ship it to Russia meant that the start of the drive back to Europe would begin only at the end of September, too late for good weather all along the way. And if we decided to do this, it would mean to race through Siberia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan and probably skip Moscow all together due to the Russian winter kicking in. We thought about our options. Ship the car to Europe and cancel the trip: giving up was not our favorite. Ship this car to Europe, get another car that gives less trouble and ship it to Asia, and continue: the expensive and crazy solution. Fix the car, ship it ASAP and hope the winter would not be too much of a problem: the sensible but uncertain possibility. In Italian they say “there is no two without three”, and we had two breakdowns so far. What if the third one hit us in the wilderness of Siberia, the Gobi desert or in the middle of lake Aral? We started to check weather maps of Siberia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, calculated road distances again. Checked the calendar, week by week, to calculate the time to and from Vladivostok. The mood was down.
On Sunday we had to change hotels and found a room across the street. One more day of waiting, planning, calculating, thinking. Since it was clear that we would travel by air in the near future we bought trolleys and packed the things we needed for some weeks in Southeast Asia. The rest of our stuff we packed to leave it in the car. On Monday we got all excess baggage in a black and yellow cab and drove to the service center at lunchtime. As we went to check the car we learned the engine had miraculously stopped making loud noises and was running again, with new injectors. It was still shaking a bit, but it ran. So maybe no engine change after all? We’ll find out in a couple of days. More checks are needed. And this roller coaster of statuses and the constant new plans drives us crazy, while we sit in posh hotels with aircon and bad weather outside.
So this is what happened during these last days. Not much, true. And if you think it was a little boring to read this post compared to previous ones, imagine how exciting it has been for us to just sit and wait and do nothing. 😉
We have been on the road for over 3 months now. 28.400 km far away from home, we have crossed 21 countries. Helena and I spent all this time together, much of it very closely within the space of our car. The journey has seen all kinds of excitements, discoveries, adventures and surprises. Here in New Delhi, with the car broken down, we are now at a crossroads, not knowing if we will be able to keep on driving. There is nothing we can do at the moment and in any case there will be weeks to wait until the car reaches Russia. We have therefore decided to take a time off, traveling through Southeast Asia. We will do this separated, so that each of us has the needed time for himself. I will be back to New Delhi at some point to pick up the car. But we have no idea when this will be.
I will keep posting about the next stops I will do by myself in the coming weeks, with a ticket to Bangkok in my bag ready for takeoff.
No trip data this time