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Published: August 8th 2018
The main road before the rain got worse
So the rain hasn’t stopped, or paused, or lightened since yesterday. This means that the paths through the estate are now streams and you cannot walk anywhere without getting very wet. I described the rain yesterday as torrential, it was, today I discovered that it can rain much harder than that. I’m not even sure I can think of an adjective to describe it....
Last night we discovered our first little travel fail. We meant to wash our clothes at the hotel before we move on to Alleppey. Turns out they only pick up clothes before 5pm and return them the next evening, I.e. we had missed the boat. we, therefore, spent this morning washing our clothes in the bath using the rather nice hand made scented bar soap provided by the hotel (we have yet to source some laundry soap). This leads us to our second issue - nothing here dries! It’s 90% humidity and pretty chilly at the moment (my hair hasn’t dried since I washed it 2 days ago).
On the plus side breakfast had yummy banana fritters again. I was also brave enough to try the ghee dosa with some curry on top as well
as my usual poached eggs. It was surprisingly tasty. Stephen hasn’t yet decided curry for breakfast is a good idea but has been enjoying dosa and eggs despite the western foods on offer.
The rest of the morning was spent reading whilst willing the rain to abate a little and the clouds to lift. Being in the clouds meant visibility reduced to about 5m at best, hardly ideal given all the other things to do around here involve spectacular views.
By lunch time we were thoroughly bored and decided to go out despite the rain (the bbc forecast had assured us the rain would stop between 130-430, it didn’t). We walked up into the hamlet and found our driver from yesterday recognised us and after dropping off his passengers agreed to take us to Eravikulam National Park and back. The drive was fairly unremarkable except for passing through some deep ford like crossings where the road had been yesterday!
The park itself was worth visiting despite the rain. You get dropped off at the ticket office (400 for foreigners, 120 for Indians!) and then get a coach into the park itself. Given the area was designed to
protect wildlife from encroaching tea plantations (originally to preserve them for hunting) I was surprised to find tea plantations in the reserve. You get dropped off at the ‘tourist centre’, a small area with a shop and some information about the history of the park and it’s flora & fauna. Once in the park you’re not allowed to leave the road or walk more than approx 1km before having to turn around. The weather meant we couldn’t see the views but we did get to see the Nilgiri Tahr (a rare goat like antelope native to this area). We also got to see some Neelakurinji blossoming - a shrub which only flowers once every 12 years turning the mountain into a blue carpet. Unfortunately not enough of them were flowering yet to make the hillside blue but we were pleased to see some.
On the walk back down to the bus the winds picked up and it started to rain even more heavily (I didn’t think this was possible!). Our trousers soaked, our socks soon absorbed plenty of the water and we squelched our was back down. We have had to wring out our socks, and pour water out
View from our seat in the ‘hotel’ we found for lunch (a small cafe)
of our boots!
Hungry and cold we were pleased to see our patient tuktuk driver waiting for us. Saying we wanted food he told us not to eat here but to wait until Munnar. He then dropped us off outside a small shop where we had hot tea, and broke all rules of India food - we ate a delicious chicken thing which we had not seen getting cooked! We also had a lovely, hot banana fritter (after diligently alcohol gelling our hands despite seeing them getting quite extensively handled by our server!).
Back at the hotel our room is now decorated with wet clothes whilst we hide under the duvet in an attempt to keep warm. The thunder & lightening has now started so we are going to go and find some dinner before they cut the electricity....
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