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Glossop to

...and back

obstruction on one carriageway. With one truck approaching from each direction, both came to a standstill, grill to grill. Neither would give way to the other. It took me five minutes to refocus through tear-filled eyes.

Trucks and cars overtake despite there being insufficient road space in front for them to complete their manoeuvre, causing the oncoming traffic to slow, and on many occasions, come to a complete and dangerous standstill.

On the few sections where dual carriageways existed, changing tyres on the outside lane was the norm, coupled with oncoming ox-and-cart traffic in the same lane.

Of all the sections of the journey from the UK so far, this part rates as the most painful. Six solid days of driving, accomplishing only a few hundred kilometres per day, is pure torture.

Apologies for the blurred picture, but this was taken left handed out of the moving truck's window. 100km west of Kolkata, a bus had failed to complete a full 360 degree roll, thus ending on its roof. Very inconvenient for its passengers.

The gathered crowd, numbered in their thousands, had assembled from everywhere. There was row upon row after row of neatly parked bicycles, and 2 miles of parked trucks along the highway.

And then I turned up. Within seconds, all heads were reorientated, and eyes refocused. There is little shelter from staring crowds in India.

An elephant and a truck. The elephant is on the left.

It's not all bad news though. NH2 is currently being uprated to a 4-lane dual carriageway. But before you all start clapping and cheering, there is a downside. While the world is busy constructing by-passes around villages, the new NH2 is following the same route as the old one, straight through little villages.

The result is already to be seen. Where dual carriageway exists, through the villages, the locals assemble their market stalls on this nice, flat, clean surface, graze their wandering cattle and goats on the verges, and drive the wrong way down the outside lane.

I suggest that future followers of this route nail a lump of Mogadon to their dashboard, biting chunks off it at regular intervals.

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Weeks 15 to 17 (continued)