Trip Start Apr 07, 2007
Trip End Sep 20, 2007

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Kodaicanal, Tamil Nadu 22nd-26th

22nd overnight bus from Pondy to Kodaicanal via Trichy & Dindigul - only 30 mins late starting off at 23:30 arr. 08:30 I finally managed to fall asleep 3.30-5.30 and then dosed on and off during the noisest rockiest part of the drive up the mountain (naturally being me I like to sleep through the good scenery), while C. only slept 23.30-3.30 so we took it in turns for some reason. Bus looked rickety and had no a/c but all windows open so it was grand with reclining seats and more room than in an air plane, and defo better than the Supabus from Hollyhead to London. Had booked Lily of the Valley hotel in Kodaicanal village from 23rd. and it's a fecking dump so we are actually roughing it now!!! Kodaikanal is a mountain town or hill station and is lovely with some more lovely people, a bizzare referred game of tag called kabaddi, it's 23 degrees and just started spitting rain, hurray!

And tonight is Champions League final Liverpool vs. Milan in Athens, so hopefully we will see it in tv....

A few days later:
So Kodaicanal in is in the Western Ghats mountain range (which is massive spreading over a few states) and is 6500 ft in elevation. It is home to 60% of plants used in ayurvedic medicines and 27% of all flowering plants (many of which have been seeded in Ireland so alot were familiar) and has very well stocked park called Bryant park which also had a summer festival on all week including a dog show where I got to hold cute puppies, but Indian dog shows are not like the ones on TV no preened dogs here, just dogs. Also there is a good viewing point down on the town called Coaker's walk but you have to time it as it's cloudy and rainy most afternoons. The centre piece of the town is the lake which has a 6-8km perimeter which is lovely for a walk around and also we rented a tandem to cycle around it one of the days only my saddle was wonky so it was bit of a torture! You could also rent boats and pedalos for the lake but the queues were nuts. There's a good tibetan market down there but the main drag of shops etc. are all up a hill from the lake and they make wicked local chocalate and unusually for India they make cheese here, well it is cool enough temperature wise. Also there's a big celtic cross dedicated to a Westmeath man who is responsible for a lot of the nice buildings in the town, speaking of which there were houses to equal anything in Killiney as well as all the usual Indian style houses.

Going to KK involves booking well in advance as we learned the hard way with the crappo accom - the 1st room had no shower or bath, the 2nd one was damp and dank with and Indian style toilet (but at western toilet room price) and no hot water which we spent one night in butit did have satellite tv at least, but oh no at 11pm when we wanted to see the match there had been a storm and satellite tv was out of action (and the rest of town closes then) which admittedly is not the hotels fault and the 3rd one (which we saw on their web site is supposedly suitable for honeymooners but in reality had rats in the roof) did have hot water 1 time it seemed to be beside a 7am picnic spot for Indian tour busses but weirdly they didn't actually serve breakfast at the hotel itself apart from one morning - we did try to find alternatives but really everything was booked out. However the search did lead us to the best hotel in town 'The Carlton' where they had lovely coffee and pastries on a verandah over looking the lake and later lovely dinner and GnT's by the fireside.

Saw all the scenery I missed on the way up on the way down including Silver Cascades waterfalls and lots and lots of cheeky monkeys.

Did I mention how much hair everyone has here, so thick and oiled and well kept, you always see men combing theirs and some of the maddest hair styles were interestingly in Kolkata while down in Tamil Nadu they have lots of shaved headed kids, and most women have long lush hair but short hair is little more common down here and very cute on the small girls. Also what litter louts they are - as bad as Ireland used to be. And as for the driving sweet Jesus but it's bad...
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