Monday, October 24, 2005

In Munnar

I leave Cochin at around 1PM ish. By the time i've taken a rickshaw, a ferry to the mainland, and then another rickshaw to the bus station, it's 2PM - and although I showered before departing, my shirt is now completely saturated in sweat from the one hour journey to the bus station.

I manage to find the bus to Munnar, find myself a nice seat in the back with leg-room, and settle down for the long journey ahead. However, it appears the ticket-collector likes that seat too, and decides to share it with me. This minor inconvenience is more than worth it considering the lack of leg-room in the other seat.. However, I do feel significant pity for him at one point, once I realize quite how bad I smell... I've yet to adjust to the weather here, and deodorant is a losing battle - soon enough, you end up smelling. Oh well. Perhaps he'll think twice about sitting next to a dirty foreigner next time.

3 or 4 hours in to the journey, as we begin to hug steep hill roads, with lush tropical cover on both sides, the sky opens - and it starts to rain. This continues for the last 2 hours of the journey, so that when we arrive - it is both dark, and very wet. Lovely.

The lawyer I met in Cochin gave me some advice on a place to stay, and so I hop off the bus, and into a waiting rickshaw. I give him the rough directions i have to the place, negotiate a price (10 rupees), only to find out that its is a 3 minute drive, maybe less.. I feel somewhat like a sucker, but well, it's wet, and I don't even want to walk those 3 minutes in the rain.

The first place I check-out is awful.. he wants 300 a night, the rooms look gross, and have cold water. Which is fine in most places, but we're cold enough here that the beds all have blankets, and hot water is a must.

Sligtly down the road (with the rickshaw still following me, trying to get a kickback from the hotel), I find a guest-house with available rooms. I end up getting a room with 4 beds, cable tv, and a hot shower, all to myself, for 200 rupees (under 5 bucks). Sweet! My first time in India with cable TV, and so I spend much of the evening watching western movies, and western tv shows...

I woke up today at 1PM..slightly oversleeping, but after the 5 hour bumpy ass bus journey yesterday, I think I deserve it. There's not much to the town - although the views of the tea-growing in the hills around is pretty cool. I'll explore tomorrow, and hopefully wake up early enough to avoid the rain...

I wander round the market, and find a firework shop, walk past it, until the little boy in me revolts, and drags me back. Now, i'm not completely stupid. I know that fireworks are dangerous, and India is not the best place in the world to have your hand shot off.

So - I buy 10 bottle rockets, and a pack of 50 firecrackers - all things that are illegal in Virginia, with the express plan to pay some small kid to light them for me later. He'll have a good time, and I won't face any risk. Perfect solution eh? (until his hands are blown off).

Total cost for fireworks: 2 dollars. Sweeeet!

Internet is expensive here, and slow.. my first modem experience in India.. so don't expect too much internet access while i'm here.

Diwali, the festival of lights, is in 8 days, so I need to figure out at some point, where I'll be for that. I want to be in a large enough place so that I can see people celebrating in style.

More later.

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