. (Mikey told the porter I was drunk which he thought was hilarious. I was NOT however just half asleep and nauseous from curry at 7.30am) It took ages to get out of town, the driving of buses, rickshaws and cars continued to amaze us, but after a few miles we were cruising on the hard shoulder of a really smooth highway. We managed to knock off 15 miles with minimal ease and stopped for snacks (the really small bananas here taste unbelievably good). The next couple of hours cycling were good, the smooth surface continued and the traffic was much less hair raising than normal. We noticed how, since leaving Kerala, there are much longer gaps between villages. We have been used to houses/shops all the way along the road, now there are a couple of miles without a village or parade of stores. The last 10 miles were not as relaxing as earlier in the day due to a narrow road and lots of buses, but we then headed off a side road to find the beach at Malpe. It was well worth the ride and the hotel, despite a completely incompetent staff, is very nice looking out to sea. The great thing is that due to our early start and the improved road conditions, we arrived here by 1pm allowing us to swim in the hotel pool and have fish and chip lunch on the beach. Excellent! Wandering around on the beach, we realised just how hot it is – even if it was appropriate, sunbathing here would be madness. Relaxing in the shade however is gorgeous. In the evening we took a rickshaw into the nearby temple town of Udipi, famed for its vegetable thalis. (Meal with lots of different dishes served on a banana leaf). It really lived up to all the reviews, a gorgeous combination of vegetable curries and other sauces. The rickshaw back to the hotel was typically hair raising but we made it back to the beach and the hotel to find that the whole area had completely come to life. A really good day, India is certainly looking up!
After having done some map calculations last night, we figured that we are on track to make it to Mumbai in time to meet Alan and Tricia. The good news was it doesn’t look like we will have any more ridiculous 70 mile days, the bad news is that these calculations are based on a Rough Guide map which up to this point has been ‘rough’ to say the least. We woke early to a great view over the city of Mangalore. It certainly had a Sunday morning feel and the streets from up high looked relatively empty. Packed up (every day we empty and then refill panniers) we went to get breakfast. Polly is not doing well with the Indian food so early in the morning, again feeling pretty ill after some rice cakes and curry sauce. Maybe that explains why when we mounted our bikes in the hotel car park, she lost her balance and fell off, dropping the bike. They are really heavy and not easy to manoeuvre. A very kind porter was quick on the scene to help out and off we went, into the city chaos which had developed since the tranquility of the city sunrise