Namaskaara and welcome to our sequel of the blockbusting Loop Trilogy. Pete, Sam, Theja, and Bob went out to visit Charlie 1 and Charlie 2; I myself had the honour to spend five eventful days exploring Kerala with the beyond lovely Tango 5. So here is what happened there:
When driver Big Manju played Biffy Clyro’s “Many of Horrors” in the Bravo (Raleigh for “car”) that brought us to Kerala, I knew it would be the beginning of a wonderful trip full of positive surprises. After a short stop for lunch and – important important – a birthday cake for Ramesh, we greeted a knackered group of trekkers, who wouldn’t even bother to get up for the promising, but misleading bag from “Domino’s Pizza” that carried the cake. It seems like I had landed at the right time: A rest day was ahead of us! Accordingly, the group was in high spirits, smearing cake and henna into each other’s faces whilst watching pokerfaced Abi win “The Question Game” with, in turn, questionable item/action combinations.
“Rest”-day in Raleigh means “Raft”-day, so we put on our life jackets and went down to the Pozhutana river, where the MuddyBoots trek guides waited with a bunch of bamboo poles and a lecture on how to build a raft out of it. After having utterly successfully implemented theory into practice, we row- row- rowed our boats gently down the 2 km stream, merrily enjoying nature and the clothes-cleaning effect of water.
The next day sounded equally enjoyable with a 40 km bike trip - excluding annoying rucksacks - on the menu. Except it wasn’t: Steep and lengthy uphill phases and tricky, rocky downhill sections made most of the team not care too much about the beauty of the Indian tea plantations and Claude Monet painting-like lakes that they passed by. Getting off their bikes and pushing it the last metres to the next break stop, some even reminisced about the good old days of uphill walking, which now seemed to be the much easier option of mobility. However, capitulation is not a word in the Raleigh vocabulary, and definitely not in Tango 5’s. Arriving at the Banasura campsite – happy but with sore derrières and thighs, our guides had a lovely surprise for us: Just a five-minute walk (yes! finally! walk!) away was a reservoir in which we could cool off our stressed muscles! One has never seen a camp set up so quickly; and faster than Richard “Indiana” Jones can set a Trangia cooker on fire everyone enjoyed this perfect conclusion to the day.
|Everyone still smiling. Still...|
|Shaveh showing off|
|Group except highly efficient photographer Alex|
|I'd like to thank Ferrero for getting me through this...|
|Alex kissing ground upon arrival.|
|That's what happens upon arrival to campside: Absolutely nothing for at least 30 minutes.|
After daybreak we used the energy saved during the night to face the way up the 1200 meters mountain of Kurisumala, a pilgrim centre for Christians in Kerala, offering stunning views over the region and breathtaking photo and video (!!!) opportunities:
A motion picture group hello to friends and family from the top of the world
(we are sorry for being a bit brief, but the climb left us breathless and the view speechless)
After a rather tricky way down to the group’s next campsite, it was time for the Loop and me to say farewell. It has been an absolute delight spending time with you guys. Thanks for being my Phase II highlight. Love, your Quebec.
|A small taste of Tango 5's dedication|
And now: Messages written with the scarce remaining drags of physical and mental energy: