Fast forward the 2 months which transpired after the last ride to Warangal where we had fried and roasted ourselves in the Sun, I observed a window of a cooler weekend on the weather charts (temperatures were rising on either sides), and decided to cash on it, of course! And because of all the hiding from the Sun in the past few months, this time it was Coastal Andhra. On the maps, mark the line to the closest beach from Hyderabad, and that was it.
All bungees tied and the safety gears fastened, 3 of us headed to the highway on that Saturday morning. Just about an hour into the ride, we encountered something which eventually the whole trip came to be about -Rains. Rains and fishes. Actually, rains, fishes, prawns and crabs! We sought shade for sometime to avoid the drenching, which later on we got accustomed to, anyway. We got drenched, and then we got dried, and then we got drenched again. And this went on for the entire 350 kms ride which lasted over 8 hours! I remember enjoying Aloo and Onion pakodas in the rains and gulping them down with the highway chai, and it was awesome!
Per the rough plan that we had, we reached Ramapuram Beach and were pondering over the next course of action – food and accommodation were the basic and utmost priorities. Our plan of camping got drowned with the setting Sun as the beach was assumed to be a private one by the resorts there. After the fried fish and the egg biryani, we headed out once again, for a cheaper harbor to shelter our ships and retire for the night. A hotel at Chirala beach it was, at 1200/- for the night.
We got up by 5 am the next day, just like the locals and strolled down the beach where the dawn had broken in full action! Boats and ships, small and big, had swarmed the sea until the horizon, and back to the shore, which in turn flaunted the fresh catch of the day. Everything was happening right there, and right then:
Fishermen loaded their boats with the nets, bait and ice and went hitting the waves and into the deep seas for the game. Some others returned with the faces delighted to the tune of the sizes of their catch. The regular and the obvious stuff went directly to the fish market, set up right by the shore, while the big players caught hold of the traders for the bidding, again right by the beach. Fishes suited for all occasions – party and staple – lunch, b.fast and dinner, and the prawns and crabs, all found their listings in the market. Everything was a perfected and practiced chore.
Travel Tip – Chirala
Located on the Eastern Coast, Chirala offers you the taste of Coastal life and houses decent lodges. You can visit the Ramapuram Beach, the touristy Suryalanka beach and Bapatla beaches located nearby. These beaches offer tranquility and the beach resorts are worth the views, if they fit your budget.
The fish market deserves a special mention here. Do you know why the teachers used to yell, “Is this a classroom or a fish market?”. Well, I have it all figured out now – the chaos, the noise, and the smell are the contributing attributes. And top it up with the rains and the umbrellas quarreling for space, even better! The sellers shout out the prices and the buyers bargain, though one to one, but the whole world gets to know about it. And then one goes to the cleaners who clean your fishes, and throw the unneeded stuff for the dogs and birds to feast over. It’s a different experience!
While I was enjoying the scene from a little faraway, my friend went in for some shopping. She loved the sea food, and ended up buying a whole lot of stuff without an idea of how we would take it back the 350 kms on our bikes. A few were bought directly from the returning boat, too. A lot many times, she returned from the market with fishes the folks gave her for free as samples, translating to even more luggage!
With the rising Sun, hawkers too showed up with corn and the coconut water. Post that, we went for a back torturing and base assaulting boat ride into the sea. We had requested a few fishermen for a boat ride which they agreed for, with a humble charge. The hard board devoid of any cushioning made the morning waves hit our bases ruthlessly which threw us in the air more than once. It was fun! And then we entered water to play jump-and-swim with the waves, it was even more fun!
Once back, it was time to shower and pack up for the road. We had bought up a big thermocol container and ice to carry the items back and a couple more bungees sealed the deal. The return ride was just the regular fun stuff bike tourers run into, like some occasional off-roading, tree climbing, cursing the high beam traffic, heavy rains, the strong gushes of wind, tinted visor troubling in the night, bhai-you-lead-my-headlight-sucks, highway chai, etc etc.
And just like that, another 800 or so kms long weekend ride concluded with amazing experiences, stronger relationships and wet clothes. Chaitanya and I grew more accustomed to the riding styles of each other and it also offered learning space for the lady biker with us!
Oh and by the way, the fried prawns, roasted crabs and fish curry which we cooked from the luggage we had carried all the way back were super yummy and worth a feast!
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