Touchdown Delhi. Oppressive heat, jet lag, crowded streets. Camera and expedition gear aside, thankfully my personal luggage is light. Everything I wear from here on out has to be multi-purpose and my Royal Robbins clothing is going to see me through the next 3,000 miles of filming and traveling.
Four days here and a lot to accomplish – I’ll be meeting my motorcycle for the first time. The one that’s going to see me over the world’s highest mountain passes, rough roads, and Himalayan travel. Mr. Lalli Singh, the widely-regarded man-to-see-in-India if you require a Royal Enfield motorcycle has been my fixer. He and his team have refurbished a 1980s-era Royal Enfield Bullet bike for me to ride on the expedition. I’m meeting them for a 2-day mechanics course that will supposedly ensure I’m not a complete idiot when the inevitable breakdown happens.
As with everything in India, I don’t know what to expect when I arrive at Lalli’s shop, but I’m immediately reassured by his presence and the efficient bustle and cleanliness of his operation. Lalli has the demeanor of a kindly, very interested distant relative who’s happy to see you after all these years. He looks distinguished in his turban and his smile and genuine warmth make me feel right at ease. I needn’t have worried about previous email black holes and delayed communications…it’s just India apparently and Lalli’s the Man. His boys have done a magnificent job laying out the bike, the tools, and the instruction…all is ready for filming.