The rains that lashed all day long yesterday have ceased. A swarm of dark clouds still dot the sky, an army at the gates, awaiting their master’s orders. That’s a shade too melodramatic, yeah? Well its jus rain and it can do little to douse my zest, unless it brings on its worst. Thats Better.
A well deserved night’s sleep if there is such a thing. The gear that we’d spread out to dry aided with the fans running on full blast has helped. We stuff the gear back into the saddle backs and get ready to rock the road. Modhu and Mindu pack their gear at lightning pace and head down to tend to their steeds. Again, I’m the last one to get ready, again I have them waiting.
The bikes saddled and adequately warmed up; we have a spot of tea [:-)], gas the bikes and hit the road. We’ve traveled less than a couple of kilometers when the clouds crack open, it starts pouring again. No bother, we put on our wets and ride on.
We’re soon out of the city and riding along open roads. Riding in the rain is an awesome experience more so in a setting as beautiful as Kerala. The Mallu Land is liberally painted in green; there is touch of green wherever the eyes spans. Everything looks fresh and virgin. With so much rain you’d expect nothing less. That said, Kerala post monsoon or as things are, in monsoon, is probably the best time to visit. A lake covered with Lotuses, they're mostly buds tho.
Discounting the previous night’s humble dinner our first taste of authentic Kerala Cuisine is a breakfast of Appams and Iddiappams accompanied with steamed green peas swimming in coconut milk flavored curry. I didn’t fancy the Iddiappams too much tho. During breakfast the same fleet of bullets goes by us. Modhu and I wonder if they’re doing the same thing as us.
Oh, we’re headed towards Guruvayoor btw. The roads along this route are winding stretch of ascents and descents. God, these roads are great to bike on. However, in parts the roads are in bad state of disrepair. It is not really a wise idea to give way to speed and stupidity and this holds for all roads in India. The rain if you must know was on and off, at one point suddenly got so heavy that we had to hastily duck into a petrol station for cover.
We reach Guruvayoor at around noon. Guruvayoor hosts the famous Krishna temple. It being a Sunday is thronged with people. We didn’t go in. The temples in Kerala are very in different architecture to say temples in Karnataka or Tamilnadu. There is no elaborate tower(gopura) with figurines dotting the walls or intricate carving. A picture can best describe it.
At lunch, the waiter offers us an elaborate menu. We spend a decent couple of minutes, while he stands still in rapt attention. When we’re finally ready to order, he politely informs us that he only has a thali to offer. Well there are all sorts of people. We can do nothing but snigger. At lunch I managed to capture this picture of Harsha in a, well, rather unusual pose. Guys who know him well are bound to have a good laugh at this. That’s warm water flavored with spices btw, quite common in Kerala, before you think otherwise.
Post lunch we head toward Kochi. Along the way we stop to purchase some Mallu snacks, Sharkaraverati and Banana Chips. The shopkeeper is very chatty and to me he might as well be singing in Malayalam, I politely nod my head not wanting to interrupt. A while later he realizes something is not quite right asks me “Malayalam?” I meekly say “Zero”, we share a hearty laugh. He switches to speaking slower adding bits of Tamil, which I don’t speak either, but I understand enough words to tell him we’re from Bangalore and headed to Kanyakumari, he is rather shocked to hear this. Most people we meet can’t seem to phantom what we’re doing. The most commonly posed question is why. I can never answer this honestly and simply say “Trip” and that satisfies them. Why I bike, sigh...
The road to Kochi is very narrow, overtaking is impossible. The train of buses before me is driving me crazy. Patience boy I tell myself, but it soon wears thin and I pull a few rather risky maneuvers to get past this torture. Modhu soon follows suit. But, this is to no avail as we soon go too far past the buses and Harsha sanely enough, is behind them. We pull over and wait for him. Not wanting to get stuck behind them buses again we have some tea and then continue toward Kochi. The rains are now a thing of the past, the sun is out full blast and the air is sticky and very humid.
Kochi, first impressions, big cit, too many people, high rises, honking aggressive vehicles, and the air is smoky. Development, progress has its rewards. We’ve reached early our destination by our standards, its 6:00pm. We check-in to a hotel on M.G.Road, shower and head out towards Marine Drive, a kilometer away as the reception informs us.
We snack at a bakery and walk toward it. Marine Drive turns out to be a good three kilometers away. Many malls, huge shopping spaces and lounge bars!!! dot the city space. Harsha is constantly complaining of the distance. We spot a kitten stuck on a sign board.
I need to buy a cap so we’re forced to walk back. Harsha groans. On the way back we spot a theatre playing “Lage Raho Munna Bhai”, a recently released Hindi movie. Confirming to the way we do things we decide to watch the movie. Alas, they only have “Gandhi-Class” [:-)](first few rows) seats available. Sigh. Long walk back to the hotel.
Dinner follows, its nothing special. Modhu is wishing he had a chilled beer to go with the meal. I’m jus longing to hit the sack.
Day Two, the wet adventure continues...