The cold cradle – July 2011

Munnar – India

Munnar is 1600m above sea level; that means it is cold.  It is acres and acres of tea plantations that are sown to create a very beautiful pattern. They also have a tea museum where they showcase the different types of tea they produce. There is also has a lake, many waterfalls and natural reserve.

Tea plantations in Munnar

The decision to go to Munnar proved to be wrong decision the word go. First it was the ferry to close to the other side of the city. The day before leaving, we went to the harbour and observed that the first ferry was leaving at five thirty.

“We are going to take the first ferry at five thirty” Germà started

“No, we take the one at seven so we can sleep more” I love sleeping; I think I was actually born sleepy.

“No. We have to be there early enough so that we can come back early”

“Please, if we take this we will have to wake up at four”; I wanted to sleep

After arguing I finally gave in.

A child on the bus to Munar

The following morning we woke up at four and prepared for leaving. The gate of the hotel was locked and the owner was sleeping, we decided not to wake him up instead we jump to the other side. I was to go first then Germà so that he could help me. Just when I was on the top catcha! the owner with his full blown torch pointing at me on top of the gate.

“Who are you?”

“It’s Germà, we want to go out”

“But you are half way there”. All this while, I was looking at them and I had not moved an inch, it’s like I was waiting for a wake up call.

(Silence)

Germa helped me down and then the man opened the gate.

We were already late. We looked for a tuk tuk or taxi and there was none so we went running to the harbour. The streets were almost empty except for the few men going to the mosque. They were looking at us like asking what we were doing out running in the streets at that time.

The tea seller at fishermens' cafe

We got to the harbour panting like old dogs and it was dead quite, there was no one and nothing except the sound of the waves.

“It has already left”

I looked at the phone and we were only five minutes late.

“Then the ferry should be at the sea en route to the other side” I said.

We rushed and checked and there was nothing.

“Then it’s arriving late”

“In that case let’s wait” I said.

We sat down and waited to see if it would come from God knows where.

After ten minutes we decided to go and see if we could get someone to ask. Luckily, there was one small café full of fishermen taking breakfast.

We went inside and they all turned and looked at us like they had seen ghosts.

“Hello, do you know when the first ferry leaves” they looked at us and then called the owner who seemed to understand a little bit of English. He had a no nonsense taker face.

“First ferry at….. then he wrote the time in a piece of paper (6:30)” he said

We sat down and asked for tea and some kind of cakes. All the fishermen could do was nod at us and then smile and we also did the same. Maybe they were saying hi :D. The tea was actually very good.

Wonderful breakfast at the fishermens' cafe in Kochi

At around 10:30am we were in Munnar. Indian drivers are not meant for buses but for safari rallies. Part of the road to Munnar is one of the most dangerous ones because it hangs on a cliff, it is very narrow and it is full of sharp corners and traffic. Despite this, the driver was overtaking and driving as fast as he could. One mistake would send us rolling down the cliff where trees and slippery rocks would be waiting to devour us. My stomach was full of butterflies, my mouth agape and my eyes closed. A journey that was supposed to take three hours took two hours.

A river on the way to Munnar

It was raining cats and dogs and the cold embraced us with all its arms wide open and we could not help but shiver. We went into a nearby restaurant and asked for ‘chai’ to warm us up, until the downpour stopped.  We took a tuk tuk and headed for the tea museum. Unluckily, was closed down that day because it was a public holiday and nothing was operational. We made a few photos then went to one temple that is a place where you can see the whole city; made some photos and we called it a day. We went took the same bus and departed. This time the driver was even crazier than the first one. Our bowels were full of water all the way but thank God we arrived in one piece. At the bus terminal we bought the tickets for leaving for following day in the evening for Madurai.

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3 thoughts on “The cold cradle – July 2011

  1. Ryan says:

    Taking bus rides up to Indian hill stations is probably the scariest trip in the world. Munnar sounds like a very unique town and it’s now high on the list, that one that keeps expanding…

  2. It is scary and the drivers make it even more scary. Munnar is beautiful if one goes in the right time.

  3. ajaytao2010 says:

    beautiful pics

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Be in touch. Browse through the category sections, I feel you may find something of your interest.

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