Made it to the Bottom
We finally rolled into Kanyakumari on Sunday morning, 16 days after leaving Chennai. We have ridden a total of 974 Km’s to get here and enjoyed every minute. We could have arrived sooner if we had stuck to the main roads, but where’s the fun in that? We both agree the most memorable moments of the trip have been interacting with the locals in the small villages we ride through on the lesser used roads. Mark is now up to 7 flat tyres and is getting very good at fixing them. Luke has yet to get a flat tire!
The ride over the last few days of our southern journey has been interesting. The scenery has changed with banana plantations, wind farms, and our first sight of the mighty Ghats rising up in the distance to the west. We took our time getting to Kanyakumari and stopped often in the shade to cool off and enjoy whatever company came along, someone usually finds us within a few minutes, either cow or human!
Kanyakumari is the southernmost point of the Indian mainland and although it’s off the regular tourist trail it’s a sacred spot for the Hindus that flock here in the thousands to bath in the sea. The lively main point is great for people watching while sipping a milky ginger tea and joining the hundreds of Indian tourists waiting for the sun to set in the evening.
A lot of people have inquired about the food that we have been indulging in. So I thought we would give a little peak at what yummy things we have been eating on our adventures. Most mornings start with a few Idly, a spongy fermented steamed rice cake which is served with coconut and tomato chutneys and a vegetable curry. This is the ubiquitous and often the only option in the smaller villages.
Lunch and dinner we mix things up a bit with Dosas, a large rice flour crepe like concoction that has some sort of tasty filling. The best being masala ( spiced potato mixture), the strangest is raw red onion. Then there’s Roti, paratta, and chapati. Small, flat breads which are well kneaded, rolled out and cooked to order on a sizzling hot iron griddle and served with all sorts of dips, chutneys and curries.
We have eaten very little meat on this trip, but when we get a hankering for it, we head to the Muslim food sellers and their biryani rice. This is a heavily spiced rice with bits of raisins and assorted vegetables, these are usually accompanied by spicy chicken or (our favorite ) mutton. The portion size is gargantuan and appeases our cycling appetites!
For snacks we turn to the deep fried goodies that are for sale everywhere. There are a few types with our favorites being samosas, onion bhajis, battered cauliflower and some form of Indian falafel that are just amazing spiced and crispy ovals of goodness. There’s also battered chillies, bananas, and different dough balls on offer. Many times we just order one of each (we have to sample all the varieties!)
We always eat at the local street food stalls and most meals are served on a banana leaf instead of a plate. There’s no cutlery, instead you just get stuck in and use your right hand (never your left!) This can get quite messy as most meals are covered with sauces and curries but there’s always a hand wash station for cleaning after. Most meals are topped off with tea, it’s sweet and milky and amazing and sometimes made even better with ginger for a little kick.