We made it!

We made it!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 34 –Walk from 55km from Chennai to 30km from Chennai

Waking at about 6am this morning I could hear the quiet sniffles and groans coming from Bec in the bed below. Having had a swim yesterday her body has succumbed again to the lurgy that she was so desperately trying to avoid but now it has caught up with her. A fairly sleepless night was had with a throbbing head and blocked sinuses – no fun for Nurse Ratchett.

The little master Gus has awoken and is already ordering up his cup tea from Dadda sensing that mum is not a good candidate this morning. We have no milk so using the creamer means that I have made it too hot, not a good start for the little man. We plan to have an early start this morning as we can literally walk out of the hotel and start our leg today having walked to the hotel yesterday. An early start is never good for Miss Maggie who is difficult to rouse at 10am so a 6.30am wake up call is fraught with danger. Indy had a few gurgles in her stomach last night so is also a little sluggish but very determined to walk today.

As always Kate and the kids are up and dressed and ready for breakfast. They have been great in the morning and are always the first up and ready to walk. Kate has been doing an awesome job as a single mum with her two kids having their first experience of India. Ally and Maxy have approached their trip in very different ways. Maxy has dived in head first, eating everything, keen to walk and open to all that he can experience. Ally a little older is a little more cautious and having a spice phobia is never a good thing when coming to India. Kate has been patient, tolerant and supportive of not only her two kids but also the rest of the team as she has gone about also trying to have an experience of her own. Nice job little sis!

Gus is up and heading out to the pool with his nappy on and nothing else. This is a concern given that yesterday when he and Bec were having a quiet sit by the pool at the end of the day just dangling their feet by the edge of the pool Gus decided to jump in, no floaties on and his clothes on. So we are now on around the clock surveillance of the little man. Slowly we get dressed, Maggie needing some extra encouragement today to firstly open her eyes, then get dressed and then get to breakfast, let’s just accept that mags is not a morning person. Maggie also secured a new nickname this week. In recent trips to India she has become known as Maggie Noodles (after the Maggi Noodles), this week one of our camera crew named Maggie ‘2 minutes’ which we thought was a crack up.

Quick breakfast this morning, a couple of fried eggs on toast and cornflakes, quite plain but enriching for the walk. We all get dressed and head out the door. The plan today is for the kids to walk about 2 hours and get picked up and Kate, Poppa and I will do an extra 3 hours to push out to 25 kms. Mum had once again very generously offered to have Gus today which Made Bec doubly upset that she is again missing out on a precious walk day. We make good time this morning and the kids are pushing out about 5kms an hour. Ally and Maxy have settled into their walk routine well and going great today. Maxy seems to have his body clock a little out of whack and has to again stop for a #2 squat. We find a fence for Maxy to go behind although there was a gap between the two sheets of galvanised iron and as Maxy had gone a few metres behind the fence from the road the gap between the iron was unfortunately at waist height so young Maxy put on quite a show for the walk team. I suggest he needs to get some son on his but cheeks! He is though getting quiet adept at squatting in the bushes. I can thankfully say that our ‘poo shovel’ has not been out of the bag yet on this trip, maybe I have spoken too soon!!!!!

The walk continues with the kids benefiting from constant stories, discussion about home and the old faithful 20 questions. Indy who we decided today would only walk the 2 hours is having an internal debate about whether to continue on. You see I know that all will be fine for a while then Indy who has been having a small problem with her leg will struggle with the last 5-10 km today, being such a stubborn little lady she will die trying to make the finish line. So I make the decision for Indy today that she will finish early with the other kids and it takes a few kilometres for the mooch to stop mooching and understand this is in her best interest. Fortunately she comes around and we have a nice chat before the end of the walk.

The kids rotate well between Kate, Popsy and I so we manage to get them to the 10am pick up time although today no Raju. This sends Ally into a bit of a meltdown as I think she has set her mind, heart and soul on the fact that at precisely 10am she would be picked up which to be fair to Ally is what has happened on previous days. Well no Raju so we just keep walking. Ally is not dealing with this all that well but we manage to push on for an additional 20 minutes and clear another couple of kilometres. I look back to see Raju, Ally not spotting Raju yet is dragging her heels and looking half dead on her feet and then hears the word she has been dreaming about ‘RAJU!’ Well like a shot she is running toward the van almost knocking down Kate in the process. Ally and Maxy have done a great job today and aside from the little meltdown at the end walked with good energy and spirit. Mags the trooper could walk all day as long as she has someone to talk to and again proves herself to be a champion contributor to the walk team.

Meanwhile back at the hotel Bec and Nanna are enjoying breakfast and Gus is generating a lot of attention. Apparently Bec was inside finishing her breakfast and one of the wonderful ladies at the hotel said she would look after Gus while Bec finished. Bec looked out and at one stage Gus had 6 of the hotel staff waiting on his every need. He had milkshake, juice, pancakes and anything else a three year old super star might desire. After breakfast Gus took great enjoyment out of helping the ladies arrange their flowers in the water display. He took great care in placing every flower in the water and getting all the colours in order. The ladies were so lovely and patient with Gus and this kept Gus in peaceful play for a very long time, Bec remembers it as a very special memory she will take with her from India.

Kate Popsy and I charge on and after hour 5 hours have pushed out 25kms. We only had a quick stop for a 7up at one point and then a roadside Indian coffee at another. Other than that it was highway walking. At one point Kate thought she was in Tailem Bend and another at Port Wakefield both dry dusty highways and very popular trucking towns (for those not from South Australia). Tomorrow we have another meeting with the film crew and about another 15 kms to walk to get to Ambattur and our symbolic end with ChildFund India. We will then as a family walk the final 18kms to finish at Marina Beach in Chennai.

Just a small personal note of humility, yesterday Bec had to give me a dressing down, something she doesn’t do very often. I as the classic introverted feeler had disappeared into my ‘man cave’ feeling very melancholic about recent days. For a variety of small reasons I had lost a little of the glow I had created earlier in the walk. Not good enough when you are the leader of the team. Fortunately for me my beautiful wife decided to tell it to me straight and suggested I pull my head in and snap out of the mood I had created for myself. Bec who is reading this as I type suggested to me that she was a little more subtle although that is still up for debate. I used to disappear into my man cave for days at a time not knowing always how to work my way through the various feelings I was processing internally. Again fortunately for me Bec and I now talk through these times and I tend to snap out of it quite quickly. Under orders I pulled my head in and started to come back to Bec and the team and to truth be told happy for the help and direction provided by the true leader of our team my beautiful wife Bec.

We are only days aways now from the end of our incredible adventure and I think we all want to take every last opportunity to feel the emotion that has been the coast to coast walk.

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