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MCG - SCG Yatra, Day 32

Outskirts of Canberra - Manuka Oval

After a good night sleep at Madhu bhayia's place, Shekhar and I drove left early morning and drove back to Monaro Hwy where we had stopped the walk the previous day. It was a chilly morning with a clear sky and no rain was forecast for the day. Monaro hwy is a very busy road as it is, but the closer it gets to Canberra, the busier it becomes. We started the walk with Shekhar driving the van on the left side of the highway and I was also walking on the same side because there was no way to get across to the right side. The Monaro Highway is a divided road with several meters wide nature strip in the middle with overgrown weeds and uneven rocky surface. You couldn't possibly cross it without taking a risk. After a few hundred meters, there was an opening and I crossed the highway. I felt more comfortable walking towards oncoming traffic.

I was disappointed to note that almost the entire Monaro hwy as well as many other roads we came across, the nature strip dividing the road or on the roadside was allowed to overgrow to this extent. Most of the highways and major roads around Canberra have no paved footpaths. Consequently, pedestrians who wish to walk, would have to walk on the roadside nature strip that have not been maintained to the standard you would expect in any state capital, let alone the national capital. Long grass often has snakes and walking on uneven surface increases the risk of falling over and injury. I was walking on the actual highway shoulder.

After a couple of hours walk, I called Shekhar suggesting to pull over to have a short break. However, Shekhar told me that it wasn't possible because there was no safe place to pull over and I had to keep walking. At the Canberra Avenue intersection, we took a left turn towards the Manuka Oval. Shekhar parked the van outside the Oval and started walking towards me. I was so relieved when we finally arrived at the Manuka Oval, where traditionally Prime Minister’s eleven plays against the visiting team.

Shekhar and I had a coffee and a snack at the Café at the Manuka Court. We went over to the supermarket to purchase a few items. We walked backed to the van and drove back to Madhu Bhayia’s house, where his wife Sujatha had already prepared delicious South Indian lunch. Afterwards I went to bed for a quick afternoon nap. By the time I got up, Madhu Bhayia had come home from the office. We had a good chat over a cup of masala chai and snacks. Both sons of this generous couple from Hyderabad had a great time playing games with Shekhar. We took some photos with the van and the sons enjoyed looking at the facilities inside the van. Later we had dinner followed by another cuppa. Then Shekhar and I again went to sleep in the bedroom.

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