. It would be nice to stop and stare, but the traffic is fat too hectic! Lunch of crisps, cake and biscuits again (probably not too healthy, but hard to find other edible stuff – I always make us have some bananas or oranges as well!) was eaten slumped in a shady shop step before setting off into even hotter sunshine. We had a dilemma playing on our minds all day, we knew the next day was a long one (according to highly inaccurate map) but the only cheap/acceptable Lonely Planet accommodation was 46miles from our start point (too short really). The decision was made for us when we reached Hotel International Bekel and it looked grim. We also saw a sign saying Mangalore was 88km away when our map said 49km, making our intended route tomorrow totally ridiculous. We carried on another 6miles (EXHAUSTED) and reached Bekel Beach where the recommended accommodation was closed. The last 6 miles had been really tough as the road was terrible and I got puncture No. 10!!! A slow one, luckily, which we pumped up with our enormous Indian pump which we are now lugging around as we have a mixture of English and Indian inner tubes all with different valves. We reluctantly cycled on from the beach (which looked incredible, but NO time to stop!) and luckily 2km on found some beautiful cottages to stay in. We first asked how much – too much really but we had no more will to cycle on. Then Mikey asked the all-important question – Do you serve beer? On receiving confirmation that they did we checked out the room – gorgeous, and on dumping the bikes outside took a fresh lime and soda down a jungle path to the beach. Amazing – exactly how days on the bike should end. The waves were so rough that we couldn’t swim, but we lay in the shallows and got bombarded by them. A Kingfisher in the cottage on our return, relaxing with HBO in the air-conditioned room, followed by another fab meal has definitely cheered us up. We’ve decided to accept we may not get a day off until Bombay, but if we don’t have to do more than 50miles a day it will be worth it. 9pm on Friday night now and definitely sleep time, so tired.
We had to drag ourselves out of bed at 6.45 as the hotel had a big party coming this morning and we had to check out at 7.30. Not really what we needed after yesterday, but at least an early start means it’s not too hot. The view from the hotel was really gorgeous, rocky beach with a clutch of fishing boats far out at sea. I ate four slices of toast in an attempt to cheer myself up and give me some energy to face the day. After setting off we tried to take a coastal short cut but the road was so bad we left it and got straight back on the busy N17 highway which it looks like we will follow all the way to Bombay. Getting out of town was typically crazy and the next 35 miles very hot and pretty hilly. We tried to break up the day having stops every ten miles, but the distances on signposts kept throwing us, 16 km to a town would then say 18 km to the same town 5 km further along the road. Some of the scenery in this area is incredible. We are always cycling through palm forests and occasionally come to bridges spanning gorgeous stretches of the Northern backwaters