Our next task is to register at the Rickshaw Run headquarters, check out our rickshaw, and figure out how to pimp it out. We need to find our favorite god(s) to watch over us while we drive and generally make our rickshaw as fun and ridiculous as possible. While searching for a phone store, we passed a multitude of clothing and whatnot stores. We saw shops with silk flowers, woven baskets, colorful fabrics, and Hindu and Buddhist statues.
We intended to walk to the HQ, but without our phones to guide us we were clueless on where to go. We walked to the center of the Police Bazar (the area our hotel is located in) to get a taxi. There was such a variety of goods for sale: clothing, fruits and vegetables, even bunnies. Cute, cuddly baby bunnies sat so patiently in a box waiting to find a new home. I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t hop out of the box. Well, anyway, Dave and I came this close to having a bunny mascot for our rickshaw!
The Police Bazar was so busy! The streets were crowded with people. The sights, sounds, and smells overwhelming my senses. Horns honk constantly. The smells range from putrid to mouth watering. The bustling crowds a never-ending stream of movement, whether foot traffic or vehicles. Now we know what people do on a Saturday. Shopping! We eventually made our way to the far side and caught a taxi. We negotiated a price, 120 Rs (about US $2), and were off to the Rickshaw Run HQ.
Our driver had some trouble finding it, but as soon as we saw the line of colorful rickshaws (top of page) we knew we’d found it. Dave and I walked the line to see if our rickshaw was amongst them. It wasn’t, but we did see a familiar looking one. I swear, no matter where we go we see the Mystery Machine!
Inside what appears to be a bus depot, the Rickshaw Run registration desk was set up. We introduced ourselves and checked in. We were given all kinds of materials to look through as well as Rickshaw Run t-shirts, which we will model later.
We strolled through the depot looking for our rickshaw and checking out all the others. Finally, in the far corner, we saw the back of our rickshaw with our Livin’ Life logo on it. Yes! We were itching to check it out.
We went with a Caribbean theme, of course, and just sent in some blocky clip art. So we weren’t quite sure how they would interpret it. They were close to what we envisioned. Not super talented, but certainly better than we could have done ourselves! The side is supposed to be a palm tree beach scene on an island.
Then, on the front, is a sailboat sailing into the sun towards the island (and away from the island on the other side). It sort of worked.
The rickshaws are really small. I climbed into the driver’s seat and had to bend my legs in towards the seat to step on the brake pedal. Oh my! I told Dave he’s got to try it out and see if he will fit. Well… he may be able to step on the brake with his heel, but his knees are nearly touching the handlebars! How many hours is he going to be able to stand being crammed in like that?! These are made for much smaller people. In fact, walking around Shillong, Dave and I both tower over the vast majority of the people.
Small or not, I love it! Now we need to figure out what we want to do to it. We definitely want to have cushions made. Fifteen days of bumpy riding on those hard seats just won’t do. Hopefully, the extra foam won’t drive Dave’s legs into the handlebars. After speaking with a Rickshaw Run veteran, we also want to pick up spare spark plugs, maybe some extra bolts and a cable, oil to mix with the gas (two-stroke engine), and baskets to hang as cup holders for our water bottles. We are not allowed to drive it until we get a crash course tomorrow. We can’t wait!