I set out with only two tasks to complete: (1) exchange my Bangladeshi Taka for US dollars, which I needed to pay for a Nepali Visa, and (2) find some fuel for my camping stove. It was five hours before I was done. I should have known things wouldn’t go smoothly – it’s India after all. Firstly, I walked to an address I had for a money changer, only to find it wasn’t there. I wandered around randomly until I came across another money changer. I took note of the rates on offer, but was perturbed by the way the guy seemed to pluck the rates from his head. I decided to suss out the rates elsewhere to make sure I wouldn’t get cheated. I walked around for a very long time trying to find other money exchange offices. I finally found a street with several money changers, but all refused to accept Bangladeshi Taka. I realised I would have to return to the first place. By then I had learnt enough to know that the rate being offered to exchange taka for rupees was okay, but that if I wanted to get US dollars, then the exchange would see me losing about AU$15. I decided to utilise the services of two money changers. I returned to the first office, where I changed the taka for rupees. Then I took the rupees to another office, where I changed them for US dollars (they only had $100 bills, so first I had to return home to pick up more rupees so I had enough to secure US$100).

While searching for money changers, I had stopped in at half a dozen hardware/paint/medical stores to find methylated spirits for my stove. I couldn’t find any and I suspect there is no such thing in India. My back up plan was to use my multi-fuel burner instead of my metho burner. The multi-fuel burner allows me to use a range of fuel, including petrol, diesel, kerosene, white spirit and gas. I decided to search for some kerosene. Upon asking several locals about where I could find some, I was directed to the local street market where I eventually found a shop with a big barrel of kerosene. I downed the water I was carrying so I had an empty bottle to fill. Half a litre cost me 20r.

When I was done. I returned home and stuffed my face with biscuits (some of the ones Sumon’s mum had gifted me) and bananas and apples (bought at the market yesterday). Then I plonked myself in bed and flicked between movie channels. I am writing this while in a restaurant, having just squeezed a feast into my belly. A bit of fattening will do me good as I plan to do a bit of wild camping in Nepal so will soon be relying on simple food again.

Day 573 (pic)

Hijra

Accommodation $ Hotel
Distance ridden today 0km
Total distance ridden 15,050km