ahhh Snooty Ooty..perhaps just not my cuppa tea..

Two days in Varkala was more than enough, the last night was spent at the “Chillout Shack” a pretty cool place styled like many in Thailand or Laos but kind of rare for India…unfortunately it was guitar night and every Jack Johnson wannabe whipped their guitars out and had a little jam…cynical much…love that there are backpackers who travel with guitars…nah it was lovely, live music, a range of western music, some hits…some were totally butchered…

being so short on time now i’ve had to cut down my itinerary to be in Goa for christmas (which is less than a week away…) so as i wanted to see hill stations in Kerala and in Tamil Nadu, i opted for the less touristy Ooty in Tamil Nadu. it’s quite a bit further away, but then after Varkala i was happy to be away from a very touristy place, and frankly its not so out of the way when heading up north.

here’s a revised version of my map, here are the places i’ve been so far, not sure where to from here exactly so i’ll have to update as i go..

anyway we set off from Varkala in the morning on the train to Kochi then after waiting a couple hours another train up to Coimbatore…we arrived at night after spending all day on trains in the heat, without proper seats..apparently when you buy a ticket at the station just before getting on the train they cannot allocate a seat (they neglect to mention this part) so you buy a “space”…what does that mean? means you don’t get a seat…and so you sit wherever…until someone who actually reserved that specific seat comes along and kicks you off…so we moved…and again…and shared with people until we finally arrived at Coimbatore late…

I have nothing to say about that town, all we did was eat and attempt to sleep. the train on from there was just before 5am..so we got up at 3.45am..that was soooo harsh. mainly because my room, was ON the street..you could hear every single noise…from cars, to the guy yelling TSHIRT TSHIRT TSHIRT TSHIRT (he was selling tshirts..) and of course, the bloody arseholes standing ON my doorstep, YELLING in tamil, all night…im not exaggerating i had to drag myself out of bed at 2am to tell them to shut up and move on…so after what was probably the worst night’s sleep in the history of bad nights of sleep, i was rudely awoken by my alarm at 3.45am…for yet another day of riding the train…yaaaay…

after buying tickets, grabbing a quick chai, and managing to headbutt the corner of the wall while picking up my backpack (yes i have a bloody bruise now…love it..) it was off to the train for a quick ride (in the dark) to Mettupalayam and on to the “miniature railway” to Ooty.
so this trip is described by lonely planet (most traveller’s bibles) as one of the top train rides in the country…this it may be (for scenic purposes) however they fail to mention the reality of the ride…this is why i’m here to fill in the gaps..
so we’re queuing in the dark for the “miniature train”..it’s small, but not like a kids size toy train which is kind of what you imagine when you hear miniature..or at least i did…i was relieved to find that it was in fact adult size, and of course they crammed in 5 people per bench..way too many if you ask me…4 was comfortable, 5 was just too much.

it was an incredibly beautiful ride…the 48km (which took only about 5 HOURS) by steam engine (we had to stop frequently to add lots of water, oil and bang around the engine with some kind of hammer) was this amazing transition from coconut palm trees and jungle, to thick rainforest, to a drier forest type and up to the dry tea plantations where the weather is cooler, and there are gum trees…
the train was packed (there were even people standing in our compartment at some stage, though we all protested)
we went through many tunnels, not something you’d think would be particularly exciting…but the Indians were going wild…they were screaming and cheering…every time…there were HEAPS of tunnels…
for a country that has regular power outages you really wouldn’t think that being in the dark was THAT exciting…maybe that’s just me…

one thing i must mention, as awwwwwful as it is..is the rubbish..it breaks my heart and it’s just disgusting..not to mention IRREVERSIBLE.
the entire way up (my head was hanging out the window) there were beautiful streams and waterfalls, everything had plastic in it. it was EVERYWHERE. how sad is that? for those who have been to India before you might know what it’s like…its absolutely everywhere…and it’s so awful. and there is a complete lack of any education about it, or any care for that matter. they ask you if you like their beautiful country but don’t think for a second to try and keep it beautiful.

anyway long story short, beautiful trip, many stops, touristy photos (i took over 100 on the way up so i’m gonna have to go through and cull) and we’re now in Ooty.
so the attraction to Ooty (im deducting based on my experience in 1 day here) is the surroundings, the scenery, the weather and perhaps the tea..but the town..not so much..it’s just another Indian town…dirty, busy, loud, and nothing exciting happening or to do or see..in the town…but around town, it’s so serene, and stunning scenery.

so tomorrow some kind of tea plantation visit where you see them grow and pick the tea leaves and then whatever it is they do to it after that…guess i’ll find out tomorrow…

oh and lovely news…i have a nasty cough and cold…bloody hell…

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2 thoughts on “ahhh Snooty Ooty..perhaps just not my cuppa tea..

  1. Aw Hun! Hang in there! Hopefully the cough doesn’t turn into anything worse. I hate those backpackers with a guitar permanently attached to their body! They tend to come out when you’re most annoyed and if you hear another fucking smoke on the water song one more fucking time…….!

  2. Hey Dev…it sounds incredible, beautiful and awwwwwwwwful all at once!!!! Love the last sentence about the proposed visit to the tea plantation..hahahaha..written like a true coffee lover!!!! Hope your nasty cough and cold has gone xoxo

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