Some of the things we saw from the car: sugar cane fields, brahma bulls with painted horns pulling carts piled high with sugar cane, a little boy stealing a piece of sugar cane off a carrier truck at a stop light, goats crossing the street, countless dogs, cotton fields & cotton processing factories, barren landscape, lush landscape, palm trees, camels, papaya trees, women with giant loads balanced on their heads, little girls learning to balance smaller loads on their smaller heads, white bulls with bright pink coloring on them (why?), markets, a Christian cemetary, a Muslim cemetary, mosques and temples, brightly colored & decorated "Goods Carrier" trucks... and so much more. From the back seat of the car, it's like watching live-action television.
Here are a few pictures that I snapped out the back window to share with you...
This picture shows some of the great variety of what you might find on an Indian highway: two-wheelers (almost always with AT LEAST two people on them), tractors, goods carriers... all just passing each other at will. The fluid dynamics of traffic here are fascinating, and at times frightening. A two-lane road becomes a three-lane road, becomes a one-way road with three lanes - and then quickly a three-lane road in the other direction. We did see a few crashed vehicles on the side of the road unfortunately, but it's no small miracle that we didn't see many more. It often feels a bit like a game of chicken, and generally you are relying on the assumption that the people coming right at you on the wrong side of the road share a will to live and will take any necessary precautions to stay alive. It's quite an experience!
These fellas spotted a car full foreign ladies and couldn't contain themselves. They were driving behind us, waving and smiling... it was all good fun. I love this picture! From my vantage point in the way back, I saw so many people driving on their "two-wheelers." Very often you see whole families - the man driving, the women sitting side saddle (often holding an infant), and the small children standing on the foot board up front. No helmets in sight! It's quite terrifying from a safety angle, but very sweet otherwise. I also noticed many handsome, modern western-dressed fellows wearing sunglasses and driving nice motorcycles - who very often had their bindi marking on their brow. A lovely blend of modernity, machismo, tradition, and religion.
See how fun a road trip can be??