The call to prayer by a muezzin in the mosque next door woke me at 6am. Not had that happen for a while! Ride down along the coast, past a beach Indian style (a coach load of people all gathered in close proximity, milling about and splashing in the waves with stalls selling snacks on the sands), and over a bridge, up a hill and down to where the ferry goes to Vangiri fort or Dighi. I have to wait an hour since the next small boat crosses at 9am. I unload Rowenna in order to facilitate transport and a family of goats come over to explore nosily. I sit and read in the sun, while supping a cup of chai. This sweet concoction is starting to grow on me.
So here I sit, on board a bobbing boat, watching the morning sun glint off waves and floating plastic bottles. It was only 30rupees for me and Rowenna to cross! The far side of the river is a grey hued hump. Can’t wait to discover what the day holds. I spy a small white gull type bird, with a forked tail and a sharp pointy beak dive into the water and emerge with a small fish. Another flew alongside as it came up and tried to snatch the fish, but didn’t succeed.
I have seen beautiful butterflies galore – most of whom wouldn’t sit still long enough to be photographed. In town, I had a policeman check my passport – just because he was curious rather than officious, I think. I went tne wrong way in Shrivedower and got hot and bothered on the inclines.
I was so hot and bothered that I stopped and yelled when I had a missile thrown at me by an excited group of children home from school. It was only a plastic ball, but they all ran off screaming when I screeched to a halt. I stopped in a small village and noticed I was sat opposite a small school where there were children chanting inside the room. I caught the eye of the teacher and asked if I could come in and say hello and she nodded agreement. There were only 6 tiny children (they didn’t look much older than three or four years of age) – 5 boys and 1 girl and one teacher. I got greeted with shyness and smiles.
The jungle was lush, the traffic was less – mostly bikes, scooters and tuctucs. I went the wrong way a couple of times. Saw a couple of monkeys crossing the road. I keep hearing a bird call like a hiccup – or a ‘cuckoo’ with out the ‘ooo’ bit.
I eventually arrived in Harihareshwar – not bothering to go into town itself – but getting a room on the outskirts for 600 rupees – a young lad called Suchan and his sister translating for me. Was so tired I had a snooze before having prawn tali for supper. Suchan insisted on showing me his coin and note collection – and I got eaten alive by mossies as I looked at them (teach me not to apply repellent at dusk). I gave Suchan a 50p for his collection, and 5 Euro and 10 Turkish Lira notes. He used to work at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai and showed me photographs of himself lounging in armchairs in lavish bedroom suites in his uniform. He’d like a job – wanted to know if Kevin in Mumbai could find him one but I don’t think he’s got the qualifications somehow. I see a lot of kids don’t attend school at all.
I slept like a tree.
A newly retired Terri following her heart into a world of woolly creativity. Live the dream