Leo and Nelly pushed on ahead with an early start but the other three, sat in relative luxury, were determined to enjoy a hearty breakfast in pleasant surroundings in the knowledge that they had time in the bag… or so they thought. We met a group of Canadians who had been in country for some time doing aerial mapping for survey companies, quite a cool job one might think. However, they seemed somewhat in awe of our feats and we found it particularly amusing when they announced that, even in a 4x4 you can’t really do more than about 180km a day on Indian roads – anyone remember that 500km epic? It did serve as an amusing reminder as to how insane this trip is. As Leo and Nelly pushed on to the destination for the evening, Purnia, we set about escape from Patna, which was no mean feat. The rickshaws in patna are a slightly larger breed than our furry companions and they are all wrapped in steel bumper cages. Na took no notice of this and the Tiger unleashed hell on one of the larger foes. She succeeded in peeling off one of the steel bumpers before pressing on in to the melee – strong work.We weren't done there though. A few minor bumps later Dickie took the Tiger across and innocent motorcyclists foot. He looked a little shocked!
We finally escaped on to the open roads and in to bandit country once again. The air was dry and dusty, the roads shockingly bad and the atmosphere less than friendly. The girls grew increasingly tired of the staring and excessive in-your-face attention and the miles ticked over slowly as we traversed one of the poorest parts of India, then fortunes changed a little. In an incredibly short space of time the arid desert gave way to an ever-greener landscape. Tea plantations, banana trees and lush meadows welcomed us in to the North Indian tropics and the cooler, moist air brought a smile to our faces. Unfortunately, it couldn’t make our tuk-tuks go any faster and the inevitable happened. Yet again, we faced the night for the final stretch. Nelly and Leo had established us in the delightful Hotel Sanjay. The place came with pet lizards and a free cockroach in the curry (plus a few more in the rooms) so several of us opted for ration packs instead. The Hattersley boys had fallen foul of the dreaded Delhi belly and retired early for the night whilst plans for the next day were discussed before bed.