We made it!

We made it!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Day 29 –Walk from RUHSA to Vellore

This morning we had to wake early and be packed and ready to leave by 7.30am. The plan was for the walk team to start walking from RUHSA to Vellore and the support team to drive ahead and find accommodation. This is the first day we have set off without our accommodation organised so we are a little anxious about what will be waiting at the other end of the line. To be awake and packed and ready to walk by 7.30am is a big effort. To put this in perspective as Indy and I are getting dressed, Gus is rolling around in our bed drinking his cup tea not too keen to go anywhere and Maggie is dead to the world, I think she could sleep through just about anything. Bec had done a great job packing yesterday but there is always so many little things still to organise and pack when you travel with a family and it is fair to say the pressure was on. Kate and the kids and Nanna and Poppa had done a great job and were knocking on our door ready to go, again a great effort seeing what state their room was in last night.

The walk team today consisted of Kate, Ally and Maxy, Popsy, Indy, Maggie and Myself. It was a big team and despite the early start the temperature was already starting to rise. The walk conditions were very good, apart from the heat, walking along the road with some cloud cover and tree shade along the route. The kids found it hard going with a couple of mini meltdowns early on in the piece from Ally and Maxy and Maggie requiring pretty constant attention to keep her focused and moving forward. As you may recall when Maggie is singing or talking or engaged in a story she will walk for miles with no problem at all but as soon as she is left to be quiet she finds the whole walking thing very hard going. There is not much time to stop and enjoy the view and take in your environment when you are constantly story telling, song singing, supplying drinks and things to eat. For an adult on the walk team it is pretty much 100% kid focus as Kate will attest to after her first few days walking. As often happens on our walks the team will often break into two or three groups just to rotate the energy and attention for the kids but for Kate Poppa and I there is little break.

For those of you who are wondering what it must be like walking with our kids across India I would invite you to pack up your kids this weekend, plan a 25km route to walk and set off. You will probably find your kids (like ours) asking how far to go at about the first 10 minute mark of the walk, then will come the “I feel tired”, “I feel sick”, “my legs hurt”, back to the “how long to go” and so on and so forth. It will also give you some idea what it feels like to walk 25km. With kids this often takes 5-7 hours of walking as you are walking at a slower pace than if on your own and in conditions over 30 degrees this is hard going. If you are really keen then you can get up and do it all over again the next day. The walk itself is not so much of a challenge for the adults but the entertaining and sustaining of the kids team takes a great deal of effort. Our experience though is it is much more of a mental game than a physical one and our kids are quite capable of doing the k’s. All up our kids have all been incredible and far exceeded our expectations on this trip so far.

Given the heat today when we stop for drinks and chips and I give the kids all a hydrolyte drink just to get ahead of the dehydration and this always seems to do the trick. The kids enjoy these stops and it always seems to create a new level of energy in them. We walk about 15 kilometres to a town called Katpadi and find Raju waiting. Ally, Max and Maggie are in the van before I have the chance to say “have you guys had enough?” Indy, Poppa, Kate and I continue the final 7 kms to the town of Vellore, a large town well known for the CMC teaching hospital that has strong ties with Australia.

It has been a long and hot walk as we suspect all will be from here in. We were thankful for the cloud cover that we had and the occasional breeze that sprung up along the walk. We make our way back to the hotel, only a few hundred metres from where we stop. Turns out that the first hotel could only accommodate us for one evening and we are likely to need to be here for at least 3 nights, accommodation still being very difficult to come by and organise in advance. Mum and Bec have done a great job organising our lodgings and we arrive to see Gus riding his scooter on the third floor around the marble hallways. The drop is huge down to the groundfloor and on each corner there are these steps built into the wall, perfect for Gus to climb up to look down on the fish pond on the ground floor. Looks like we are going to have to keep a very close eye on the little man. Bec has managed to organise a family room so we all have a bed for a change, very nice considering what we have been sleeping on during recent days.

I settle Gus down for an afternoon sleep, something we are fast learning on this trip is an essential element to a successful day. The rest of the kids are all ordering up some room service, chicken tikka and naan seems to be the highlight and everyone is happy with that. I order up some veg noodles which I am so happy that I have found on this trip, it is such a nice change from the curries we so often eat along the way. We head out for a short walk when Gus wakes up, give the kids a massage to iron out any sore spots, do a spot of reading with the kids and call it a night, another good day.

One last quick note. Bec and I after a late lunch decided just to do a coffee and biscuit instead of dinner, big mistake! I roll around in bed for hours and at about 1am decide to hop up and type up a few of the thoughts that have been flying around in my head for the past few hours. As I quietly hop up, bec joins me, apparently in the same space as me. I think it was about 3am I finally got off to sleep, note to self – no more coffee before bed time!

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