Kola Beach is a very picturesque cove with a look of the South Seas and an atypical (for Agonda) high end clientele. To get there, we waded across an estuary and climbed up over a steep headland offering an elevated view of Agonda and down again on to a small beach. A strip of sand is bordered by the sea on one side and a fresh water lagoon on the other. Framed artistically by leaning palm trees, surf spraying over stark black rocks. The scene is so perfect it looks landscaped – at the edge of the beach, canvas white and green “huts” are distributed among the trees and a palm-canopied café with comfortable bamboo chairs face the ocean. There is an air of exclusivity, confirmed when we discover the price of the huts. Sitting among the privileged at the café, we feel like crashers to a celebrity wedding.
As the sun begins to sink in the sky, a throng of men, women and children emerge from their huts and march toward the lagoon. It’s time for the evening swim. Have we broken through the time barrier and landed in postwar Britain at a Butlin’s Holiday Camp or a Communist Russia summer retreat beside the Black Sea? It’s time to return to the plebian familiarity of Agonda. As we reach the estuary the tide has come in – hoisting cameras and water bottles on our heads we wade across not knowing how deep the swirling waters are. The sun sets over the water as we complete the journey back up Agonda beach and arrive at our guesthouse in the dusk.
We’ve only met one other Argentinean before in India– he was a crazed pothead in McLeod Gunj who thought the lack of Internet service was a sabotage attack of the Indian Government. Herman is quite different. He and his wife have been on the road for twelve years, driving an old Graham Paige car made in the USin the late 1920s. During this time she’s given birth to four children, the first an 11 year old boy was born in North Carolina enroute to Alaska, the last Wallaby in Australiatwo years ago. The car is in pristine condition, and has been customized for their needs. The four children sleep on a wooden platform fixed to the roof of the car, the parents sleep in inside the car. A trunk is fixed to the back of the car and opens out to form a table with shelves to hold all their cooking equipment. On one side of the car, sits a cooking stove.
|Zapp Family and Graham Paige|
|Herman and Paloma Tinkering|
Herman wrote a book describing the first phase of their travels – to Alaskaand then through South America – self published it in China. He says proceeds from the book, “Spark Your Dream” finance their journey. His wife handles a web site and publicity. While in the US, the family was on Good Morning America, and NPR. All along the way, they attract people who support their venture, charging nothing to fix the car, providing free passage from one country to another by boat etc. Herman quotes “The worst the road, the friendlier the people; the better the road, the more distant the people.”