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MCG - SCG Walk 2.0

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

Day 2 of Yatra: Carrum to Mount Martha

We had all stayed the night at Inderjit Monga’s house at WaterWays. Everyone got up early to get ready for the day ahead. Inderjit’s wife Varsha prepared breakfast for us while Achala, Shekhar and I got ready. At 6:30 AM, it was far too early for proper breakfast; however, knowing the hospitality of the Mongas for 40 years, it would be impossible to leave their home without having something. So, the three of us sat down around the dining table. I had specifically requested no parathas please. It would be impossible to walk after a heavy breakfast. The quick breaky (Aussie slang for breakfast) was kept light. We thanked Inderjit and Varsha for their generous hospitality. A big Thank you to the entire Monga family for their support to this noble initiative.

Achala, Shekhar and I set off to the intersection in Carrum, to which we had walked the previous day. Shekhar got off at Carrum Station and switched to public transport to go home. I did the Namaskar to Mother Earth and started to walk the Nepean Hwy towards Frankston. Achala Datar was now on her own driving this motor home type of Renault Master van. This was Achala’s first day as a support crew and drive with me. It was also a big test for me to trust her ability to handle such a big van and follow my walk. Drive the van and follow the walk is not as simple as it may sound. Apart from the frequent stop/start, stop/start, the support crew must be able to handle multitasking such as communicate with me on the CB Radio, watch traffic and road conditions, pull over where safe to do so without jeopardising or slowing down other road users. The highway must be kept clear at all times. You have to be physically fit and strong, mentally alert, psychologically prepared to take on this highly demanding role and I must admit, and acknowledge, Achala handled it very well. A big thank you Achala!

It was going to be a long day with a lot of stretches of uphill climbing and downhill slopes on a very busy Hwy. The Nepean highway called State Route (SR) 3 from the Melbourne metropolitan towards the city centre is always carrying a lot of traffic. However, on a Monday morning, it is particularly busy with additional traffic of the weekend holiday homes along the Morning Peninsula area. The early morning temperature was a bit coolish and the weather forecast was a clear day ahead. At Frankston, we stopped for a short break and then continued towards Mount Martha. We pulled over at Mount Eliza and had lunch from the takeaway containers stacked in the fridge. Before calling it a day, we walked a few kilometres past our destination to reduce the distance we would need to walk the next day. Before heading to Jo’s place, we drove to the Mt Martha town centre, had a cuppa at a cafe, talked to some people about the walk and its objectives.

Jo Lovelock is a star breast care nurse with McGrath Foundation working to help patients and families affected by breast cancer. Jo is very active within the Foundation, but she has also been involved in breast cancer awareness campaigns in other countries such as East Timor Leste and South Africa. When we arrived at Jo’s house, she had already come home. She was very busy preparing lots of food. Achala and I had a cuppa with Jo and her husband Andrew, who himself is well read and very knowledgeable. We enjoyed discussing a range of topics from the Israel – Gaza conflict, prevalence of cancer in general and breast cancer in particular, to gardening and dogs. Jo and Andrew have a couple of Labrador dogs, and so does Achala. Coincidence or destiny!

Jo and Andrew have a beautiful house on a large block of land with swimming pool, granny flat and a big backyard. However, most importantly, they have a big heart. They are great hosts with generous hospitality and always willing to go the extra mile to do something for others, for the community and for the country. I feel blessed when I get the opportunity to spend time with such kind-hearted people. We all had a lavish dinner followed by a yummy dessert. Soon after we all went to sleep.

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