All Roads Lead South
Mark and I spent two nights in Pondicherry giving us time to relax from the ride down and to explore the city a little bit. The city has a nice beach promenade, complete with the requisite Gandhi memorial, where the crazy traffic is eliminated in the evening and the promenade comes alive, with locals wandering along the beachfront and enjoying the cooler evening temperatures.
One of my favorite things about traveling is looking around the local markets, and in Pondicherry we found a great one just around the corner from our hotel. The melodic noise, brilliantly colourful stalls, and exotic smells of spice and flowers overload the senses as we wandered through the narrow, crowded aisles.
We left Pondicherry early in the morning to get out of the city before the roads got too hectic. We were soon back heading south on the interesting back roads, passing Hindu temples, mosques, and churches. Since every village, town, and city we pass has a Hindu temple we decided to visit few to see what they’re like on the inside. They are much bigger than we expected and filled with many deities we are slowly becoming familiar with.
Most nights we bush camp, but it’s not easy to find an ideal spot where we won’t get seen and which doesn’t have thorns everywhere. Camping is way cooler than the stuffy hotel rooms and we sleep better. However, we need showers and a little relax from time to time, so we stopped for two nights in a little town call Vedaranyam. Nothing much going on here but it was good to have some time off the bikes. We replenished our supply of biscuits and got rehydrated.
The ride took a turn to the west and we followed a water way full of bird life and lilies in bloom. We both felt good from the rest and the km’s just flew by, so by the time we found a bush camp for the night we had done 123km’s. We both slept well that night!
The scenery changes slowly the farther south we get. First there were rice paddies and little fishing villages with fish drying in the sun. This has been gradually replaced with a more barren landscape with salt refineries and chilies growing and drying in the towns.
The bikes are holding together ok with the odd bolt coming loose on my panniers. Mark has been struggling with flat tyres, 4 so far. He’s getting good at fixing them with little help from me. Not bad when you consider we have now ridden just over 800 km’s. We are now in a city called Tuticorin for the night before the final few days to the southern tip.