We made it!

We made it!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 12 Walk from Srirangapattana to Mandya

We were up early this morning hoping to make an earlier start to our walk day. Breakfasts have become a little more pedestrian in recent days, cornflakes with banana and milk, toast and jam, fried eggs. After my stomach scare last week I have been happy for the slightly plainer breakfast options this week. After Indy’s tiredness at the end of the day yesterday I strongly suggested a rest day, I think she was happy for the coercion and relented. I think the fact that I missed a day last week was a good thing for Indy to see that we are all going to require rest days from time to time and I was very glad to see her relent and take a rest today. Maggie who as we were going down to breakfast was just waking up stated to the group that she was joining the team today. So the team today was reliable old Popsy, Nicola (for her first full day), Maggie and myself. A quick check of the itinerary revealed today was going to be one of our larger walks at 26kms. The support team of Bec, Jen, Eibhlin, Indy and Gus were doing an awesome job at providing the support to the walk team and helping with the management of Gus, who requires a lot of attention.

We started our walk from Srirangapattana and about 10 minutes in Maggie was asking how long to go, it was clear it was going to be a long day. Not long after our start we noticed a small side road running off the main highway and were keen to get off the road every chance we had. We walked down a small country lane through local houses and immediately the local kids came running out, given it is a Saturday they were all home. Everyone was pleased to see us and as we walked along we noticed a woman who had just fetched her water. Her face beamed as she saw us and immediately we could tell that her English, whilst broken was quite good. We stopped and talked, she explained she was collecting her water for the morning. She gestured that her house was just down the road and asked if we would like to see, which we ofcourse did. Her name was Celia and a few metres down the road we were invited in to a very small home, really just a room which had in it a bed which took up most of the room. On the walls she had many items that meant her house doubled as a shop and a small divider at the end of her bed separated another very small room which also had a bed for her two adult sons. It was very interesting to see how Celia and her family lived and the size of her home. She was extremely friendly and offered Maggie and Nicola a range of goods from her shop and refused payment. Nicola had to force some rupees into her hand for the items the girls bought.

We walked on and a little further up the road we rejoined the main road and just off the road the kids were at school, much to Maggie’s disgust on a Saturday. We decided again to come off the main road and walk up the school windows to have a chat to the kids. They showed us their work and we had a quick talk. We walked on and found a small place for our morning coffee, to which Maggie joined in. Whilst there a man came up and said hi and that he had seen our story in the paper. We had a chat and he told me his name was Manjunath, he was the manager, he was from Hubli a town about 600kms away near Mumbai. He shared with me he had a wife and small daughter that he missed very much. He was here working for financial reasons and in a few days was going to be able to return to his family. He shared with me that he liked Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting, two Australian cricketers and asked if it would be okay if he could give me a gift, a book to which a friend had recently given him. We wished him well and continued our walk.

As we walked along the road we came to a hill. We commented that the road could have easily been any country road in Australia, a dual carriageway, gum trees along the side of the road and dusty verges. As we walked up the hill, me basically pulling Maggie up the hill, a man walking his bike came up alongside us. His name was Chinderal and he had his grass cutting on the back of his bike for his two oxen he had back at his home. He talked a little English but often just talked away in his local language as though we understood what he was saying. He shared with us that he was not yet married, that this was happening next, whatever that meant. He offered us to come to his village which we thankfully declined today and as we had made it to the top of the hill he jumped on his bike and said goodbye.

After nearly 3 hours walking Maggie, finding each step a challenge we found a small roadside mound in shade to stop for a sandwich and a rest. It was now 12 noon and we were expecting the vehicle any minute and Maggie was hoping to catch a ride to the hotel. We kept walking for a while longer and stopped for a cool soft drink and rang to check in with the support crew. As it turns out they were doing a bit of shopping much to Maggie’s disappointment who had been hoping for a pick up. We started walking again and this time Maggie enjoyed a chat about our new puppy in waiting Jasper. For the next 90 minutes Maggie talked with me non-stop about our puppy and all the plans she had for him. She set a cracking pace, so much so that we left Poppa and Nicola in our tracks. Maggie was off and not a complaint to be heard. The support crew finally arrived and after our hellos and health checks Maggie jumped into the air conditioned car very happy with her efforts. We topped up our water supplies and Maggie having had a minute to rest decided she wanted to finish the days walking. This is the same girl who ten minutes in was asking when she could get picked up, she was asking for an auto, asking if we should try hitch hiking, wanted to jump into an oxen wagon, was continually asking ‘where’s Raju and now after 20kms walking she was looking to finish the walk, what a super effort.

We said goodbye to the team and headed off to finish our walk, thinking we only had 2-3 kms to finish up. Indy joined us for the final leg. After a few kilometres Maggie turned to me and said ‘my knee feels like it is having childbirth’ it has been a long walk for my little lady. In the distance we could see a town and as we got closer could see the sign Hotel Jyoti International, we had made it as it turned out the final stretch was more like another 5kms. The walk today in total was about 26kms, nearly 6 hours, what an effort by Nicola for her fist walk and Maggie, my nine year old daughter who both walked every step.

As we neared the hotel we could see Mum, Bec, Eibh and Gus waiting for us sitting at the tables out the front of the hotel Our $30 a night hotel has turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise and we are very pleased to be here. A cold coke and packet of Lays Indian chips and the weary walkers and support crew shared our stories from our day in a very relaxed setting. Indy having spent the day with her new idol Eibhlin has even started talking with a kind of hybrid Aussie / Irish accent, very cute. Indy has just come in and informed us that Nicola had used the as she put it the butt washer to have her shower. Poor Nicola, exhausted from her day didn’t see the shower and proceeded to have a wash with the small hand hose usually reserved for the washing of one’s butt, it has been a long day indeed! Eibhlin has just informed me that Indy after all of this decided to also use the butt washer as it turned out to be warmer than the shower, oh well when in India!

One of our longest walk days of our trip, great effort our little Maggie.

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