. A group of fisherman called for me to lay down my bike and come and help pull in one of their boats. They chanted as we pulled, laying palm leaves down to ease the friction between boat and sand. We tugged their boat up the sand, my sweat was now uncontrollable but they were pleased with my efforts. Pols and I set off again but after getting lost again in a maze of sandy tracks, and realising we had only done about 2 miles in the first hour of cycling (pushing/carrying), we gave up and found a tarmac road which would see us good for a few miles. It was our first time of really trying to get somewhere in India. It is slow going, unable to open up the throttle due to potholes, people, rickshaws, cows, goats, rocks, dogs etc. It is absolute chaos wherever you go. The noise for most of the day (once we had left the tranquillity of the beach) was deafening. The absence of any sort of highway code makes the cycling hard. Even the most basic of concepts, like staying on your side of the road, have been thrown out the window. Instead, the drivers think it will keep everybody safe if they just blast their horns nonstop. We ebbed between laughing at the madness and shouting out in frustration. There were some great sights along the way, hitting a road between the see and some backwaters was beautiful, seeing a guy rev his motorbike so much that he lost control and fell off, sending it spinning across the road, still revving furiously. I think we have all seen India in films and such, but the intensity of the heat, noise and chaos is hard to describe. It certainly doesn’t go too well with bikes but we will give it a good go. We reached Kollam with time to spare and found a hotel. We are really roughing it now, this room costs about a fiver and is pretty grim. We have seen so much today, we arrived so dirty and tired. India is a whole new ball game, that’s for sure.
The last few days had clearly taken it out of us, we didn't wake until mid morning. The airy hut complete with mosquito net was ideal catch up on sleep space. We pedalled around the cliffs to find ourselves caught up in a web of little lanes, eventually getting out of them to be back on another beautiful beach. It was very hot again and the sweat was already running off the brow. We stopped for breakfast which was a real treat, eggs, toast, lassi (like a milkshake/smoothy), muesli – the works. Watching puppies play on the sand and huge birds of prey swoop from above (fortunately not to pick up the puppies) was great entertainment. Having stared out to the sea over breakfast there was only one thing for it, in we ran for a refreshing swim. Back on the bikes we were advised that we could follow the coast for a few kilometres. After carrying the bikes up several sets of steps and pushing them through sand we decided it was poor advice. However, the detour did provide one of the most memorable moments of the trip