Friday, February 17, 2012

Adventure by Jeep in the Wayanad

I'm posting from an internet cafe in Mysore.  Apparently there is no WiFi service in this city so I won't be including any photos with this dispatch.

Well, it's about time we rode in a jeep.  After all we have experienced all other forms of transportation in the past 6 weeks.  So yesterday we hired a jeep and driver to take us to three major sites n the Wayanad:  the Edakkal Caves, the Meenmuthi waterfalls, and the wildlife sanctuary.  Lloyd was all set to ride in the back but once again he didn't fit!  A common refrain heard from Lloyd in Asia..."I'm too big!"

The view looking out the back was interesting--I got lots of waves and greetings from young men and whole families on motorcycles...

Our first stop was the Edakkal Caves where there are carvings dating from over 6000 years.  We had to climb up about a kilometre, and our timing was perfect.  We were the first visitors of the day, and had the place to ourselves with the security guard enthusiastically describing the carvings.  We learned that "Edakkal" means "stone between two rocks" and looking up, yes, there was a huge boulder stuck in the crevice above our heads!  Presumably it has been there over 6000 years and wasn't moving.

On the way down we met about a 100 students on a day trip away from college, many of whom wanted to have their pictures taken with us.  We wonder how many times we've had our picture taken by others since we left home?

At the exit to the path leading up to the caves, we stopped to enjoy the young men picking pepper, all of them standing on pipes with alternating steps welded on each side.  They set the bottom of the pipe, and then wedge the top against the tree (the pepper vine is parasitic and grows on a host tree to a height of about 5 - 6 metres)....How much pepper can Peter Piper pick while perched on a pole??  Don't know, but they sure seemed happy in their work.

We then rattled off on a 4-wheel drive road to the waterfalls--a long walk down and then a seemingly longer walk back up.  It was a spectacular waterfall, even in this dry country at a dry time of year, and what was more amazing again were the number of young college students who were clambering up and down the path in their bare feet, having left their shoes at the top.

After visiting the waterfall, we stopped for lunch at a roadside "hotel" (what we might call a cafe) and enjoyed a birianyi with parantha bread for less than $2.  We ate well and spotted our driver's lunch too for that price.

Next we drove to the wild life sanctuary where we saw a family of elephants--three mothers and three babies, and a couple of lone tuskers (males) as well.  We also saw a spotted deer with her babies.  To cap off the excursion, the driver pointed out some tiger tracks on the side of the road.  The tiger is very elusive and rarely seen.

I have decided that this is my last jeep safari EVER--the jostling and rattling around in the back was a bit much. But Lloyd cautions me about being so dogmatic.  At least for this trip, that is my last jeep ride!!

Today we took the bus to Mysore, another rollicking ride.  Our host kindly took us to the bus stand where Lloyd inquired about the next bus, to be told it was at 9:45 AM.  The bus pulled in at 9:30, and we had to quickly get on and it left!  Indian time...  The conductor motioned us to the back seats, and what a bouncy ride we got.  There was also a little road incident within about 10 minutes of leaving the bus stand.  We heard a thump and clunk on the right side at the back, and looked over to see that there had been a collision between our bus and a motorcycle.  Whether the rider bumped into the bus, or the bus clipped the bike we can't say.  Anyway, the bus stopped (in the middle of the road, not off to the side), and pretty well everyone got out.  A crowd of men quickly gathered around the motorcyclist and his passengers (2?) and we could see lots of gesturing and loud voices as they presumably established the facts and responsibilities.  After about 15 minutes of this, the crowd dispersed and the passengers, driver and conductor came back to the bus, and we were away again.  I noticed that the bus smelled differently--testosterone and sweat??!  They all seemed excited--the three passengers in front of us kept on talking animatedly for quite a while.

We've checked into our hotel, had lunch, and have caught up with internet communication.  We will be picked up shortly by a tuk-tuk driver (the guy who took us from the bus station to our hotel) for some sight-seeing to the Royal Palace and the spice markets.  So, that's it for now--all caught up!

Janet and Lloyd

1 comment:

  1. Mysore -- a location or the state of you after the jeep ride?

    Don S