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Himalaya

Day 31: Amritsar to Chandigarh

Chandigarh, India 
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Waiting for the Grand Prix? Pit stop on the road to Chandigarh.
Michael Palin - HimalayaA roadside billboard cheers me up. 'Youghal and Sons. Where Fashion Ends.'

We take a short cut off the main road along an avenue of eucalyptus trees, which leads promisingly quietly through a green and pleasant countryside of rice and barley fields dotted with elegant white cattle egrets. Quite out of the blue we're brought to a halt by a traffic jam ahead of us. I ask my driver what's going on and he shakes his head in exasperation. It's a police check.

When we finally pull up alongside the policeman he swaggers slowly over to our driver. He looks like the corrupt cop out of central casting. Overweight, ponderous and self-important. He sniffs loudly as he examines our driver's papers, but when he sees us in the back he becomes a little more animated. After a couple more questions he hands the papers back and waves us quickly on.

My driver chuckles.

'He's fleecing people. Taking their money to drive along his road. I told him we were making a film for BBC Television. That's why we got through so fast!'

Arrive on the leafy ring roads of Chandigarh about six. And, miraculously, in one piece.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 31: Amritsar to Chandigarh
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Chandigarh
  • Book page no: 70

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