Edit Blog Post
Published: November 12th 2012
Climbing into the Ghats
Beautiful views round every bend
I woke after the longest sleep of my trip – 7 hours. Dawn was creeping through the grey fug of pollution that hangs over this part of India. After I packed, I went out to the sitting area, where M__ was already enjoying the quiet. After some gentle conversation and note-writing, the steward offered us coffee or tea. By which time JK joined us from his single boat - which immediately sailed away to get ready for the next passengers. By the time we finished our coffee, it was time (7:30) to take our bags and join the larger boats for breakfast. We had to wait a bit, and, while enjoying our re-commenced sail to Alleppy, we ate with gusto: banana fritters, omelets, toast (both browned and damp!?) and fresh pineapple juice.
An hour’s fairly brisk sailing brought us to a stone quay, along which we walked for about ten minutes, looking at people washing clothes and themselves or walking to church for mass.
On the bus we settled in for over four hours. The last half of the journey followed fairly new, severely winding roads with spectacular drop-off vistas of the Western Ghats. Most of the vegetation consisted
Silver oak trees shade the tea bushes
of palms and deciduous trees, although nearer to Thekkady
we saw beautiful tea plantations, looking like puffy quilts in shades of green.
About when the jerking and bouncing of the bus hurtling along at 30 kph was becoming too much to bear, we pulled into Spice Village
, an exquisite resort.
They greeted us with hot tea made from tealeaves flavoured by our choice of fresh growing herbs from about twelve plant pots. I selected peppermint to soothe my stomach, although one mild cup was not enough. Eventually we found our way to individual chalets that were probably larger than many houses here: large bedroom and sitting room and large bathroom, plus a small veranda all the way round under the thatched roof. Our lunch was a set menu from which we were served everything: roasted tomato soup, for me a chicken appetizer and for the others a beef patty and local cheese, seven entrée dishes including pan fried fish and roast pork, three small desserts, although just fruit for me. Even that was too much! I asked JK, who was sitting beside me, about the vast quantity. He said it was quite normal, because for a guest to finish
Welcome hot tea with herbs to our individual taste
the food would mean there was not enough.
At 3:30 we drove a short way to Angela Spice Farm with a charming, handsome guide, Taj. He walked with us on a tour of naturally growing spices, challenging our knowledge and how much we were learning. I took far too many photos.
Returning almost to the hotel, Taj stopped the bus at a spice store, presumably belonging to the farm. He once again “toured” us through the spices, this time in 200g packets, each under 200 rupees ($4.00), except for saffron, which was packaged in little plastic boxes as usual and priced accordingly. I bought whole nutmeg and a few curry spices, plus sugar encrusted ginger and spiced cashews – of these he had temptingly opened a packet for us to sample.
Back at the hotel, I asked for a sari demonstration, as suggested by the hotel brochure. A lovely young woman took four of us, all women, to a conference room, where she asked for a volunteer. As the organizer, I was it. The process was straightforward, although practice would certainly be required. The key first step is tucking the sari into the string of the petticoat,
My sari friend
Theoretically I now know how to put on a sari
or my belt in this case. She was horrified when I suggest using a belt as a regular practice. To our surprise, the second step is to arrange, and in the case of her uniform, to pin the pleats of the decorative last yard. Third step, the remainder of the material is pleated and pinned and tucked into the petticoat (belt). This leaves two “pouches” of fabric in front; these are pulled tight across the midriff, under the rise of the decorative end. Easy to walk in.
Tot: 2.524s; Tpl: 0.076s; cc: 11; qc: 29; dbt: 0.0291s; 2; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb