Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Greetings from the Wayanad

We made it to the Wayanad by bus, and the journey took about 3 hours.  We've discovered that bus travel in India, at least in Kerala, is very easy and there are lots of people to help us to find the right bus and to get out at that right stop.  The bus station in Calicut is HUGE and confusing. When Lloyd asked for the bus to Wayanad, he was first directed to the end of the stand, and then when he asked someone else, we were directed across the way, and then he asked again, and we were directed back to the first place where a bus was pulling out of the stand...and the conductor was motioning at us "Come quickly!"  I guess the message made it around the place that there were a couple of foreigners wanting a bus to the Wayanad...   We hopped on, pulled our packs on after us (next time we are travelling with less stuff) and found seats.  This time we were on a private bus rather than a government bus and it was a little more comfortable.   The driver had a couple of different horns--one was a high-pitched blast and the other was a two toned horn which he switched between, using the former when he was really serious about needing some vehicle to get out of his way.  Our seats were right at the front so we had a great view (or maybe not so great for the squeamish) of the road and all the swerving around vehicles, near misses, and so on.   The road conditions were great--a new road surface probably within the last couple of years with no potholes.  On the way up from the coast, the road was a precipitous series of switchbacks up a mountain, and then suddenly we were  into farming country again--rice paddies, coffee plants, and banana palms.

We found our guesthouse with the aid of the tuk-tuk driver who phoned our hosts to find out where they are--and it turned out to be less than a kilometre from where we got off the bus...  It's a good thing these tuk-tuk drivers aren't afraid to ask for directions.

Had another interesting experience on the road--later today, on our way back from the Wayanad Heritage Museum, we came upon a traffic accident just after it happened.  There was a collision between a car and a motorcycle, and the motorcyclist was IRATE.  Our tuk-tuk driver stopped, and we got out as well, and shortly a fight erupted with the motorcyclist kicking and slapping the driver.  Then another bystander said to us "It's all part of the game!" and soon our driver was back in the tuk-tuk and off we went.  He said that the car driver was drunk.  It is absolutely amazing that with all the traffic we have witnessed no accidents, and only this one in its aftermath.

Our guesthouse for the next couple of days is basic but clean in a traditional house.  It will be interesting to see how well we sleep on a hard Indian bed!  But at least we have two soft pillows each.  Tomorrow we have booked a jeep for some travel in the hinterland.  We don't have WiFi in our bedroom--we're in our host's office (he's a lawyer so there are papers all over his desk...) using his connection....  Until tomorrow...

Thanks for reading!  When I write these posts, it feels like I'm writing a letter to each and every one of you.  So the adventure continues...

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