Sivu 28

A temporary ferry replaces an out-of-order bridge. the Kama Sutra carved into the temple's walls have served as a guidebook for inexperienced youths for centuries. Back to the present, and as we approach an intersection, it brings to mind a full-scale riot. We're not sure which way to turn, so we decide to play it safe and ask for directions. In many countries, one might not be advised to bother a police officer who is directing traffic in the middle of a busy intersection ­ especially if you do not have a valid driving license in your pocket. However this friendly Puri policeman is happy to guide us on our way. We soon realise that the only way to survive Indian traffic is to drive like the locals. You have to honk your horn as much as possible ­ even though it does not seem to have any effect on others on the road, it does make you feel slightly safer. You should also drive shamelessly in the oncoming traffic lane, if others are doing so. And the best way to detect the speed bumps installed in small villages is to drive right behind someone else. After a few hours we begin to feel comfortable enough on the roads that we can begin 28 BLUE WINGS MARCH 2008 to look around at the landscapes. Little hamlets, birds dancing around water buffaloes as they drag ploughs through rice fields, ponds ornamented with pink lotus blossoms and colourful temples all rush by. Outside one temple, a crowd of singing people block our path, asking for a donation. For ten rupees (about 20 cents) our Jagannath is blessed and a red tika symbol is drawn on its headlamp. This blessing seems to work perfectly: after a couple kilometres of hellishly potholed dirt road, suddenly we are on a smooth motorway, and Jagannath begins to eat up the kilometres. We begin to feel as if we are on a German autobahn, until a rainbow-coloured lorry rushing toward us in our lane jolts us back to the Orissan reality. The further we drive, the more the highway changes. At times it is hidden under haystacks, and another time turns into a vegetable market. As the sun begins to set, we arrive in Berhampur. The polite hotel receptionist tries to suppress a smile on seeing our faces, which have been marinated in road dust. DAYS 2-3: BERHAMPUR ­ KORAPUT This unpredictable highway demands complete attention. From the back seat, I can admire the picture-perfect little villages, while our photographer-driver concentrates on negotiating our way between the horns of a hundred-strong cattle herd. As the

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