A ridiculous few days of colour, noise, excitement and nerves here in Fort Cochin finally came to a climax today with the launch of the January 2015 edition of the Rickshaw Run. This was in fact the biggest Rickshaw Run ever with a mind-numbing 94 teams currently bouncing their way to the desert oasis of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, a mere 3000 kms away. Piece of cake.
Teams laden with too much luggage arrived bright and early (well, early anyway) to mount their beautifully pimped machines. The all important sound systems were checked and last minute adjustments to costumes and decorations were made. Then, we squeezed them all into the slightly too small compound, cramming rickshaws in wherever we could - giving them a great taster for the next fortnight of chaos.
TV crews and reporters buzzed about in the frenzy, trying to interview teams who really were more concerned that they still hadn't mastered the trick to start their beast first time and so were cursing the starting lever and sweating profusely into their outfits. Oh and what outfits there were, we had among others; animals, Thunderbirds, astronauts, Cinderalla (complete with glass slippers and accompanied by two butlers), pilots, and people donning suits that looked like they'd been made from psychedelic vomit - perhaps they were after the stonking New Year's Eve launch party the previous night.
After a few group shots Mr Antony Kureethara, Chief Guest and local councilor for Cochin gave a wave of the flag and that was it - they were off. Spluttering and wheezing their way to glory. The faces on the baffled yet enraptured gathered crowd of onlookers said it all. A pure riot of fun.
Best of luck to all the participants, and we look forward to seeing their grubby faces in Jaisalmer and hearing their tales from the road on the updates pages.
If you've not got enough adventure planned for your 2015 you've got until January 6th to save £100 on the April and August Rickshaw Runs.