The CEMS Blog

The official blog of Chennai Event Management Services

Day 15: Coutrallam To Tuticorin, April – 15, 2010 April 23, 2010

Filed under: Malabar Rampage - 2010 — aravindbkumar @ 7:45 pm
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Rickshaw Wallas team having a Moment

Rickshawallas team

Talking to the Teams: Edward Guy is one of the Rickshawallas team members, a group renowned for their impressive charitable donation to the Malabar Rampage charities. What is less known is that the funds raised came in large part from socks! These ingenious adventurers used their clothing wholesale connections in the UK to produce and sell limited edition charity socks called the Bombay Royale in the colours of the Indian flag. Combined with their own personal donations and the personal donations of the Tamil Nadu expat community in Dubai, their efforts have made an enormous difference to underprivileged and undersupplied rural schools throughout the area.

Edward explained to reporters that his experience back in the UK of charity events was that they tended to become a little repetitive, lacking imagination or excitement. There were only so many marathons anyone could run, even dressed up in outlandish costumes. However, the Rickshaw Challenge series was something completely different, unlike anything they had seen before, and immediately captured their imagination. This combined spirit of humanitarian aid, original thinking, and wild adventure is at the very heart of the Malabar Rampage!

The Rickshawallas were one of the teams caught in the Tamil New Year celebrations yesterday (Day 14), and whilst it did dent their score a little, it was a spectacular sight. Empty roads suddenly tuned into an explosion of sounds and colours and activity and elephants! That night they stayed on a Tuticorin fruit plantation and spent the evening sat in the pond just cooling off and relaxing.

Today (Day 15) Edward and crew used the stationary day in Tuticorin to explore the local sights and culture, wander around the old fishing district, chill out, and eat  a whole lot of the local Mud crab. The evening was as usual another party, and included watching the IPL cricket on what could well have been the biggest TV in southern India.

Talking to Andrew Thomas Crew of RickRoll Shaw (Team 6)

Rick Roll Shaw having a Moment

Rick Roll Shaw Team

Just for chuckles, we thought we would try a whole new approach to find out more about the fearless road-warriors of the Malabar Rampage with some questions that we thought might not have yet been asked of them by the ever-present media and reporters.

CEMS: If you had superpowers, what would they be?

Andrews: I already have superpowers. I’m immortal, or at least indestructible. Maybe immortal and indestructible. This rally proves that.

CEMS: How has being part of the Malabar Rampage made you a better person?

Andrew: Well it’s made me a better person by making me work with a team, and making me appreciate the abilities of others, or the lack thereof. It makes me step up to the plate and cover for them, make me more self-reliant. Also dealing with another culture that is so chaotic, and has such a constant ebb and flow of traffic and movement and noise. Dealing with the traffic that is full of everything from giant dump trucks to cows, either of which would totally wreck the little rickshaws in a collision. Traveling and working and playing in the amazing heat here without resulting to killing each other is also part of the challenge.

Today RickRoll Shaw spent the day like the other teams relaxing, recharging and soaking up the local culture. One of the team members is currently doing his best to recuperate from a bad cut across the heel as they leaned out of the rickshaw to stabilise it on a corner, so it has yet to be seen if he will be able to continue along the way. Fortunately the injured party is local to just a couple of hundred kilometres further along the route, so decisions will be made by the time he passes his home town. Andrew is more than a little concerned that He’ll end up being the only driver in the team for the next 1000 miles, which he is not looking forward to at all, especially with the heat “making you sweat out your brain”. For the meantime, however, Andrew and the rest of RickRoll Shaw are just taking it easy and hanging out with the Rickshawallas, having personally gone into town to fetch back the delicious local chicken biryani for everyone.

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Team Interviews : Charlie ( Team 003 – Rickshawallas) April 12, 2010

Filed under: Malabar Rampage - 2010 — aravindbkumar @ 8:02 pm
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Rickshaw Wallas team having a Moment

Rickshawallas team

Taking a different approach to the Malabar Rampage is Team 003, The Rickshawallas. On this Malabar Rampage they have raised more than £4,000 in charitable aid for Round Table India, and are augmenting that figure by saving on the rally hotel package – deciding instead to rough it and improvise.

Armed only with a 2005 copy of Lonely Planet to give them a general idea of what a place is like, at the end of a long day on the road they do not rest but instead head into town and start hunting for any local hotels or hostels that have availability and the lowest prices possible.  After as much as 180km on the road and through the heat, this is not an option for the faint of heart!
Led by Charlie, the team has so far managed to find a place (eventually) every night that would put them up for around 800 to 1000 rupees. The accommodation is often rough and sparse to say the least, but they have seen more of what goes on in the town, the real hustles and bustle, than they could have otherwise. Charlie and his teammates feel that the air-conditioned luxury that the listed hotels provided by the Malabar Rampage insulate them too much from the local flavours and experience by provide exactly the relaxing retreat and space they were designed for. Team 003 is right in the heartbeat of the local communities, and say that they can see, hear and smell the real character of each town, finding out what each towns own cuisine is like, what are the predominant races, religions, and customs. They say that they occasionally get just a flicker of regret after a really long and hard day when they have to go scouting for accommodation, but after a shower or at least a wash-up they are ready to hit the town!
Their experience with the locals has been just as glowing as the other teams report, if not even better. The entire team was flagged down by the side of the road by a friendly old man who took them all back to his own home to meet his wife and children (who spoke perfect English) and made us all coffee and tea, and told us all about their customs and culture before sending us back on our route rested and refreshed.
Charlie’s tips for anyone thinking of trying this approach to the Malabar Rampage is to bring anti-bite, and lots of it, maybe your own sheets, your own washing gear, and a small essentials backpack. Their advice for the road: chill out completely, get there when you get there. This isn’t bad advice wherever you are.