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MCG - SCG Yatra, Day 31

Michelago - Royalla - (Canberra)


We had a good sleep after camping overnight at the farmhouse with goats, Lama pacos, Chucks, dogs and God knows what. Nothing disturbed our deep sleep. The only catch was that if you had to go to the toilet during the night, you had to take a torch and walk 150 meters and climb 5-6 steps to get to the toilet. If your bladder was full and the pressure was building up to an unbearable or uncontrollable level, which often happens as you get older, stay where you were and just let it go. That was the beauty of staying in a paddock. If your stomach was full and you had to empty it, that would be a different story because you would have to rush to the toilet. Anyway, Shekhar and I managed well through the night. We got ready and began our manoeuvre through the narrow rocky road to the Monaro hwy.


We drove to the spot where we had stopped the walk the previous day. I started the walk after the usual namaskar to the ground. It was a clear blue sky with a coolish sunny morning. A light wind was blowing and the weeds growing wild along the hwy were as if waving to me, swinging back and forth or side to side. It was Mother Nature’s way of saying, “Welcome back, my son. How are you? Did you have a good sleep.” You just have to stop and listen to her and smile back as you would do to your real mother, your biological mother. The same kind of Mother – Son relationship we need to have with Mother Nature. She would be happy and we would be happy. We could all live happily thereafter.


During the break, I had cornflakes with hot milk and went to have power nap. Our schedule was to walk to Royalla for the day. However, we had already walked a fair way past Michelago yesterday and stopped 45 Kms short of Canberra. With an average day’s walk of 20-25 Kms, today, we wanted to get as close to Canberra as would be possible. We walked past the gigantic solar farm at Royalla. We were thinking about staying at a caravan park either at Royalla or somewhere south of Canberra. Mr Google found no caravan park or camping facilities at Royalla. We were left with no options but keep walking towards Canberra.


During breakfast, I had put my phone on the charger and forgot to grab it when I resumed the walk. Generally, I do not answer any calls when I am walking as doing so would divide my attention and take the focus away from the traffic on the road. However, for some reason, I called Shekhar over the walkie talkie and asked him to grab my phone from the charger and bring it to me. Again, for some reason, I checked for missed calls and urgent text messages. The whole thing on my part was so unusual but it did happen. There was a text message from a person called Madhu who lived in Canberra. He knew my brother Vinod who had told Madhu about my walk and that I was approaching Canberra. Madhu had requested me to call him back and stay with them when we reached Canberra. I rang Madhu during our break and asked for his address. Madhu and his family lived in the Southern part of Canberra, and we were approaching Canberra from the South on the Monaro Highway. It was a blessing for us and what a perfect timing it was. We appreciated the fact that Madhu had taken the initiative to contact us and invite us to his house. We happily agreed to stay at their house for two nights. The subsequent three days we had already arranged to stay with Manik.


Finally, we managed to walk across the border of NSW and enter the ACT. We were happy to see the big sign to mark the beginning of the Australian Capital Territory. Strange enough however it may sound, the words “Welcome to….” were simply not there. Like it happens when you enter Victoria or NSW, doesn’t matter which border you go through, the big sign would say “Welcome to Victoria” or “Welcome to NSW” for example. That welcome to the ACT was missing. I can’t imagine that such an omission would be deliberate. Shekhar and I found it a bit odd that someone had overlooked such an important aspect of welcoming visitors to the national capital.


At the first roundabout on the outskirts of Canberra, we took a left-hand turn and called it a day. We drove to Madhu’s place. He had been working from home as their two sons were on school holidays. In accordance with the Indian tradition, Madhu bhayia (brother) welcomed us with a glass of water followed by a cup of tea. He had already messaged us to have lunch with him. After lunch, I had a shower and went to sleep in one of the bedrooms. Shekhar followed me soon after.


By the time, Shekhar and I woke up, Madhu’s wife Sujatha had come home from the office. She was busy preparing dinner. She made us nice masala tea followed by an authentic Hyderabadi idli and dosa. Thanks very much Sujatha for going through so much trouble and make fresh idli and dosas along with the saambar. It was all so yummy. A big thank you to Sujatha and Madhu bhayia. After the dinner, we had another cuppa. Madhu bhayia asked us to use the bedroom to sleep overnight rather than the van that we had been using before. Shekhar and I agreed to sleep at their house that provided a stable and level ground for a sound sleep. Since the beginning the walk outside the MCG, different friends, who came to drive the support vehicle, and I had often parked the van on a slope or near a highway and the passing vehicles, especially large trucks or semitrailers would shake the van vigorously. At times, it felt like, we were trying a get some sleep on a boat rocking from side to side on a rough sea. We both were pleased to sleep on a stable bed on a stable ground.




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Jack Blanco
Jack Blanco
19 de dez. de 2022

good on you Charlie - you are doing well mate

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