As we rode in the cool morning shade of a narrow coastal road north of Alleppey, I was reminded of our riding the narrow lanes of the Mekong Delta during our Shangri La trip. This time we were riding along the Arabian Sea coast of Kerala, India.
The clean brightly painted houses, set back among lush coconut trees and tropical flowers, flashed past between glimpses of open ocean. Girls and boys in school uniforms, smiled in surprise as passed them on our long bike. Women swept the sand in front of their houses bent over with the traditional short broom while men gathered at tea stands, or began the work day, mostly building new houses.
Half way through our morning we decided on a short detour to the harbour (how it is spelled here). We were so glad we did. The “harbour” was a beach, a beach with just the right slope, and probably protected by an offshore sandbar, where local fishermen were landing their long open boats, stern first, after a long night of fishing. Locals gathered to help land the boats, impromptu auctions of squid dotted the beach sand, and particularly successful boats shared with the poor.
There was color everywhere, in the sea, the sky, the competitively painted boats, women’s kurta (overdress), men’s lunghi (bottoms), and the silvery shine of fish scales. Life. Life here in India is people, everywhere, many people, interacting in ways often undecipherable to us. As the heat of the day descends on two sweating farangs, we ride away, energized.
A few kilometers on we combined a bush break with watching what here are called, Chinese fishing nets, rise and fall in a narrow backwater, pausing briefly, in hopes of lifting a passing school of fish.
A stop for a cold drink led to a comparison of Zippy’s length with a Ta Ta taxi. Zippy’s wheelbase is definitely longer. We “talked” vehicles while downing a liter of cold fizzy drink and then rolled on to find an old growth marigold and more fishing boats.
We added a new body of water to our list. India bicycle touring on a very good day.