The Misty mountain Hop. .

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

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Flag of India  ,
Monday, May 15, 2006

As of late, I have been thinking of Led Zeppelin songs which relate to my travels. .
Stairway to heaven is a bit like hampi, and walking up the hand-hewn steps to the temples at the top of the rocky hills. . Going through Ooty and Munnar with the clouds covering the mountains, well, the "misty mountain hop," and the whole time towards Varkalla I had stuck in my head "The Immigrant song," especially the line, slightly twisted around: "Varkalla I am coming. . . "
Soon "Kashmir" will be in the mental jukebox, though it will take a week or better through hotter and hotter climes to get to that fabled place. I could go further with "out on the tiles," and perhaps "moby dick," but I will spare you the details.

Up through the tea plantations again, through Munnar, many stops at waterfalls and such, places one can see in previous picture entries. . In Mirayoor we stopped to check e-mails, and kept on, hoping to make Coimbatore on the flip side of the mountains. Ooty, though the climate was quite nice, was a bit of an Indian honeymoon destination, and commercialized. After the quiet mountain air of Mirayoor, and the cool of Munnar, Ooty was out.
Going most of the way to Coimbatore, we thought we had the right road, and though the sign clearly had an arrow to that direction, we found ourselves once again in another town, on a highway, close to dark, and searching for lodging. 40 km east of Coimbatore--Pattamagdalam, or something like that. I will update the place name as I find it out. .
The old man at the desk of the only lodge in town had more hair growing out of his ears than I do out of my head. His glasses and mustache along with his lean old man physique made him look more than a little like Ghandi, and he couldn't give an answer on whether he had a room until he had finished his prayers. Carefully laying a pink flower in front of an icon of every hindu diety as well as pictures of his long-passed ancestors takes a while. Ond must be patient in India, prayers are serious business.
After a good amount of time he led us up to a simple room, with attached bath (if you could call it that, but I have long since lost all western hangups about such) and, because he knew that he was the only game in town, his price was 300 rupes, or 350 with TV. . Tired from the road, one will pay what the ferryman asks sometimes, especially if the alternative is driving 40 km to an unknown city where almost all signs are in the curly and indecipherable script of Malayalam/tamil. . The prices go up as the time gets later. So it was 350 rupes then, no two ways about it. Another night in a town that most westerners don't get to see. A delicious dinner in a roadside dhaba served on a palm leaf. Thali is quite popular, and this was particularly good.
The hospitality in Indian restaurants is great, especially when in a small town and being a rare westerner. They come and serve you over and over, and you have to tell them you are full before they stop. Indians treat foreigners as guests, and personal guests at that. If only all places in the world were such, there would be no need for diplomacy, a good feeling between peoples of the earth would reign. . Of course, they'd all be too full of delicious food to fight anymore. . .
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