Wednesday, February 18, 2009

To Wayanad and Back

So we did make it to Wayanad after all, in spite of some glitches - we left around noon instead of the original plan of early morning. The drive to Mysore was much shorter than we had anticipated; thanks to the new NICE road. We had planned to take the route Bangalore - Mysore - Nanjangud - Gundulpet - Maddur - Sultan Bathery - Kalpetta - Chundale. When we were driving through Bandipur forest just before Karnataka-Kerala border the landscape looked extremely dry. The trees were standing leafless and the ground underneath seemed parched.

But the landscape changed drastically after entering Kerala - coconut and banana groves, beautiful palatial houses even in the smallest towns, winding roads. Two things that stood out were these houses - in all kinds of color (canary yellow, sea green, orange, peach, pink, lilac/lavender, many shades of blue) and the huge number of gold shops in each town .. it appeared to me that every fourth shop in each town center was a gold shop!! What took our breath away was the magnificent homestay Serenity where we spent the next two days in utter bliss. Nestled quietly in the midst of 60 acres of coffee plantation 6 kilometers off Chundale main road , this 200 years old rustic house offered us all we could wish for ... and more!

Its rustic ambiance and earthy interiors were so refreshing, we forgot all about our the 7-hour long journey and got ready to eat & drink around the bonfire that our wonderful host Reji had kept ready for us. We called it a night around 2 AM after gulping many breezers and tucking in a sumptuous Kerala meal.
We woke up next morning to some not-so-familiar sounds of birds like wild hen, crane, kingfisher & woodpecker and decided to explore the coffee plantation. It was a misty morning indeed and Vandana was all geared to battle it :). Thene there were coffee blooms, pepper creepers, touch-me-nots, palm trees etc.
After a heavy breakfast of pootu and curry, we headed to Banasura dam about 30kms away. It is the largest earth dam in India. On our way, we stopped for some photos at the tea gardens adjacent to our coffee plantation. After a 1 hr drive, thirty minute wait and a 20 minute speedboat ride in the dam, we were already itching to go back to our welcoming abode. We decided to leave in the evening for View point about 10 kms away from our home to capture the sunset. We never managed to make it as we slept like logs till 7.30 PM and it was already getting dark.
And Reji, our host, had a surprise ready for us when we woke up - barbecue!! More breezers and food followed - dinner special was Kerala Parotta with Chettinad Chicken/veg curry. Yummm!! We kept eating and drinking around the bonfire until we could feel the wetness of mist on our hair.
We planned to go to Edakkal caves the next morning on our way back to Bangalore. In the morning we decided to explore a different trail and ended up discovering a temple and some tribal houses in the plantation. By the time we got ready after having mouth-watering appams, it was almost noon. We had to drop the idea of Edakkal caves in the interest of time and had to leave for Bangalore. But I don't regret it as this will give us a reason to go back to this amazing place again and do rest of the things next time around.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wayanad Blues

So we are heading to Wayanad tomorrow morning. This is one trip which we did not know of until 3 days ago. We have gone back and forth at least 4 times to decide if we are actually going or not. The list of people who are/were supposed to go has changed thrice. I had to choose between the Aero Show and Wayanad this weekend and I chose the latter (with a heavy heart of course). I have submitted, cancelled and re-submitted my leave application earlier today.

Our plan of leaving at 3 in the afternoon changed to morning 10 making me do the most important pre-travel things like painting toe-nails, coloring the hair at 11 PM tonight instead of tomorrow morning. Of course my not doing this before 11 PM has nothing to do with the 3 or more hours I spent reading random blogs and watching random videos on youtube.

Just when I thought things were finally falling into place, my sister realized that she had forgotten all about arranging for someone to take care of our pet birds while we are gone. The solution - either she stays back to take care of the birds & rest of us will go OR we will cancel the trip and she will buy me the Aero Show tickets! Hello?? Whatever happened to the good friends who could pet-sit? I had started debating in my head whether to go back to work tomorrow (I had even written an 'I-am-going-to-be-away-for-a-day' message to everyone for the first time in my life!!) or stay home and just do nothing. Miraculously, some angelic friends did materialize around midnight to pet-sit our birds and we seemed to be back on plan.

But not yet, my sister suddenly felt that she needed to take only a certain bag and nothing else. All our baits of offering other (and definitely better) bags have gone in vain. She is still standing on the Batla ladder rummaging through lofts of all rooms looking for that precious bag while I type this. Hopefully she will find something by tomorrow morning. As for me, I haven't even started packing but that's what the morning is for. Now that I have painted my toe-nails and colored my hair besides having decided which sunglasses and cap to carry, I guess half my work is already done, no? :)

Picture courtesy: