Trip Start May 31, 2007
107Trip End May 20, 2008
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By the afternoon, I was nibbling bread, sipping a homemade re hydration solution (lime, sugar, salt in mineral water) compliments of my lovely new tour leader who is a doctor of alternative medicine, and watching another HBO movie which in India, is constantly interrupted by annoying commercials. I am now fully versed in what a tragedy an unplanned pregnancy can be in India and how you can take the 'I-Pill' (morning after in USA) to ease your mind as well as other more mundane topics of interest. It seems, at least as far as reproductive options are concerned, India has the US beat in this regard.
The next day, the group took a second class sleeper train for about 5 hours...I took this quite literally and climbed up to the top bunk and crashed for the duration of the journey. We then transferred to a minibus which took us slowly up to the hill station called Ooty...or 'snooty ooty' as it was also known by...when it was primarily a summer retreat for the Brits to escape the Indian heat.
We stayed in the Rattan Tata Officer's home...quite a mold remediation project but otherwise charming! Had tea and snacks and dinner then tucked in for the night. The following morning we boarded the toy train which is registered UNESCO and had a blast sharing the carriage with a large group of 18 year old Keralan college students on a field trip. After a few moments of enjoying the view, the girls stood up and broke into loud singing, dancing and clapping. Soon enough we joined them, sang some Christmas songs and happy birthday (we were so unprepared for this spontaneous singing thing!) and then took more pictures and talked...all in the aisle of the train! The girls were so lovely and genuine...we kept getting on and off the car because there was some confusion as to whether or not there was room for us in the train...they broke out into loud cheers when they saw that we were actually going to be on the same train as us.
Afterwords, we went to a tea factory and saw how tea is made and then had a free afternoon to relax before going out to a fantastic dinner at a place called King's Cliff...sort of like, the Bohemian Club Light mixed with a summer home on a hill. We were seated in a nice cozy room with a huge fire, had drinks, including local Indian wine which my leader brought in plastic bottles because the place didn't serve alcohol and enjoyed some starters. We moved to the dining room for our dinner, desert and all to the sounds of different easy listening western music covers performed by two live musicians in the main living room area of the restaurant which used to be an 'imposing ancestral mansion' at least according to the brochure I picked up. We all piled into the minivan for our trip back to our place...it was dark, cool and a light rain was starting to fall.