The Rickshaw Run April 2016 kicked off in true style. The magnificent Jawahar Niwas Palace has been Rickshaw Run HQ in Jaisalmer for a few years now. His Highness Maharawal Brij Raj Singh Ji kindly yet again agreed to let our wonderful rabble in.
Despite many of them arriving tired and jet-lagged, the 69 teams wandered up to us with bleary-eyes full of wonder and underpants chock full of excitement.
During registration each participant opened their very own misfortune cookie. It seems, most of our teams are doomed.
The next three days saw our brave teams meeting their rickshaws for the first time. Sheer delight was theirs upon seeing their incredible pimp designs:
So said Team Marco Yolo, who were the proud owners of one of the most ludicrous designs regardless:
The artists had gone all out this year - even using real wax crayons on the vehicles that had designs submitted in crayon. Genius. See all their exemplary handiwork in this post.
Of course, not everyone completely understood them all:
"What's that fucked up leopard-skin cat with no ears wearing goggles?" - Mitzi the mechanic - er… Mitzi, that's a seal.
"Why's there a donkey head-butting a chicken?" - Mitzi the mechanic (again) - er…Mitzi, that's an Australian kangaroo and a Kiwi kiwi having a face-off.
"Unicorns and rainbows and god knows what, god it was horrible" - Mitzi the mechanic (yet again) comments on Marco Yolo's pimp.
Good job she's been busy wielding a spanner rather then a paintbrush.
As always the teams were quick to add their own touch of class to their steeds, whether that be by adding astroturf, flashing lights, dangly things or by sticking a garden gnome on the roof. Whatever it was, the vehicles looked great and it kept the teams busy and quiet.
Next up, the teams had the joy of starting their machines and learning how not to crash them for the first time. After some expert advice from their instructor they were off. With the usual cursing and sighing.
Once they got to grips with it though they were generally surprisingly good - which is almost a shame. Tackling first the beginners track, they all then moved onto the off-road training course, many of them got stuck in the sand, but for the first time ever and as far as we know, nobody rolled their shaw. Many teams got to grips with the test driving quickly, meaning they could lounge around the pool in the fairly balmy 37 degree heat.
No Rickshaw Run is complete without a massive party or two. The April 2016 launch party more than lived up to the usual chaos. There was drinking, feasting, boogieing and merriment in abounds. The banquet of food was demolished as per usual, before teams decided to show us exactly what they had (or not) on the light up dance floor. They danced to their own playlist we created - the only rule? If you hear your song - you have to dance no matter what. Needless to say there was some shit dancing. It wasn't all shit mind you - Meredith from team 'Marco Yolo' impressed onlookers with a rather fine worm, whilst Fleetwood from team 'Pork Chop Express' was undisputed king of the dance floor with some wonderful moves on show.
"It's a lot of fun, but I'm too old for this" - HH Maharawal Brijraj Singh Ji of Jaisalmer smiles as he says this. Didn't stop him from acting as DJ for some time before hitting the dance floor himself to show off some impressive moves though. Good show sir.
Adam from team 'On a Tukking Mission' clearly didn't think the Rickshaw Run is dangerous enough and so decided to hurl himself from the roof of the palace into a tree:
Talking of danger, Mr Aneurin comments on the quality of local fireworks after we fearfully set them off: "It was absolutely mental, like being in the middle of an airstrike".
After hours of dancing, sweating, singing and laughing it was Mr Anuerin himself who led our troops to the pool, and was first one in - tuxedo and all. Slowly, people withdrew back to their holes with hugs, backslaps and lots of soggy outfits. A party fit for a king - literally.
Next day and hangovers were shook off with the customary trouncing at cricket by a local team. We actually were quite close this time, losing by a mere 30 runs. Okay, maybe we did have 23 fielders at some point, and maybe the local team's captain was drunk, but whatever. It was a load of fun and we had a blast.
We had a briefing by the pool in the evening whilst sipping tea and chomping on biscuits. Nothing screams adventure as much as a powerpoint presentation, and thus it was so. The biggest adventure of the evening was attempting to get powerpoint to work. Thank you so bloody much Microsoft, we love your error reports.
We then set up the cricket on the big screen so that we could sit with HH the Maharajah and watch England win a great game of cricket (until the last 4 balls anyway).
Then, before we knew it - it was launch day. The teams gathered at 8am, they looked fresh, they looked heroic, some of them were dressed as bananas. They were nervous, excited and babbling incoherently. Many were pointing at maps, not that that will do them much good. They then all congregated for some group photos in front of the palace. His Highness said a few rousing words, and the teams jumped in their vehicles, and with a wave of the flag they were off - in a flurry of color, dust, sweat, music, smiles and high fives.
The palace now feels almost deserted with eeriness, but still there lingers a slight smell of petrol, spilled beer and ever-so-slightly browned pants.
We at Team Adventurists wish them all the luck for the next two weeks. They're going to need it.