Yesterday Aravind made use of his local expertise and took The Rickshaw Wallas to a Toddy shop to pick up some of the local drink for the teams. Also known as Palm wine, Toddy is is an alcoholic drink made from the sap of various species of palm tree such as the Palmyra, and coconut palms. They brought home a load for the other participants, all at the princely sum of 25 rupees for each half-litre bottle. Everyone agreed that it was very unusual, very tangy, and very effective at cooling you down in the heat, which was already beginning to mount even early in the day. Aravind also warned everyone of the side effects, which was that a few hours later we all found ourselves sweating profusely, but that was welcome enough in this heat. Remember, stay hydrated!
Day 11: Mararikulam To Kovalam, April – 12, 2010 April 17, 2010
It was an open flag off this morning, which meant that the teams could get themselves in gear as they saw fit. We all figured this would mean a late start in a leisurely way, but it turned out that the appeal of the awesome beaches and pools reported at the next destination had a highly motivating effect. By the time Aravind or any of the other organisers had made it downstairs to look around for some breakfast, it was full Action Stations with most of the teams running around making last minute preparations and hitting the road. Enthusiasm is at the heart of the Malabar Rampage spirit, but this has never been an event that rewarded speed. Sure enough, after a leisurely breakfast and relaxed start, Team 007 (Travel Scientists) found Team 001 only 15km up the road with a snapped clutch wire. The support vehicle was on the scene and had everyone running again quickly, but over-enthusiastic driving became a theme for the day! Despite having departed very much last, Team 007’s cool and laid back approach meant that they were actually the second team to arrive at the end of the day! That great giddy rush of excitement had gotten everyone else lost, overheated (either themselves or at least the poor tuk-tuks), down wrong turns, or out of fuel. The old stories about the tortoise and the hare probably aren’t true most of the time, but on the Malabar Rampage it’s all about playing it cool and living the spirit of adventure and exploration.
The beleaguered Brett of Team 003 (Team Oz) and Sarah of Team 004 were both not feeling 100% today, so rather than grind on and ruin themselves for the rest of the rally they rode shotgun with the supply vehicle. Kudos to the Rickshaw Wallas who stepped up and heroically provided drivers for the depleted teams and vehicles!
With the huge international and local media coverage the Malabar Rampage has generated, our reputation is starting to precede us. In addition to the usual cheering and waving as we roll through towns, the locals are beginning to wave newspaper articles about us as we pass. Stopping to ask directions or chat over coconut water, the residents already know where we are heading to! Will the teams be able to stay cool and grounded in the face of such newfound fame? I asked Romy of Team Oz, but she told me to have my people talk to her agent.
Tommorow it’s the tip of India, and an epic section to go with it!