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The Mystical Adventures of Tess and Jack

Cosy Kodaikanal!

INDIA | Wednesday, 18 January 2012 | Views [1014]

Feeling decidedly better and ready for more mystical adventures, we bade beautiful Kerala goodbye and embarked on our final Indian Railways trip. By this stage we felt we were ready to go all out and had booked two second class overnight tickets to Madurai, our kick off point to the hill station of Kodaikanal. Indian train + no aircon + lack of sleep does not a happy girl make, so again I was a little trepidatious about this move. It actually turned out to be pleasantly hassle-free. After staking our claim to our pre-booked bunks (there were some shady types around trying to steal some sneaky Zzzs) we settled down for some quiet  reading to pass the early evening, but were told firmly by a rude, pink-shirted man in the opposite berth that we had to turn our lights off because it was ‘sleeping time’ (9.30) and he was tired. Being the happy, easygoing and awesome characters we are , we agreed, and the enforced bedtime turned out quite well because within 15 minutes I was in a deep lariam coma and didn’t rouse until half an hour before our stop. Jack fared well also, although was slightly disturbed by the constant (literally…well almost) train horn.

After a very bollywood-ful bus trip, we arrived in Kodai feeling slightly dazed but in high spirits. The air was crisp, the sky blue and the streets relatively wide and quiet, and we could tell straight away we were somewhere we’d like. In fact we were in such a good mood that we allowed ourselves to be touted by three hopeful candidates at the bus station. One and two showed us the overpriced, dark rooms with ugly and opulent furnishings (think crushed velvet) that are popular with Indian tourists, but we struck accommodation gold with # 3 who took us to a gorgeous heritage cottage from the 1800s, with high ceilings, bay widows and open fireplaces, all for 1000 rupees (about $20) a night. After one night the cottage had gained points for not being haunted, but lost a few for the fact that the local pack of semi-wild dogs called the backyard home and spent the night fighting, howling and strewing rubbish around outside our window. But we were so cozy and content that we let this minor drawback pass and extended our stay to four nights. The time was quite blissfully spent sleeping in, reading in the sun on our verandah, catching up on washing (see washerwoman pics) and gorging on Tibetan food and more homemade choccie. We also introduced ourselves to the classic Indian after-dinner treat/narcotic, paan (which is a whole heap of stuff…not sure exactly what but there was def coconut and lime paste) wrapped up in a betel leaf, which you chew and spit out. A decidedly acquired taste! We also got to witness the awesome view (of fog) and cheap  plastic crap on offer at Coaker’s Walk and had a pleasant 3 km downhill walk (we caught the bus back) to a Jesuit natural history museum with lots of freaky amateur taxidermy and your standard range of semi-developed human fetuses etc. AND to make my mother proud I will also throw in that I re-learned how to ride a bicycle around Kodai’s lake. After approx 17 years out of the saddle I was a little shaky and felt slightly stupid – this didn’t seem to matter to the crowds of 12 year old Indian boys (the demographic which clearly finds me the most attractive) who followed us around calling out ‘hey sexy, where you from?' and 'I love you'. My ass felt truly awful on the bus trip the next day...



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