The end of the tuk-tuk adventure?

a guy repairing our rickshaws broken clutch wires

The end of the tuk-tuk adventure?

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, there was nobody there.

Being lost…

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.

The laid back garden of the Lost Hostel in Varkala

Front view on our favorite hostel - The Lost Hostel in Varkala

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.

A boat lying at the beach in Varkala

The beach in Varkala with its cliffs and some tourists

Long time exposure of waves, making them look like clouds

Water looking like mist during the sunset in Varkala

Varkala Beach during sunset

Air bubbling up through wet sand reflecting the sunset

Wave rushing towards a stone at the beach

Varkala cliff at the late evening in orange light

A silhouette and a wave rushing over the shore at night in Varkala

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…

The inner parts and gears of our broken engine

A bit of a broken part sticking out of the inner gears inside our rickshaw motor

The mechanic repairing our tub-tuk having a look at the gears

Asaf our translating rickshaw driver friend playing with his mimics

The hands of our mechanics fiddling around inside of the rickshaw motor

Rickshaw-driver Asaf putting on his disbeliever face

Velapan, our mechanic, putting his arm around one of his fellow rickshaw drivers

Velapan, our mechanic, putting his arm around his best friend

Asaf, a rickshaw-driver, smoking his cigarette

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.

stone covered in algae with the sea in the background

turquoise wave hitting a beautiful pristine yellow sand beach

A friend of ours taking some shots of the beautiful beach

wave splashing on a rock covered in algae

boy being proud about his bicycle

Man wearing a shirt the same color his house is painted in

inside of an shipwreck with sunlight shining through a hole in the ceiling illuminating the half flooded gangway

People walking in front of an old shipwreck washed ashore

fishermen sorting their nets after they returned in the evening

fishermen sorting their nets after they returned in the evening

Fisherman getting his share of the daily catch smiling happy and content

Fish inside a fisher boat during the sunset

Sunset on the way to Kollam beach

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.


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