Puncture Count Up and Running
Sep 05, 2010
Aug 21, 2011
Where I stayed
SMM Cottages (cottages they were not)
. Sitting by the Periyar River we saw Kingfishers also. Returning to the homestay the guide pulled over and insisted that we meet a local legend. An old guy looked in through the car window, he was famous in the region for catching King Cobras with his bare hands. Our guide also told us how once this expert had been bitten and spent weeks in a coma. The golf ball size lump on his thumb was proof that this was a true story. We returned to Ms Sudah and were once again treated to a great breakfast, curry again but it was late so we pretended it was lunch and wolfed it down. After saying goodbye to this lovely family we cycled a pretty flat and straight forward 10 miles. The sun was now up and it was really hot again. We then started to go uphill, it was a serious climb. We saw very few people until stopping at a waterfall for lunch. We did see a few monkeys though which was very exciting. After lunch stop we kept cycling but the hill did not flatten off. Up and up we went. A very nice man at a roadside stool made us coffee to keep us going but this was getting too much. We cycled through a very heavy patch of rain but still we went up. The hill had made progress very slow going and when we approached the night stop of Munnar, the light had pretty much gone. We had done 40 miles uphill. I would like to try and explain how that feels with huge bags on the bike, but words cannot describe the pain. When we got to the town we took the first room available, again it was a dump but we couldn’t face searching around town in the pouring rain for a better place. On moving the bikes inside we discovered a flat tyre. Yes, PUNCTURE NUMBER 1. Thank goodness it had only happened in the last mile or so, repairing it half way up the hill would have zapped much needed energy. We took a rickshaw into town and grabbed some very spicy soup and good noodles then returned to the grubby room which did have the bonus of a TV. Gone in 60 Seconds
was just the sort of film we were in the mood for watching. Nicholas Cage is brilliant.
The rain was so heavy overnight, the noise on the roof made it hard to sleep. It was a close call whether or not we could make it our bird watching, some of the roads had been flooded from the rain storm overnight. However, off we went with our guide (Mrs Sudah's son) and a much more expert birdwatcher, a doctor from Kerala. The size of his camera suggested he really liked bird spotting . No sooner had we left the house, we saw our first rare bird. The Malabar Grey Hornbill was one of the big hitters around this part of the world, its huge beak making a great first spot. We continued into the jungle, our guide disappearing off the path to look for something special. He called for us to follow and then asked us to find what he had discovered. We couldn’t see anything until he pointed out a pair of very rare nocturnal birds sleeping on a branch. The Frogmouths were so well camouflaged it was unbelievable that he had found them. We were in luck, more rare endemic species followed. The Black Baza caused all sorts of excitement, as did the beautifully colourful Malabar Trogan