Much ado about Mirayoor.

Trip Start Feb 19, 2006
Trip End Oct 01, 2006

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Flag of India  ,
Saturday, May 6, 2006

Through more of the many wildlife preserves, the men at the gates all waving, smiling, and letting me go straight through. Saw many monkeys, spotted deer, but still not the elusive leopard. Not so sure I would want to see one of those anyway. .
The road and land flattened out a bit, though I did not lose too too much altitude. I took my time, enjoying the dramatic scenery, and eventually came up many switchbacks to the cloud-shrouded tops of the high mountains.
The going was rather slow, as the roads were in fairly poor condition at times, and there were many hairpin curves, in addition to the incredibly dramatic scenery for which my poor photos cannot do justice. There were many gates to pass through, as there were many tea plantations on the way.
The hour grew late, and with Munnar still 40 km away, I decided, when I came to a small village called Mirayoor, to see if there was a lodge in town. The winding road is pretty much the only strip in town, and a large christian church on the hill watches over the whole area like some guardian, keeping out the heathens. . .

Pulling into "Asha Lodge," I asked for a price. A couple, perhaps about 30, man and wife, clean and well groomed, told me, yes, they had a room. In fact, the wife was an english teacher of children, and so I was able to communicate fairly well with her. On an aside, most Indians who speak English say they prefer to talk to those who have an American inflection in their accent, as, they tell me "English" english is too heavily accented and hard for them to understand. Score one for the colonies.
They gave me a price of 100 rupes, fair enough, and showed me the room. A good clean room, much better and larger than I had gotten in Ooty, with good lighting, attached bath with western-style toilet (though a bit of a disappointment for one who has gone so native) and even a chair and writing desk. Perfect.
Walking about the town, it became clear that I was the only westerner there. I stopped into a Dhaba, and the man inside was overjoyed to see me. Ordered a Thali, and he kept putting food on my plate, until I could eat no more. I resolved to come back and have breakfast there on the next day. .

Finding beer in Mirayoor is difficult. There are no brandy shops, but the man from the dhaba told me that there was a "bar" 1 km down the road. Walking in my well-worn sandals, I found the resort hotel/family restaurant/bar and strode in. The dark room was filled with indian men only, of course no women, and when I walked up to the bar I found another peculiarity of Kerala--One has to go to a counter, tell the man what one wants, and then take the receipt to the bar to get the cold beer. One cold Kingfisher later, and I was on my way back to the Hotel Asha, to write be candlelight and retire, ready to have Rocinante's sissy bar welded to the back rack for stability in the morning.

The windows open and are nothing more than glass in a frame, with a set of bars over them. The young boy, nephew of the couple that ran the place (his mother and father had been killed) walked by numerous times, singing like a little angel. Over the door to my room, and none of the others, was a painting of Jesus, one of the familiar "corazon de jesus" portraits that are seen so many times in Latino houses. Many christians here.
Eventually the boy grew the guts to talk to me, and had very good english. He was joined by the rest of the family outside my window, who were fascinated by me writing, and finally the mother asked me to come out and play a few songs on guitar.
This I did, and they all enjoyed it very much, though again, I think only half of the words were understood. A rickshaw pulled over, and some Indian tourist types came out to listen as well. There was a quickly growing crowd, and by about 10 pm, it was time to retire. These people go to sleep in the cool of the night, as by about 10 am it gets quite warm. They rise early, about 7:30 in the morning, to enjoy the day. A good schedule.
The day dawned cool, and I found a place called "mommy and daddy" coffee house. A true Indian chai house, and the coffee they served was locally grown, brewed by hand, and truly delicious. After two months of "milk coffee" (heated milk with Nescafe instant in it), this was like heaven. . Two cups later I set out to find the welder.
After asking about welding at a couple of garages off the main drag, finally I came up to the welding man, bits and pieces of burnt metal and body parts from cars littering the back lot, and signed to him what I wanted done. He took measurement by eye, and ground the proper chamfer in the tubular steel to fit the braces I had thought of.
Another man from the garage next door came and did the welds, and finally Rocinante's bar was worthy of the punishment of the Indian roadways.
40 rupees later, I was a happy man, and decided to have a little siesta (it was afternoon) and then go on a little ride-about. . .
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