South India, Day 5. Ponnani to Calicut (Kozhikode)

It’s been a rowdy, fishy morning, but now it’s time to take to the road again. I’m heading for Calicut, or what is now called Kozhikode. I like the old name better, more exotic. In fact, most Indians still refer to it as Calicut.

Since I left Cochin, the riding has been great. Meandering along the coastal roads, exploring the backwaters, meeting friendly locals, and just going where few cycle-tourers have ever been. I’m hoping for more of the same today.

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The road less travelled…is like opening a wrapped gift

 

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Sometimes, I would just ride until the trail peters out to the water’s edge and then I would turn back and explore another interesting looking one.

 

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Roads that lead nowhere often end with rewarding views.

 

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And interesting colours

 

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A primitive toll setup at one of the many bridges I’m crossing today. Not all have tolls though, and bicycles are free anyway.

 

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Sometimes I feel like a celebrity when locals, like this group here, runs across the road shouting excitedly, stopping me in my tracks  … just to take a wefie.

 

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Inevitably, I have to turn back to one of the main roads. This one is surprisingly nice to ride on; smooth, straight and with a wide shoulder.

Just before Calicut, the traffic becomes normal again … as in, noisy and chaotic. Strangely, with all that honking and getting buzzed by lorries, buses and autos, I don’t feel like I’m in danger of getting swiped off the road. All I have to do is keep my line and everyone else just avoids me. Kinda reminds me of the equally crazy traffic in Vietnam. I call it orderly chaos. I suppose if I can ride through this mess with a camera in one hand unscathed, I’ll do fine.

By the time I find a decent hotel, it’s getting quite dark, and I finally end up at a hotel called White Lines. 700R a night. I think I’ll stay another day and check out the town. And since it’s not too far from the railway station, I’ll enquire about taking the train to the next town of Kannur. From what I can see on the map, there’s not much chance of riding coastal roads on this leg, and riding Highway 17 all the way there is not fun at all.

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White Lines Hotel, located just off the main road behind these stalls. I wonder if it’s a reference to snorting dope…

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