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Published: February 19th 2009
So we had escaped unscathed from old man river and his crazy pad lock throwing antics. In contrast the bus journey through the rolling hills of the Western Ghats that followed, was beautifully serene and peaceful. It took 3hrs and we snaked our way through deep lush green jungle to the hill station of Kodai kanal. In those 3 hours the temperature plummeted from somewhere in the mid thirties to around 6 or 7 degrees at 2000 meters above sea level. As soon as the bus pulled into the station, touts leapt up their feat and ran to the bus windows, eying their potential prey in us and a few other backpackers that were among the majority of locals. We got out and started walking down Kodai’s main street with a string of touts in close pursuit. It was off season In Kodai and these guys were eager to say the least. They were all on a commission from the hotels and if you go with them their commission is just added to your room rate making it pretty hard to get a cheap room. After ten minutes of walking around two of them just wouldn’t go away. Every time we
went into a hotel to ask the price of a room they just stood outside, waving their arms around at the reception desk. At one stage everyone was just shouting at me. I was standing on the steps of a guest house. The two touts were shouting,” come with me, no come with me”. Pam was shouting,” Stu tell them to go away’. It was one of those surreal and manic moments and I just had to laugh and tell everyone to stop shouting at me. I gently asked the two gentlemen to finally leave us alone and got Pam to wait with the bags in an Internet café and 10 calm minutes later we had a spotless and cheap room in the middle of Kodai Kanal.
We had come to Kodai to trek in its surrounding hills, so the next day we Got up early and after a trip to these brilliant weekend markets we started just walking up this track and into the hills. It was so beautiful. The air was cold and so fresh and we started making our way along some tracks through the jungle. It got pretty steep and one track quickly turned
into two and three tracks. I remembered the old cub scouts dib dib dib and started leaving arrow sticks at trail junctions in case we got lost. So then we got lost and instead of going back we decided to follow this smaller trail down to where we reckoned the river was. The trail narrowed and got pretty steep and the jungle got very thick. Pam asked did I think there might be snakes around and I said,” of course there are no snakes in the thick jungle in the middle of India” and we trundled on!!!! We eventually found the river and followed it down to where we had started. Pam was very understanding about being dragged through the jungle and enjoyed every minute of the grueling journey through snake infested bush. She said all the red scratches on her face and arms would match her red shawl and thanked me for the experience….
The next day we went for what was supposed to be a calmer stroll. Pam’s enthusiasm was stinted by the previous days excitement so ‘SOMEONE” had to turn the clock 2 hours forward in order to get her out of bed for, “trek
day two, return to the jungle”. We got fresh rolls and cakes from the bakery and set out for a stroll and a picnic at 12pm, actually 10am. We met, by a random chance, this Irish American named Mr. Moloney who had lived in Kodai for 20 odd years as we walked up the hill. He told us about a walk through a forest and up to the top of a waterfall where we could have our picnic in some beautiful surroundings. He didn’t tell us about the wild Bison which were the size of baby elephants nor did he mention how dangerous they are as they can charge without warning at any time. This information was divulged to us by the forest warden who had to guide us to safety around the Bison. It must also have slipped Mr. Maloney’s mind to warn us that a Bison poo is as big as a JCB wheel, the back one at that. When the steam from one such Bison poo wafted up from the boot that had stepped in it, it was no surprise, to my detriment, that the boot belonged to a now pretty grumpy Pam. We sat and ate
our picnic in relative safety and then Pam scraped the pile of poo from her shoe (see attached photo of a smiling Pam). That evening we got on a bus to our final Indian destination, Pondicherry.
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