Sunday, January 20, 2008

Rameswaram to Tutticorin

UPDATE: All videos now moved to youtube! See today's video!!!

Distance traveled: 196km

Time: 7 hrs, 40 minutes

Our karma was back in full force. Race day 5 brings us another large, full color picture of team Namascar in the paper – pretty much our standard pose: hanging from the rickshaw wearing crazy hats and screaming at the top of our lungs. Are we becoming a media juggernaut? See the video and decide for yourself!

The day started with the most serious briefing yet, telling us about the terrible road (actually non road) and the likelihood that locals, having read about the rally in the paper, would throw dead chickens, goats, or maybe relatives in front of us and try to get money from us for ‘hitting’ them. We were also told that we need to be very careful as the rickshaws could easy break an axle on the road as the potholes were sometimes the size of, well, a rickshaw. To further complicate things, we don’t have cell coverage for most of the day, and the directions are pretty much only suggestions. About 50% of the day was actually spent driving off road, and if you want to know how rickshaws do ‘off roading’ check out our video. Again no tasks other than to visit the village and arrive on time which was particularly important as there would be a bus waiting in Tutticorin that would leave at 3:45 sharp. If you arrived at 3:46, no bus, no beach trip – you were out of luck. NO EXCEPTIONS. Naturally when we arrive at 4 pm, we’re the second team in and the pace car and spice music boys are still behind. We’re on hardcore maƱana S. Indian time. Needless to say, the beach trip never materializes.

The school visit was a let down as school was not in session. No one on our team had any idea what day it was, but after some calculations we figured out it’s Friday, a Hindu weekend day; school is in session Sunday – Thursday. When we got to Tutticorin we asked directions to our hotel, and cause a minor traffic back up when a whole host of well wishers gave us helpful directions. One chap shows us the way, and offers to show us around town for the evening but we tell him we were attending a dinner hosted by the Freemasons. Alarmed, he hushes us and gives us some free advice we didn’t comprehend: In Tutticorin don’t mention “Freemason” out loud. Uh, OK. Fortunately, compliance is easy.

Tutticorin is Indian ARC organizer Aravind’s home town. Rather than the beach trip, the evening featured a great party with special guests, the Dean of the University in Tutticorin and Aravind’s dad. The food and drink were great, the speeches funny, and it’s good to get a glimpse of Aravind’s personal life and attachment to this place. We run out of beer very early and are treated to a Tutticorin gentlemen’s discussion about the dangers of drinking beer in winter, and its effect on joints, bladder, and the performance of masculine heroics. Mind you winter is 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity here. Thankfully, there is plenty of “White Mischief” – a brand of vodka - on hand and the party rolls on into the night.

Be sure to check the video!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

looks like you guys had a blast there....
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