Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Monday, 29 April 2013

Incredible India - Day 2 - To Munnar and beyond

After a good and much needed night of sleep in Fort Cochin we woke up late and much refreshed. we went down for breakfast and opted for the 'English' egg breakfast rather than Indian curry breakfast for our first morning. It was pretty tasty. While we were having breakfast our transport arrived. We had hired a car & driver for the week. Salim was to be our travel companion and guide for the week. Once we ere acquainted and packed up we hit the road after a stop at a local shopping mall where we stocked up on snacks and provisions, and did some window shopping. I must say I love checking out the grocery stores in different lands and seeing the ranges of products, exotic fruits and veggies and the prices. It's so interesting!
Salim and his car
Ahhh Gems!
Eventually we hit the road an headed in-land in the direction of Munnar. We enjoyed the view and scenery en-route, although the roads were quite windy and nauseating in places and we had to stop a few times to let the boys breathe and walk around as they felt quite ill in the back. The stops turned out to be interesting and we investigated road-side stalls and fruits trees and what not which is all part of the adventure! It is HOT in India though so it was always a welcome reprieve to get back in the car and the relief of the cool air-con again. Salim was always very good about ensuring that the car stayed nice and cool for us. He also pointed out attractions along the way and gave us insight to local life, culture, customs and living in India.
The road from Kochi to Munnar
Road travel in India is not fast. the roads are narrow, and winding and pretty busy (in Kerala anyway) and so there is constant passing and hooting and winding in and out of traffic. The Indians hoot pretty incessantly as they drive. It's just how it is done there. It means I am here, I want to pass, I am passing, get out the way, please pass me, hey you, hello, sod off, don't hit me, I'm bored... pretty much anything from what i can tell. People are not offended by the hooting at all and it is generally not at all aggressive or antagonistic. in fact a lot of vehicles have stickers on the back saying 'please use horn'. It really is how they communicate their presence to each other. It can be very handy when rounding bends on narrow winding roads and at least you know in advance that someone is approaching from the other direction. So driving is not a quiet affair there because the hooting is constant.
On the way to Munnar
By late afternoon we got to Munnar and the  hills covered with beautiful tea plantations. They are really gorgeous. We still had a ways to go though so didn't actually stop in Munnar, although the town itself didn't look all the interesting really. We carried on beyond Munnar to Camp Anaerangal - further up in the mountains. It took a while to get there and the road was quite steep and none of us really knew where we were going, but eventually we got there at dusk.
Fruit in a market in Kochi
Camp Anaerangal is a camp site with 'luxury' permanent tents (with electricity, beds  and en-suite bathrooms). There are only 6 tents. There were 2 other Indian guys staying there but otherwise it was just us. We were served a cool refreshing sweet drink when we arrived.

After being stuck in the car all day, A and I decided to go for a walk before dark to stretch our legs and see the landscape. The boys opted to stay in camp (and make an arsenal of weapons - spears, swords etc out of sticks and stones). We walked down the hill and past some rural village folk, who were all very friendly waving and smiling. Until we found the strangest thing. We found an artificial cave which on closer inspection contained Jesus - on the cross. It was actually good Friday. But it just seemed so strange to be out literally in the sticks in the middle of no-where in India and to find Jesus! 
We headed back up the hill as night fell to enjoy a delicious Indian buffet dinner in the lapa. Chapattis, Dal, and several different vegetarian curries. It was delicious! After dinner we played Uno - until we discovered A is a complete cheat. So we played Bullshit instead - since that seems better suited to his cheating ways. Then we moved on to Poker! Eventually succumbing to tiredness and the lure of bed.
Camp Anaerangal

Next up DAY 3...

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