Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Day 7 - Vishakhapatnam to Tekkali

This post gives details about 23rd December, 2004.

I am up at 5:50 AM, lazy me!

I had left all the packing also for today, and this eats up some time. My toothbrush is missing!

Checking out of the lodge has become problematic - with me having an argument with the lodge guy. He wanted an extra 50 rupees for the TV. All my explanations that I had paid for it had fallen into deaf ears. How he understood finally I don't know! Was it my livid face that did the trick or something else?

It is 7:00 by the time I am out of the lodge. A short break at Simhachalam and I rejoin NH5 at 8:00. This is a short-cut that I have taken - going along NH5 from NAD junction would have cost me atleast 15 kms more.

I find that there are several other tourist attractions I have missed at Vizag - they are all on the road to Orissa! Among them are an Indira Gandhi Zoological Park, a cricket stadium, etc.

I am feeling the pinch of the heat already - the hot and humid conditions do take some fun out of cycling. I stop for breakfast at 8:30. My chat with the hotel owner (in hindi) focusses on where to end todays ride. He talks about Srikakulam, Palasi and Icchapuram (last town near AP-Orissa border). I update my tour diary and the breakfast interval stretches to 45 minutes.

As Srikakulam (90+ kms) approaches, the hills of Vizag fade away. Sometime later, half of the road is under some repair or the other. This is annoying, since the heavy vehicles coming from the opposite direction cut down my speed. I eat a crappy ice-candy on the way (near Vizianagaram cross). Drink two maazas to cool down a bit. Nothing interesting till lunch at 1:30. The waiter at the dhaba is bending over backwards to please me - giving me extra curd, for instance! I also meet a journalist at the dhaba - he wishes me luck and suggests I could go till Palasa (aobut 100+ kms away).

After lunch, Srikakulam is still 30+ kms away. My pace has picked up a bit. The people in the passing busses, lorries and roadside children are all waving at me. I reach Srikakulam at 3:45.

At Srikakulam, I spend some time to decide where to stop for the day(the only criterion: place must have a lodge). Palasa is 80+ kms away. Tekkali seems to be a suitable place - about 50 kms away, so I won't be stressed much.

Just after Srikakulam, there is a park with a lake, and an island in the lake. I snap two kids on a cycle and show them their photos - and the joy on their faces says it all! I make a tea stop just before nightfall. And after-dark, it is just the routine affair with umpteen number of stops.

I finally reach Tekkali at 8:30 - it is a small town with a two lodges. I select the lodge on the NH5 - partly because it is cheaper! The small room is quite clean, has an attached bathroom and at 70 Rs, it is a value for money proposition.

I quickly freshen up and go to a local hotel. I have eaten a few mouthfulls of chicken biriyani before I realize that something is wrong. I blast the waiter without hesitation. For no fault of his! All his regular customers are non-veg, I must have specifically said vegetarian first...

Today at a glance:
Time Odometer Place/Purpose
6:55 10419.1 Vizag
7:55 10431.9 Join NH5
8:30-9:15 10439.8 Breakfast
9:45 10447.6 Anakapalli cross
10:25 10456.7 Vizianagaram cross
11:10-11:30 10466.4 Tea break/Bhogapuram
12:40 10482.3 Bheemavaram/Maaza!
1:30-2:05 10489.0 Lunch
2:50 10500.0
3:45 10511.7 Srikakulam Cross
4:40-4:55 10521.2 Tea
5:25 10527.5 Khardada/Tea
7:05-7:25 10549.1 Kottabommalli Junction/Tea, lots of chatting
8:25 10560.8 Tekkali

As you can see, today was a boring day - and so does tommorrow promise to be! I did cover about 160 kms, but without much fun. But the future looks exciting - I should be in Balugaon tomorrow evening - and that means Chilika Lake, and its lovely birds and dolphins,...


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