Hell-hole [Rickshaw Run day 4]

Kavali Travel Blog

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Driving the beach road out of Chennai

Woke up with a stinking hangover at about 6.30am. Vicks went out and got us some chai and water, which helped immensely. There was the daily power cut (it happens every day from 6am-9am!) which meant the room was stuffy...not what you need with a pounding headache! We went downstairs and got some breakfast. The others wanted to have a relaxing day and go to Chennai and catch an IPL cricket match, so Vicks and I left them to it and headed off.

We hit the Chennai road and were into the city around lunchtime. We were a bit hesitant about driving through a city of 6 million people, but I took control and just went for it! Yeehah!! Another adrenalin rush and we whizzed through in about an hour, going the wrong way down one-way streets and all sorts!! We emerged on the beach road and finally found the main Chennai-Kolkata NH5 and headed towards Nellore.

It was a pretty straightforward afternoon's driving and we pulled off for Nellore at about 5.30pm. We saw some other teams coming out of the town and they said there was no accomodation anywhere beacause of a wedding or something taking place- great! It was getting dark by now and we had no option but to carry on 60km further to the next town, Kavali. This is where our problems started....we shuddered to a halt after about 20km and knowing it wasn't petrol as we'd filled up, we guessed it was the spark plug problem again. We kept taping and adjusting it, but it would last about 2 km and we'd have to stop annoying! Pretty scary to as we were driving in the dark on a main highway for the first time with all the lorries chundering past us. Stopping was a little frightening as there's no hard shoulder as such and we were just in the dirt off the tarmac, hoping nothing would hit us! We eventually got into Kavali at about 8.

Traffic chaos in Chennai city centre!
30pm, knackered. It was a total craphole of a town, and only had one proper hotel. It looked nice, but the other teams had snaffled all the remaining rooms, so the only option we had was the seedy Sagatha Lodge (INR 300). I've never stayed somewhere so disgusting in my life, it was awful! Dirty rooms and an even dirtier bathroom. There were mozzies everywhere and no ventilation, so it was literally baking in there. I swear it must've been about 40 degrees in the room - we were sweating buckets just lying on the beds. I can't sleep in the heat at the best of times, and I knew I'd never get any kip in this. Vicks tried for a bit, but I woke her up at about midnight and said I couldn't take any more. I'd rather drive on than stay here another minute!

So with that we got up, packed and hit the road again.

Me, repairing (well, with sticky tape!) the spark plug wire for about the 19th time on the way to Kavali
We weren't sure how reliable Rita would be given the previous evening's problems, but we seemed to get the spark plug cable in a place that meant it worked. So at about 1am we were back on the highway, hoping that we wouldn't encounter too many of India's infamous drunk truck drivers. The condition of us leaving was that I agreed to drive while it was dark - I managed about 2 and a half hours before I was totally shattered. I was nearly asleep at the wheel (well, handlebars!) and had to pull over. We kipped in the back of the tuk-tuk for a hour or so, got some chai and then pounded on. As the sun rose and it became light, Vicks took over and drove for an hour or so before she too succumbed and we pulled over again onto some dirt. I slept in the back and Vicks just slept on the dirt by the side of the road! I took over again and finally we got to Vijayawada, 228km from Kavali, at around 9.30am. What a night....please get me to a hotel!!

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Driving the beach road out of Chen…
Driving the beach road out of Che…
Traffic chaos in Chennai city cent…
Traffic chaos in Chennai city cen…
Me, repairing (well, with sticky t…
Me, repairing (well, with sticky …
photo by: Sads79