Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day # 5 : 17th Dec 2003

At 9.30 am we left Munnar and moved towards Thekkady. The drive was amazing halfway. It was through the tea gardens and the other half through spice gardens. We drove through many towns reaching our Hotel High Range at 2.00pm. I was quite tired as the drive was getting warmer.

Tie your yellow ribbon round old oak tree ~~~~ These are Silver Oaks!!

I was starved when we reached but did not feel like eating the hotel food. Before leaving Munnar we had a good breakfast of Appam, Puttu, Idiyappams with vegetable stew and Black Chana Masala. So I ate cheese spread and bread. I have noted that outside Mumbai sandwich bread is difficult to find. The bread available is always Milk bread. It was fresh and yummy. Dad had Dal and rice with papads and pickle. The High range Hotel was a mediocre one and definitely not a three star. These games by tour operator to compromise on one of the hotels is a know issue. I did raise it though. It felt like staying in a village home in the midst of an orchad and spice garden. It was beautiful outside though.

We then drove to Periyar sanctuary and slept on the way. It was around 4.00pm we were told a college group had blocked the entire lot of booking for the 4.00 pm boat ride and the next one available to us would be next morning. Aslam had adviced us that the 4.00pm ride was the best as that is when the animals came out to the water front for a drink of water. It was a better chance of spotting animals before they retired at nightfall. We were very upset. I smelt a rat in the whole thing! Just then a guy offered us tickets in black for extra Rs.25 per head. I took them. Don't curse me.

The boat ride was excellent. We saw a lot of animals. Aslam was right. It was as if they were out there for us black bucks, wild bisons, boars, a herd of elephants and Otters!! We saw a lot of birds too. I loved the Otters they are such lovable creatures. They would come out of their holes and jump into the water. Their emotions are almost human, hugging, kissing and being in a gang!

Remember to take the 4.00pm boat ride at Periyar when you visit. It is the best time.

The boat ride itself was exhilarating as the double decker huge launch slowly plys through the lakes serene environs. An American co-passenger commented, "Why does the tiger not come out for a drink of water just for us!" It made all of us burst out in laughter. But alas the tiger never did show up. Nature allows you to see only what it wants to show.

We then returned to the town and had tea with pazhampori (banana fritters, my kind). I liked it a lot. After which we went to the spice market and bought some spices for family and friends.

We returned to the hotel and took rest for a while and decided to explore the town a bit just before dinner time. We went looking for some artifacts. There was nothing of great interest that we found but my Dad who loves to shop decided to buy some silver for me at a Kashmiri shop. Imagine that buying Kashmiri craft in Kerala! Only my Dad can do that!

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