Guy Bazin and his truck are going places, literally, as PRIYADARSSHINI SHARMA finds out

He's the ultimate roadie. One who's chosen to be on the road and drive around the world in his home car, camper van or motor home. "Those are the three words that describe my truck," says Frenchman Guy Bazin who's living out his dream project, The Globe.The 66-year-old took to this adventure after retiring from a top post in a French firm. "My wife passed away five years back. My mother is dead. What should I do? Wait for my death?" he asks in wry humour. "My sons are settled and so I sold everything I had to buy this truck. It's so funny but everyone in India asks me to begin with: from where do I come, my name and then how much does my truck cost. It's very expensive."

Home on wheels

Guy's home car is a customised German truck, Man. He has his little bedroom, a dining space, bath and a hi-tech office that connects him to the rest of the world. A little `garage' behind the truck holds his bicycle, tools and spare Michelin tyres that are huge. Run on diesel it has six solar panels to recharge the battery. A generator, diesel cooker, GPS, TV, shower and a picture of his mother makes Guy's `palace on wheels' cosy and warm. His road show is full of interesting anecdotes. For one who has been on the road since March 18, 2006, and traversed 43,017 kms, Guy is enjoying every bit of it. Having driven through strange lands, met strangers, seen strangest of customs it is the Indian leg that has been very colourful quite like the country, he says. Safety has never been a problem in India, curiosity has been. The roads too have not been much of a problem for the National Highways are good. But the buses and the coaches have bugged Guy no end. The mad honking, the road rash and the unruly traffic in India baffle him. Recalling his own bus journey from Kumarakom to Alappuzha, when he was not in the driver's seat, he says, "Sitting in the bus I felt that it was a permanent fight of the bus driver to overtake any vehicle which slows his progress." And funnily enough Guy compares it to "a true race of chariots at the time of Ben Hur." Guy who has been to India seven times before, on work, entered the country at Raxaul, in Bihar, this time after spending time at Kathmandu. It is the social life in India that Guy finds totally at odds with his life back home.

Travel travails

"For a European India is very different. Here, lots of people visit temples. Rameswaram is a very beautiful temple. In Kanyakumari I had to remove my shirt before entering the temple. But I wish to know whether people with big jobs visit a temple?" he asks. There have been no major problems for Guy in his entire journey so far. In Russia he had to face corrupt policemen who wanted `baksheesh' after checking his passport. In China, he was not allowed to travel alone but only with a guide or with police. "But India is democratic," he says and has faced no administrative problems. The only major problem for him is parking his big vehicle. "As this kind of lifestyle is uncommon here there is no parking or camping site for such vehicles. In Fort Kochi it took me two hours to find a bus bay. The Tourist Desk was not quite sure what I wanted,' he explains.

Spare tyres

Getting spare tyres for his vehicle was also quite an ordeal. After 11 weeks of enquiring over email the Michelin office got back to him about an outlet in Bangalore that stocks these tyres. "The Indian army uses them actually," says Guy.Being a Frenchman he has on his agenda to visit all the five French settlements in India. So Pondicherry, Mahe, Karaikal, Yanam and Chandernagore are all on his travel plans. So are Pakistan, Malaysia, Australia and even America as part of his Globe project. So far the roadster is in top gear about his unique lifestyle on wheels. "It's not hard to be alone because there are lots of things to do."And how long does he plan to live in his home car? "May be for another 10 years till I am 77 but that's if I am good" And Guy will be good if his truck is good and the road ahead is good. PRIYADARSSHINI SHARMA

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