We made it!

We made it!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Day 31 –Walk from Rannipet to Kaveripakkam

Well the good night sleep we had hoped for was not quite so. It sounded like construction works were going on next door but later exploration revealed we are directly under a bar on the floor above, must be very thin floors! India woke up a little cranky, well a lot cranky and was rabbiting on about wanting to lodge a formal complaint with management, she is becoming accustomed to the Indian way. The biggest shock though was that Bec, aka Nurse Ratchett, aka the soul and rock of the family was sick! As the night went on Bec’s cold further developed and she awoke with what felt like a full blown flu. Having taken the time to look after everyone else she forgot about herself. As many of you would understand Nurses are not particularly good patients and she was taking direction somewhat reluctantly. We were all a little slow as we headed down for an early breakfast to get on the road today and meet the film crew. We sit down at our table for breakfast, order up some ommelletes and toast. Gus has a drink of pineapple juice and then decides he has had enough of this sitting thing. There goes breakfast, I decide to take Gus up to spare the others and allow them to finish their breakfast in peace. Gus and I share a bowl of honey loops, the breakfast of champions!

There is a touch of anxiousness in the car this morning as we are not quite sure what the day will involve. We have been given a brief of the types of questions the film crew are likely to ask but other than that have no idea of what is in store for us. We arrive at the agreed meeting point, or at least so I thought. Working from Google maps I suggested a meeting place which as it turns out was not the place the crew were at. We all get out of the car as it is getting stuffy, it is 9.00am and already there is a sting in the sun and it is going to be a hot one. We sit and wait by the car on a busy corner, traffic cruising by, again looking somewhat out of place. The sun is so hot you just sweat standing still. The flies are very bad here for some reason and we are covered from head to toe in flies. The van is no relief as it is now also full of flies. We are parked out the front of a hotel which looks like it is in development with a construction floor above. Mum decides to use the toilet here, something which she would later describe as the worst toilet she has ever seen, or smelt. Gus is running around like a madman, his shorts and shirt drenched with sweat already and it is only 9.15am. The big kids are suffering in not so much silence as they share with us all every detail of their discomfort. We can’t start walking as we are not sure the route that the crew want to go on today, so we are stuck with the heat and the flies. Not such a great start to the day, another chance to practice our patience and tolerance.

After several animated telephone calls between Raju and the crew and what seemed like an eternity the crew finally arrive. We are keen to get moving so after some quick introductions we clarify directions and we get going. After a walk along the highway yesterday we were pleased to see the route today took us on a road that ran parallel to the highway but through the shopping district, a much nicer walk. It was as if scripted today, there were young kids coming up and saying hi, a man on a motorbike with his very young son stopping for a chat then coming back minutes later with a handful of chocolate bars for Gus, I am not sure if it was the camera but we seemed to be attracting even more attention than usual, actually I am sure it was the camera. We had all ten of the team start the walk today. Gus was in the stroller, then on my shoulders, then being carried, then running along the side of the road, then being a plane, he was very busy. The kids were definitely feeling the heat today and it was really hot. We stop by a temple for a bit of shade and a drink. The kids are sitting up on a concrete table to which a couple of men explain that it is ok to sit just to keep their feet off. As you can imagine as soon as I say to Gus no shoes on the bench that is all he wants to do. I distract him with the option to make a donation to the temple which he is happy to do. We walk along for an hour or so before we decide the heat is too much for the larger team and all but Kate, Poppa and I jump into the bus with Raju. Indy is having an enforced rest day today as she had a long and very hot walk yesterday. We want to manage her condition and ensure she finishes the walk as good as she started it and if we didn’t force her to rest her stubbornness would see her walk herself into injury, not sure where she gets this from?

The bus heads off but not far away, the crew want to do a couple of interviews with the kids so that is planned for this morning. The three walkers continue on, stop for a morning coffee, despite the heat and enjoy the scenery. The coffee stop is the usual galv leaning roof with an old bench with boiling milk on the go and tea or coffee available. We opt for coffee. There is a huge crowd gathered at the bench, something we assume is a good sign and we all stand around enjoying our morning coffee. Popsy finishes his cup of coffee which was in a small plastic cup. He gestures to one of the men there what to do with his cup, thinking a bin perhaps and one of the men grabbed his cup and dropped it on the ground. It reminded us of the time we were travelling by train in India and mum very conscientiously collected up all of our rubbish and put it in a bag and tied it up. She walked up to one of the train staff and handed it to him, to which he opened the door and threw the bag out of the train! Mum was shocked.

I had a few more words to a couple of the locals, although they look a little disinterested when I start to talk about the cricket scores, Michael Clarkes 250 not out means Australia is on top again much to the disappointment of the fanatical Indian fans. We continue on, we are walking through a town called Walajapet, clearly a cane paradise and Kate is drooling at all of the beautiful pieces of cane. “How do I get these back to my shop?” From here on the day is just a solid walk for the three of us whilst the kids have some time with the film crew. They find a small school and enjoy some play time with the kids while we continue on. The kids complete their initial interview with the film crew so we will wait and see what they said, should be very interesting. I think a couple of the kids got stuck when asked the question “Do you think you will do something like this again?” Indy was ready though and already has plans for our next adventure which we will share a little further down the track. Apparently Gus was a little shy when it was his turn, very un Gus like.

Kate Poppa and I push on while the interviews are going on and complete another solid 24km in high heat conditions, a good effort particularly seeing the morning was also slow and took a fair bit of time. In the end we make it past our final destination and pushed on a few extra k’s. We jump back in the car and head back to Vellore for our final night there. The mood in the car is surprisingly good considering Bec, Mum and the kids have been in the car for over 3 hours. Bec is looking tired now and enjoys taking a quiet moment at the back of the bus after another long day.

Back to the room for a quiet lunch, a few games with the kids and an early night.

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