Oct 8, 2009

Mangalore and Kerala on Kinetic Honda

1992

Anish and I decided to celebrate my birthday at Mangalore and also decided take my Kinetic Honda for the trip.

We left early, took NH4 and then NH48 towards Mangalore, riding between 50 to 70 kmph. Soon it was warm and some place just before Hassan we had tender coconut water, it was cooling and refreshing ...I had four of them and Anish had two.

Our first stop was at Dharmastala. Anish got his head shaved. He looks scary! Mid March the temperatures are high and it was very humid. We enjoyed the meals served by the temple, simple n tasty, served on leaves and we had to squat on the floor. Anish was amazed at the speed local kids emptied their leaves, his point was that they had more than us in much lesser time. It was true. I guess they were accustomed to having this food squatting on the floor. What ever it is, the food served is simply superb.

We went exploring the nearby Jamalgudda which is about 22km from Dharmastala. We climbed about quarter way up and gave up.

Next morning we headed towards Manipal, Udupi Sri Krishna temple was our destination. This was our very first visit, apart from that I cannot remember anything more. From here we went to Kollur Mookambika temple. Few kilometers before Kollur we stopped for a drink (coconut water) at a small shop by the road side. We were relaxing on a light wooden bench in the cool shade of big trees. Anish got up and the same moment I went down! The bench's legs were way too inside and my weight on the extreme end disturbed the equilibrium. No injuries. We had a good laugh and carried on with th journey. I remember seeing an elephant inside the temple premises, pilgrims feeding it banana nd coconut and getting blessings in return. Our final destination was for the day was Hattiangadi, a small village popular for it's Ganapati Temple. We reached the village after sunset and managed to get one of the rooms the temple lets out to pilgrims.

Hattiangadi is situated next to back waters and surrounded by coconut trees and paddy fields. One can see fishermen in boats going about their business peacefully. It's a nice place to be in if you wish to get away from maddening crowds. So far, we had been goody goody types, visiting temples, praying and all that. Now our trip takes a turn...

We traced back the journey on NH17, which runs along the coast, till Udupi and soon we were at Mangalore. We checked into Hotel Roopa on Balmata Road, a decent place which fit our budget. One thing unique about this hotel was that all it's 3rd and 4th floor rooms were rented out to college students. That evening we went in search of a a friend of Anish's, a doctor. It was the doctors suggestion we eat at an open air joint popular for seafood in the city outskirts towards Ullal. I relished every dish on the menu, in fact I was busy with my beer and plates of squid, prawns, etc. etc. while Anish and the doc went on with their conversation. We met Lavin and his lovely friend, Lavin another friend of Anish. I think we went to Panambur beach where we got a glimpse of dismantling ships ...old ships being broken down and sold as scrap.

Our next destination was Kannur. At the Karnataka-Kerala border a policeman waved us down and questioned us; where did we come from, where we were going, what did we carry in our bags, etc. He was convinced we were not the underworld type and let us pass. it seems gold smuggling is rampant in these parts. He was doing his duty.

Kannur is Anish's home town but his parents lived in Middle East those days. We did visit a friend, another doctor who was down with relapsed jaundice. The whites of his eyes were yellow and of course even the skin had a hue of yellow. What an irony; a doctor with a relapse. Anyway, he was a jovial person, I'd met him once earlier at Bangalore. Anish showed me around Kannur, we saw the St. Angelo Fort. Evening we had been to the sea coast, no beach here but rough and rocky coast line. Most of Kerala's coast line is rocky and very few beaches. We found plenty of crabs crawling up and down these rocks ...I learnt that certain types of crabs turn poisonous during full-moon/no-moon and fishermen do not catch them on such days. Talking about crabs and sea food reminds me of a small joint popular for sea food. I can tell this is the best sea food I ever had in my life. The place is small packed with simple wooden tables and benches. The basic meal on the menu is rice and fish curry and varieties of fishes are carried around by waiters ...all you need to do was call the right waiter and get what you want instantly. I wished I could stay in Kannur forever and visit the place everyday. I cam to know that Kerala restaurants follow the JIT system, Just In Time, food prepared for the day is sold by the end of the day, that way food is always fresh in most places in Kerala.

Well our holiday was coming to an end, time we head back to Bangalore. We rode towards Mahe, a less known Union Territory. Anish did not let me fill petrol in Kannur because it would be cheaper here, we filled the tank, we did not save a great deal but still saved a few rupees. On with our journey, we touched Calicut, Sultan Battery, Gundlupet, Mysore... The road between Sultan Battery and Mysore passes thorough forests and it's quite common to see elephants and other wild creatures. We did see a herd of wild elephants to our right. The group leader a big tusker was slightly away from rest of the herd (closer us) kicking dust and warning us to keep moving. If by chance he charged at us we had a bleak chance of escaping safely. We took off before our friend decided to charge at us and reached Mysore by evening. We checked into KSTDC Lodge, the place has an antique feel about it. Later we found a mess which offered sea food, no way comparable to the place at Kannur. We retired early that night, the ride through the jungle had left us tired.

Following morning I think we went to KRS before heading back towards Bangalore. The ride back home was little slow since we had to stop more often. My bottom was sore because of the continuous riding. Our entire journey spanned close to 1300 kilometers in 5 days.

I still have my Kinetic Honda (I call it 'wife') it's traveled 1,20,000 kilometers and resting in Bangalore at the moment. It's one of the safest two wheelers on road, it had real good braking power.


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