Today I succeeded in making myself a security concern at a big mall. I’d woken up 7.30am to check out of the useless hotel I found myself in last night and cast myself into the unknown with a rough plan. My first requirement was food, to compensate for the shitty free breakfast provided by the hotel after I woke up the hotel manager, who was sleeping in the lobby. I found Subway and had two of the day’s 6-inch specials with a cookie and a drink. Full to the brim, I hoped I wouldn’t have to worry about food again until I’d sorted out my other business of the day.
My next step was to look at a few potential hotel options on my way to a café where free WIFI was available. I negotiated my way through major roads to the café and ordered a ridiculously expensive chocolate shake before discovering my phone wouldn’t connect to the internet. I desperately needed to check my email to see if I had been sent a map to the self-storage business I needed to visit, as well as whether I’d received a message from an Airbnb host. I went into a mobile phone store and asked if there was somewhere nearby I could access WIFI. In the end the kind manager let me use their WIFI. He even let me get an Airbnb verification code sent to his phone, given that I don’t have a working SIM. My email provided happiness – I received the exact location of the self-storage business, and I was able to book the Airbnb accommodation. The only trouble was this activity left me with a phone empty of battery power. I quickly scribbled down the details of each place and then set about finding the self-storage shop. I slowly made my way there with plenty of advice from locals along the way. In the end a Domino’s delivery driver led me right to it. I met the manager of the business and worked out that they had a good solution for my bicycle and luggage. I would put the bicycle in a shared space, and lock my bags inside a locker. While there, I charged my phone.
I then found my way to the mall I mentioned at the beginning, which is less than 1km away from my Airbnb accommodation. All I wanted was to quickly get some lunch, but when I parked my bike, the security guards wanted to inspect what I had on my bike. In fact, they wanted me to open every single bag and show them every single little item I had. The attention I got was way greater than any I’d received at any border or police checkpoint. I quickly realised it would take at least two hours, so I said I wouldn’t bother going into the mall. I packed up what I had emptied, then rode away to find my Airbnb home. My Airbnb accommodation is basically a mansion, complete with ‘servants’, one of which let me in. I dumped the luggage from my bike, then rode back to the mall to eat, thinking I’d be fine this time because I had no extra gear with the bike. This is when the real problems began.
As I got back to the mall it quickly became apparent I was going to be given a hard time. The security guards refused to let me park my bike in the designated bicycle parking area. Instead, I was forced to find a pole to lock it to away from the mall. I got frisked on my way into the mall and then when I reached the top of the escalator to the food court, I was stopped by three security guards who blocked my way. One was the security manager. He asked me what I wanted. I said, “Lunch” and basically had to push my way past them. One security guard kept an eye on me while I ate. When I went to leave, I was accosted again. A security guard handed me a phone, at the end of which was the security boss. I could hardly hear what he was saying, so I interrupted him and told him I was leaving the mall now. I think he told me to wait for him, but rather than do this, I simply walked out and returned home.
At home I set about organising all of my gear, making piles depending on what needed washing, what needed repairing, what I was taking home to Australia, and what I was leaving in India. I then rested through the evening until my host arrived home from work. I met him and his girlfriend, and a bit later I also met his mother, brother and sister. I joined Hitesh and his girlfriend Sim out for dinner and drink at a whiskey bar. It felt like a total splurge, but I couldn’t complain – partly because I can’t be super stingy every day of my life, and partly because the family are going to save me money by letting me store my things at their house rather than use the self-storage business I’d visited earlier today.
|Accommodation||$ Airbnb home|
|Distance ridden today||7.84km|
|Average cycling speed||14.9kph|
|Total distance ridden||17,908km|