Munnar's tea fields and the 10 hr. mountainous bus ride to Ooty
"we pretend like we don't know each other, but the truth is that we all know each other in some way, shape or form ... because everything is a reflection of the infinite self." Sacred Geometry and the Flower of Life
Munnar and Ooty have been some of our favorite places in South India so far. Green fields of tea that go on for miles and miles. So beautiful, lush... a nice break from the craziness of India. We are still traveling with the two couples that we met in Varkala... hence the name we've given ourselves, team Varkala. It just seems to work and we still love each other, so we're just going with it. We arrived in Munnar on the Independence Day of India unknowingly, and they were having a parade and celebrations all weekend. On one hand it was totally crazy and busy,... but hey, it's India...we're used to that. On the other hand, it was festive, fun, and vibrant... people were celebrating and it was only a 5 minute walk from our guesthouse to serene green fields of tea bushes. We loved Munnar. We ended up staying over a week, spending most of our days hiking around and being out in nature, interacting with the locals and sharing warm smiles with the tea picking ladies. Renting a motorbike and riding through the hills was a definite highlight. We even got to see 6 wild elephants along the way... two were babies!! A bit scary at times, ...but exciting none the less. India's roads are a bit different than we are used to and there really aren't any rules. Anything goes. Driving on the left or right whenever needed, cows deciding to cross whenever they please, rickshaws passing uncomfortably close, buses that seem to want to play chicken, dusty dirty roads, constant honking, numerous piles of poo in the road (human, cow, elephant, etc). Oh India.
India never ceases to amaze or surprise me. It all can be exhausting at times. The loud noises and constant honking, ...why do you feel the need to honk every 3 seconds? The putrid smells that hit you like a brick in the face and seem to lurk around every corner. Pee, feces of all kinds, rotting carcasses of random animals, dirt, food, stagnant water, burning trash... sounds great eh? Colin has a great way of finding humor in uncomfortable times... and will normally make a joke by asking the closest person, "Mmmm... smells good, what ya cookin?" They don't understand it of course, but makes me laugh every time. Oh,... and did I mention that there's no staring taboos in India, so at all times... and I mean ALL times,... there are numerous people giving you the stare down. You look at them and they just keep on staring. It bothered me more at first... but I'm becoming less aware of it. I connect with the women and make eye contact and smile, which usually initiates a warm response on their part. Especially if they have children... oh... that makes my day to get a smile or a sweet "hello" from a little one. Happens multiple times a day. Makes all the nonsense fall away and life good again. Yes,... I'm a bit of a softy. All in all, we are still loving India and slowly moving our way north. We strive to have no definite plans, no expectations and take life as it comes, joyously and with gratitude.