Our motor broke in Varkala, a few hundred meters in front of the hotel. We feared that our tuk tuk adventure would end before it had even begun…
After we spent a whole day driving around on the streets of India we tried to find our hotel. The problem was that Google Maps did not display the right place but we followed the directions down a steep hill nonetheless. Once we discovered that this location was complete garbage we needed to go back up this exact hill again. With a rickshaw that had a whole day with lots and I mean LOTS of driving behind it this was a rather bad idea.
Killing a rickshaw motor.
The thing that gave our motor the rest, was the other tuk tuk driver, who wanted to show us the way, stopping in front of us just on top of the hill though. In doing so, he stole all our speed and there we were: Standing on a steep hill, trying to get our rickshaw up onto it. One was outside and tried to assist the motor with all the muscle force he could bring up. While the other one was cranking up the engine to its fullest. Switching from neutral, to first, to second gear and back.
The motor was roaring and soaring under the hut, overwhelming the sound of everything else. Somehow we managed to get the car up the hill, but there the motor stopped working. We could not even turn the clutch gear anymore. So we went on by foot, pushing the rickshaw along like a little trolley. It was quite funny because those vehicles are actually quite light. Thus they are quite easy to roll around (if there is no slope in the street). Once we found our hotel by asking local after local, we stood in front of a closed entrance. Even though we booked earlier this day and got a positive reply from booking.com, there was nobody there.
Luckily we found another place to sleep one house next to the one we had booked. This very hostel was the one we did not book earlier because the price was a little bit higher. We thought it was another funny coincidence: we, lost, without hotel and a broken car. Shortly after we checked into the Lost Hostel, for an unknown amount of time.
We had no clue when or even if the mechanics could repair our motor at all. Could we have been more lost? Next day came and we got good news, about the motor, after we brought it to a local repair shop. A big stone fell from our hearts… the problem was repairable even though it cost us a little fortune and some time. But the estimates of the mechanics sounded reasonable. So we agreed to stay in Varkala for a little longer. We had checked out the cliffs already the night before and I even went bathing. By the day they were much more beautiful though.
Add to this the magical atmosphere of our hostel and you might understand that we did not mind spending some time here. We cooked twice a day, slept in a one person tent, played lots of Carrom and talked to a plethora of wonderful people.
Taking apart the engine.
On top of that, we spent quite some time at the workshop, watching the mechanic repairing the motor of our tuk-tuk. The dynamic between him and his rickshaw driver friends, who helped in translating our English, was hilarious to see. So we ended up spending some hours laughing together with them, joking about our rickshaw. It shocked us when he opened the motor and removed some broken bits and parts though. None of them belonged inside the motor. Our jaws dropped even further when he told us that our engine could have very well exploded. I guess we were still quite lucky in the end that we still continued our tuk tuk adventure…
A last little test drive.
By the time, when we started to feel at home in the Lost Hostel, we got informed that our rickshaw was up and running again. So we went for a little test drive to the closeby Kollam Beach, with one of our friends from the hostel. We stopped at beautiful beaches and a shipwreck on our way and had lots of fun.
Except for yet another clutch wire break, everything worked out fine. Which lead us to our decision to continue our tuk-tuk adventure to Alappuzha, also called Alleppey, the very next day.