in Coimbatore, have a few hours to kill before my train so this is a long one.. Will be staying at the Bijus Tourist Home in Cochin and will look for something else tomorrow.
In Mysore, took a tour packed on a tired old bus with only the tour guide speaking English - many people tried but I couldn't understand a word they said.The day ended up 13 hours long, the ladies I shared a seat with motioned for me to come with them, others offered fresh cut fruit (yes, I declined), left their kids with me while they collected shoes and together at various times we looked for our bus (they kept moving it). Not a spectacular tour, but I think I experienced the 'smell' of India for the first time fortunately, not too strongly, wondering if I would smell when I got home. I didn't, but my comb is black and if i scratch an itch, my fingernail is black.
The food, including their sweets, are great, won't be losing any weight any time soon. Wagonloads of green grapes, watermelon, pineapple and pani puri stands on the street are driving me crazy because I can't eat it.
Also went to a silk making factory - this was amazing - no cameras allowed, felt like stepping back into the 1920s on the "how it's made" program. They gave me a badge, and pointed the way - there was no guide, I just wandered around and the people working who spoke English told me what they were doing. They let me feel the silk as it was been spun, wound, warped, woven, etc. The guy who dyes the silk was there, just dunking it in a tub and hanging it to dry (before spinning) In the spinning room, there were about 200 little spinning wheels (2 ft diameter) turning it into thread.
The weaving was done by machines, maybe twenty in the area (no ear protection for the workers and no machine guarding!!!!). I was able to walk right up and stand with them (can't believe that no one has ever caught their clothing in here). Other times, not entirely sure where to go, just wandering and no one seemed to care; what a trusting bunch.
When i was leavaing the hotel, the guy at the front desk clerk didn't have change, so he called another open. This guy unzipped his fly, reached in and pulled out a wad of bills, which the clerk gave me my change from. What was i going to say? I don't want the money that came out of that guys crotch? It had taken 15 minutes up to this point to check out, so, i took it. $10 is alot of money here, used Purell and got rid of it asap. Despite the yuck factor, I had to laugh.
Also reminded me the airport at Sri Lanka, upon entering, a femail security guard felt me up and down before i realized what was happening, it was over before i knew it (kind like my relationships with men). Yeah, I felt slightly used but had gotten over it by the time they did it a second time getting on the plane. Had to laugh again, but can see how it may make some women very uncomfortable.
In Ooty, went hiking for a day with some others from the UK and Belgium - finally meeting some other tourists - which was great. Walked through fields of sheep, tea plantations (the ladies were picking but no pics allowed - private property - allowed to walk through but no pics at certain times), small village, stopped for lunch at a local place and then climbed up to a high spot. Wonderful day, would have stayed longer but the nights were freezing with no heat in cottage-like rooms.
Took the toy steam engine train down through the mountains, spectacular scenery, lots of nice people on the train (pics don't capture it at all). When we stopped to get more water for the train, the monkeys cam running, as we left our compartment, one came in and pooped on the seat (not mine) but we were able to take care of it all with my 10 squares of emergency toilet paper.
|Train down from Ooty. We figure out that first class means you get to be farthest from the smoke - going through tunnels was awful, but still worth the trip.|
|Hiking, four dogs followed us up the mountain - the guides feed them.|
|Mysore zoo - very few barriers, so felt quite close to alot of the animals, , monkeys running around on the paths trying to get into the cages for food.|
|Locally eatery where we stopped for lunch while hiking|
|View from Dodda Betta (sp?) lookout in Ooty|
|At the lookout; posed with 6 different groups of teenagers, got to the point where i had to say no and get back to the car.|
|Train from Ooty.|
|Hiking through tea planation, unfortunately, the stream on the bottom left is green from the hydro plant further up.||l|
Love you Bubba