Thatch huts and hurricains

Day 21

Why don't you get a motor people say as if they have just informed me
of this helpful piece of new technology. I tell them that they have
missed the point. This trip was not intended to be a walk in the park.
It was intended to be a muddy crawl through the fiery pits of hell. No
just joking, I'm not quite that masochistic. It was intended to be a
test of human endurance. In body, mind, character and spirit. An
adventure with purpose. A pursuit of compassion. Why? To inspire.
Imagination, heart and wallet. To put a crack in a pane of monotony.
It is nice to feel that I am able to make a difference to those that
are disabled and unfortunate. But even just to see a smile on a child's
face, a look of disbelief in an old mans eye, a moment of question in
a business mans mind. My world is always moving. Or I am always
moving from one orbiting world to the next. As I pass through it is my
duty to smile. For perhaps on my journey I glimpsed what was at the
centre of it all, and what I saw was reason to smile, and perhaps
cause for spectators of small things to believe that yes maybe they
are all part of something great.

The result of too much time in the thinking chair. But this day saw me
in bed for some much needed recovery.

Day 22

I rode on to Cudalore, thrilled to reunite with the coast where the
beach was scattered with happy families and lovers enjoying nature and
ice cream like any healthy westerner. I spent the evening in a hall
with 40 middle aged rotary men to observe their 3 monthly meeting to
update on each clubs projects. When asked to make a quick speech about
my project, it seemed that impromptu speaking comes fairly easy when
your audience does not understand English. Actually most of them were
fairly educated so caught the drift and were very supportive as well
as eager for a photo with the cycle afterwards. They shared their club
meal with my newly recovered appetite and helped me to find a lodge
for the night.

Day 23

I cycled on to the town of Pondicherry, surprised by the sudden
appearance of white faces as a few thousand french nationals live here.
I cruised up the beachfront esplanade and enjoyed a western yet by
Indian standards expensive chicken sandwich. I continued up the coast
into no lodge zone, but happy to finally not be cranking towards a set
destination or time. I pulled down a side road to pass men drinking
after work whisky secretly beneath the palm trees, through small
fishing villages of palm leaf shacks and colourful boats to reach a
rough sea for a long promised swim. My mystery bedroom for the night
ended up being a mat on the floor of a workshop beneath a large lathe
with two teenager boys who's families must no longer have room for them.
They would have taught me Tamil language and script long into the
night but eventually I had to tell them I was tired.

Day 24

Progress up the coast was slow due to heavy rain. One man invited me
home to his thatch hut for lunch where lived his extended family all
congregated with goats and turkeys beneath a walless roof with a bed
and a table and an out of place lap top used by a small boy for
playing games. The home was simple with a kitchen, TV room and shrine
yet they seemed very content in what comforts and wealth they had and
with family at hand. The rain persisted so I accepted their invite to
spend the night. The afternoon cleared briefly to let us play
badminton on the road and cook some palm tree roots on a roadside
fire.

Day 25

I rode to Mahabalipuram, a town of amazing rock temples and relief
sculpures cut into bolders. It was a joy to hide my cycle and wander
the foreigner sprinkled streets like a normal tourist.



 
Day 26

Mahibalipuram

Day 27

I plowed on up to Chennai through a hurricane. The wind was in my face
the whole way and often pushed against my arm power to a point of
motionless equilibrium. Eventually I made it into the city without
being crushed by a falling branch or decapitated by a flying piece or
iron. My informative sign had blown off somewhere along the way. I
found a lodge and sent my wind swept body to sleep.

Day 28

I finally got the Mend patient forms for all of my tricycle recipients
filled in and emailed off to the distributors though multiple power
cuts meant I had to do this multiple times taking me all morning. I
had an uninspirng practice at using my legs for a walk around the cities
dirty Indian invaded colonial streets and a sit on the massive beach
transformed into a giant flee market before a short ride to stay with a
family in the outskirts. It was so nice to be back in a friendly home and given a list of families I could stay with on my next leg towards Bangalore.

4 comments:

Daniel Collingwood said...

Sounds like you're having the time of your life! I hope in some way your suffering will ease that of the people your helping :P

CARTOON CARTIK said...

Hi Shasha, i am Karthik from pondicherry, india.i want to meet you and to know about your rally... i want to know your current location and your contact number, email id and all....

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