We made it!

We made it!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 32 –Walk from Kaveripakkam to 70km from Chennai

Today is pack up day and another rest day for the kids. The heat of the past couple of days have resulted in us calling in another rest day to enable the kids to have a big finish to their walk. Bec is back to her usual self and feeling good again, nothing keeps Big mama down for long. She has packed up all of the bags and as always done an amazing job to get us prepared. Learning from yesterday I keep Gus in the room and offer to Bec to have the first breakfast, she then orders my ommellete and I get the second shift. I am sitting having a very plain breakfast again today, an omelette and a banana and I look across to India’s plate on which she has a vada, a poori, some potato curry and coconut chutney. This is the girl who didn’t used to do spice and now can’t get enough of it.

We see the good news about the cricket with Australia well on top again. Over breakfast the great man Sachan Tendulkar is dismissed, resulting in many groans from the mainly Indian contingent in the restaurant. Quick breakfast and then grab our bags and on to the van for drop off. Raju drops Poppa and I off at the spot we finished up yesterday and we note we are now within the 100km range to our final destination of Chennai. We say goodbye to the crew as they head off to find our next accommodation spot a couple of towns and about 50km up the road.

After a short while I turn to Poppa and say “Well we have broken the back of it now Nick, short of an unforseen event we are there”. I swear that not 15 metres further up the road we hear the sound of screeching breaks just behind us. We turn around to see on the other side of the road about 25 metres away a car with brakes locked skidding narrowly avoiding a motorbike that has cut in front of it to make a u-turn. The car by now with little control smashes into the median strip which in India is nearly a foot high concrete barrier. As it smashes its wheel guard breaks off and flies across the road and hits the car coming in the opposite direction. The motor cyclist clearly the cause of the accident wastes no time in taking off across the highway and down a side road making his escape. The car occupants step out somewhat dazed but not hurt, at least not as bad as their car! We wait long enough to make sure everyone is okay and then continue on with our walk and our conversation, “Now as I was saying Poppa, we are nearly there!” Perhaps a message from above to stay focused until the very end.

Poppa and I make good time today and pushing out at nearly 6kms an hour we do very well. We decide to walk on the other side of the road today with the traffic coming at us as there is a little bit of shade every now and again. Interestingly we get a few gestures from drivers suggesting we should be walking on the other side of the road. It appears that it is fine for a car, a cycle, a tractor, a wagon, any type of vehicle to be driving the wrong way down the road but not for two pedestrians walking on the verge going the wrong way, very interesting. Unperturbed we press on and enjoy the shade. Popsy and I share a few words but appreciate the quietness of a walk day without the larger team. We walk with only a quick stop every now and again for water and then a final stop for a cold fanta by the side of the road. Up ahead on the walk we notice a small crowd gathering by the side of the road. Popsy wonders if it is a favourite ‘Pee Stop’ but as we draw closer we notice a large truck, laden with bricks sitting on its top having rolled off the side of the road. The accident must have happened last night I suspect and looks like the driver may have fallen asleep and driven off the road and down the embankment although this is just a guess. There was now a large crowd gathered inspecting the damage.

Today we have walked for just over 4 hours and have completed 25kms, a good day making good distance. Just to end the near misses we have experienced today we were on the drive back to the hotel with Raju when up ahead there are two guys on a motorbike who decide to walk across the front of oncoming traffic which is coming fast as we are on a highway. There is a small truck ahead of us, then us and behind us is a series of buses and trucks we have just passed at quite high speed. The guys on the motorbike must have stalled their bike and were stuck in the middle of the right hand lane, the truck in front of us basically veers left and stops in the middle of the road. We are travelling much faster than the truck and so haven’t got time to stop, I see Raju looking in his mirrors to see what is coming from behind as we swerve narrowly missing the truck and all we can hear is the sound of brakes screeching behind us and hope all make it through in one piece. I ask Raju is everyone ok, which he gestures with a head wobble clearly a little shaken after the ordeal. Another near miss and we are so close now to the finishing line!

We return to the hotel, in one piece (just) and are pleasantly surprised by the quality of the accommodation. The rooms are very large, extra beds available and a large pool for the kids complete with blue water! We join the kids for a swim and a cool down after another extremely hot day. Gus and I have an early meal and head to bed at about 5.30pm both exhausted after our day. The girls enjoy dinner with Kate and the kids and then finally hit the hay at about 8.30pm. Indy started complaining about the hardness of her mattress and she couldn’t get her hips straight. This woke Gus up who was in the bed with us and as I was settling him back I felt a wet patch, actually nearly a puddle. Gus who had an Indian nappy on found someway to manage to get every ounce of pee to miss the nappy and find its way to the bed. Bec grabs a couple of towels, we cover up the wetness and back to sleep we go.

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