India Stats!

This is definitely my favorite kind of post.  I hope you’re looking forward to being blinded by some dazzling Excel graphs at least half as much as I’m looking forward to sharing them with you.   Are you ready to get into the nitty-gritty about getting by in seven-ninths (Manipur, Nagaland, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, West Bengal, and Sikkim) of India’s northeast?




1400 bucks over four months was a little more than I had hoped.  Here’s how it broke down:


At $142 for six months, the cost of the visa in Bangkok was reasonable.  Unfortunately, the timer on Indian visas starts ticking the day the embassy prints it rather than the day you cross the border.  That means I lost about one month while hanging out in Thailand playing with squirt guns (it was Songkran, I wasn’t the only one) and waiting for the Shaky Squad to assemble, and then another month while cycling through Myanmar.  The $75 special visa for Arunachal Pradesh was a significant and unanticipated expenditure, as were a few jeep taxis and other transportation costs incurred around Tawang when Chris’s bicycle went kaput.

Other noteworthy expenses included:

– Three pairs of identical sandals – the first got stolen off my bike while I was sitting down for a cup of chai and the second fell out of my backpack at some bump on the road.

– Guided tour of the Apatani villages near Ziro.

– Gifts for parents and newlywed friends, plus shipping costs.

– A few too many trips to Pizza Hut ($4ish buffet) and Dominoes ($1 single topping pan pizza) and KFC ($0.30 fro yo).

– New set of batteries for my UV Water Sterilizer Pen

– Splurge on a homestay.



Subtracting the visa and permit costs, this is how my days panned out.  More on non-food than food?  Either I’m eating too little or buying too much.


More than 50% of my nights spent at hotels?  In other words, not free?  Total cost $360? $6 a night, really?  That’s one of the perils of traveling in groups: hotels seem cheaper when you’re splitting the cost with friends, so you wind up frequenting them more frequently, meaning total costs actually go up (kind of like how energy consumption in the US keeps going up and up despite the proliferation of energy-efficient electronics).  I’m going to rework my spreadsheet setup in future months so that I can verify this with actual data.  Stay tuned.

Oh, and if there were a camping sub-category for “in the back of a Mack truck,” it would have a value of 1.  Kickass.



As for that part about the cycling:


That daily distance figure refers to days on which I actually mounted the bike, which was less than half of them.  India’s northeast was too full of interesting people and crappy roads for me to really rack up the miles.  That, and the extra-long visa gave me an excuse to maximize my downtime.

Bicycle Ailments:

 2014-09-26 to Reang 006

Before leaving Bangkok, I had a total overhaul or two, stocked up on spare everythings, and made to get some training for repairs of medium complexity.  It turned out to be a good decision.  Thanks to the rains and the roads (and probably to some extent the additional weight of all the extra spare parts I was carrying), I experienced the following:

1x broken spoke

1x worn out chain

2x back rack breakdown

1x rear tire sidewall tear

1x overnight tube deflation

1x puncture while riding

1x worn out front brake pads

1x worn out rear brake pads

Some of the more “creative” strategies that the locals and I used to remedy these issues  will be the subject of an eventual post.

Other stats:

Accidents: 0

Sick days: 1

Petty theft: once, about $5.

Other foreign cyclists encountered: 3, all with some prior internet planning.

Quality bike shops: 2 (Imphal, Gangtok)

Languages encountered: Several dozen?  Maximum of eight in one classroom, maybe six or so in one individual.

Highest elevation reached: 4200m

Longest climb in a day: 1600m over 35km

Cheapest room: $0.83, two beds, but I paid twice that because the guy in charge didn’t have change.

Most expensive room (still the cheapest we could find): $18.33, two beds.

Longest day: 110km

Longest mooch: 8 nights @ Indrajit’s

Second longest: 6 nights each @ Jashoda’s and David’s

Income: $10 donation from State Bank of India

New facebook friends: 100+, most within five minutes of meeting.

New varieties of toilet spotted: 2 (not counting streets and rice paddies)

That’s all, thanks for tuning in.

2014-09-26 to Reang 008

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One Response to India Stats!

  1. Mom says:

    Presents for parents???? 🙂