Off to the Rainforest Retreat


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November 21st 2007
Published: November 21st 2007
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Our bathroomOur bathroomOur bathroom

That ceramic pot is the hot water cylinder- heated by a wood burner outside the bungalow and lit every morning by the staff at the Retreat. Wonderful smokey smell- best bathroom ever!
Saturday 10th November. The day when finally Simon's Indian Experience really began. All 7 of us are from all kinds of backgrounds, but we are share an interest in sustainable living and the organic movement, and we all seem to get on pretty- indeed very - well.

First of all, we had to pile ourselves and possessions into a minibus, and become acquainted with a mode of transport which was to serve us well, if not comfortably for the next 10 days. That first day we met very bumpy roads, but had no idea that they were like 6 lane highways compared with the ones that we would meet deep in the countryside of Karnatika and Kerala. Bangalore itself seemed to go on and on and on, and even when it seemed definitively to haver petered out, the roadside settlements and shops went on. Even very small places seemed to have their coffee shops, banana and coconut stalls 'bakery' shops and a whole raft of others. As the landscape became more rural, we met more palms, sugar cane, working bullocks, goats sheep, cows attended by their companiable egrets. After lunch ( Rs 50 for a huge veg. thali and glorious salt lassi) the climb began, the roads deteriorated, and Indian driving came into its own. Overtake on a bend? Why not? Honk and honk till the car/bus in front gives way (which it won't)? Certainly. When it doesn't you will undertake it, then hoot again for good measure, only to be hooted back by the vehicle you've passed. Oddly, we came to think of this as fairly safe, because for all their bluster, the drivers are careful.

Finally we arrived at Rainforest Retreat, an organic plantation with guest bungalows run by the passionately enthusiastic and committed Sujata and Anu Goel..

One of the first things I did, as darkness suddenly fell at 6 o'clock, was simply to lie down outside, and listen to the forest sounds. It's like some complex symphony. suddenly a group of frogs will start their chorus, the noise swelling till they become quieter and others chip in with their own song. Multiple groups suddenly go all diminuendo to be succeeded by a different crescendo, while an occasional bird adds its own counterpoint.

Our little bungalows are right within the forest, as are the crops they grow- no regimented plantation rows here, but vanilla,
Vanilla podsVanilla podsVanilla pods

All over the place at the plantation
coffee beans, cardamom, bananas, pepper, and wes pent much of that evening and the next day exploring.

By the way, as I unpacked, I moved my rucksack and a clockwork toy sprang out. Only it wasn't..... it was n angry and upset hawkmoth, chattering crossly all the time we were evicting it.


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7th February 2008

Coffee plant
Hi In one of the photo title you have writtem "Pepper Plants" but it should be "Coffe Plants" Regards Somanna
21st February 2008

Ooops!
Thanks for that! Actually, I hope I can recognise them for real, but photos, particularly MY photos. can confuse me................... Margaret

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