A night out with the birds
Sep 05, 2010
Aug 21, 2011
Where I stayed
Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Ms Sudah
. We made steady progress , the dual carriage way providing a pretty consistent hard shoulder which meant we could get good speed up. We stopped at a garage for some repairs to Polly's brakes. Whilst I was fixing them Polly was kicking down a toilet door until the nice lady asked her to stop as unknowingly to Polly there was actually somebody inside using the toilet. On we went for a few more miles before turning off the main road and finding some quieter secondary roads. At last, a little respite from the relentless horn beeping. We rested for lunch, sitting outside a shop to enjoy their freshly prepared samosas and vegetable pastries. As we continued inland the surroundings became more and more lush. Green everywhere, clean, fresh air and hardly any rubbish dumped – amazing. We knocked off the last 20 miles of the day in just an hour and a half which was just as well. On arriving at the bird sanctuary, the heavens opened and it has been raining with huge force ever since. As the Lonely Planet said she would, Ms Sudah ran to greet us at the sanctuary entrance. She led us to her homestay and welcomed us with tea and bananas (they are both in very large supply around here). She then told me her life story, proudly explaining how she has built a successful tourism business from just a tea stall following the death of her husband 20 years ago. So now here we are. In a very basic but clean room, in the middle of a rain storm, surrounded by over 240 species of exotic bird (haven’t seen one bird yet, let alone an exotic one). We are off with a guide at dawn when hopefully we will see lots. Ms. Sadeh is cooking us dinner tonight, I have a feeling we will be well fed.
We were very well fed and had supper with an English photographer staying at the homestay. He has had a book published on the birds of India which we will purchase as soon as possible as we are totally ignorant!
Sunday morning was testing! Someone had been playing with our bikes overnight and had broken something, breakfast was very difficult to find and we got ourselves involved with very heavy city traffic. Give me The Sunday Times and Marmalade on toast any day! However, the ferry ride from Fort Kochi to Ernakulam was pleasant enough and we even saw Chinese fishing nets in action. These huge contraptions would wind in a very big net using only a couple of men and clever use of rocks and levers. Each lift of the net resulted in a good catch. I have always thought fishing should be done in this way, the laws of probability really are not in favour of sitting there all day with a little hook, a huge net is a much better plan. The city of Ernakulam was not much fun. The morning traffic (Sunday or not) was ridiculous. Sides of buses had added dents after cutting us up time after time. My shouting at the drivers about the use of mirrors was useless. They would just stare back as if to say "what is the problem with this angry person on a bike?" and “why the goodness gracious me are you riding a bicycle in India anyway, you must be mad with all these terrible drivers?”