We were not far from the border with Andhra Pradesh and were hoping to have reached there by today.
However we had been starting to walk 1 hour later than usual at 05:30 and I was being cautious by restricting the time spent for each walking session. For this reason we knew the border would have to wait until tomorrow.
Lakshmi Narayan (who had walked with Bobby before and met with us in Chennai before the floods) met us yesterday and stayed with us overnight but I knew he would be leaving the next day before we made the crossing which was a shame.
The Patel family whose business we had parked in front of the night before had invited us for breakfast at 9am so we set off. We met their son Suresh who passed us on his way to open up their shop. Just a couple of kilometres down the road me came across the Kailas Sawmill which was adjacent to their home.
We were made to feel very welcome by the family and had a lovely breakfast of Bajra roti’s, home made butter, chutneys and cool lassi (a refreshing yoghurt based drink). This was delicious especially washed down with the lassi. I had mentioned earlier about our problems finding various items like ice. A short time later a van pulled up with a very large block of ice and I realised the sons had arranged this while we were eating.
We took a lot of photographs outside and I loved the smell of freshly sawn wood in the air.
We could have spent much longer than 2 hours there but we knew we had to start heading for the border. We were given a bagful of goodies which included lovely koya and ghee bharfi (sweets made with condensed milk and purified butter), more roti’s, chutneys and a large papaya fruit. We thanked the Patel family and friends for their gracious hospitality and we left for the border.
We had not gone very far when I noticed a guy on a motorbike at the side of the road. He was sitting on a lovely Royal Enfield model, a classic design which I love. His name was Sathya Vijayan, we got chatting and took some pics. He commented that what we were doing was very noble and said he said he would share the information on Facebook.
When we stopped in the afternoon, Bobby noticed some sugar cane lying on the side of the road after having just been cut from a crop in the nearby field. After a monetary transaction with farmer, a large cane was duly prepared and cut into three for our eager consumption.
Eating raw sugar cane is not easy and consists of you using your teeth to strip away the hard outer bamboo-like bark which reveals the juicy centre strands. You bite off a mouthful of these strands and while chewing, you suck out all of the lovely sugar cane juice discarding what’s left in your mouth afterwards. Like bamboo, every so often the sugar cane has rings which circle the outside and form ridges. These ridges are especially hard to bite through, sometimes requiring you to have teeth like Jaws from the James Bond movies.
Alas, Lakshmi had to leave us to head back to his home town. He said he would find us in about a month to walk with us again, then promptly hopped across the road before getting a lift from a passing vehicle and was gone.
During the last walk session, Bobby became very fatigued but we could not find a suitably safe place to park for the night. Eventually we came across a little clearing at the side of the road adjacent to some spooky looking, abandoned buildings. Although there was no-one around, the Walkmobile could park off the road, avoiding any less than diligent night-time drivers from hitting us.
We decided to stop, had our evening meal and were getting ready for sleep, when the blue flashing lights from a passing patrol lit up the interior like a nightclub. The officer told us that our location was not safe and escorted us back about half a km to the side of the road where a few trucks were parked next to a small temple.
I went to sleep dreaming of Gujarati hospitality and crossing the border.