Last Friday Sachu gave us directions of how to get to Marrori Beach. Now if you want to spend some time at the perfect beach then this is it! As you can see it was pretty well empty. The sand was glistening white in the sun and the Arabian Sea was as warm as the bath you would take at home. Eagles gracefully flew overhead and the Fiddler crabs were doing their sand burrow maintenance thing. All we can say is this is a magical and unspoilt place, may it stay that way always.
Walking back to get the bus after our lovely time on the beach we came across these guys repairing a fishing boat in the traditional Kerala manner. They did not speak any English and so we got by with sign language and I really like the way the build their boats. Stitching just seems to me to make perfect sense, and coir is everywhere here and is really, really cheap! Boats like this one paddle up to 3KM offshore to fish. The boats are heavy in construction and so make good sea boats. Commonly one man would take this boat to sea and fish.
This is our new friend Sachu who looked after us so well in Alleppey. Thank you sachu and please stay in touch.
Moving on to Munnar.
Alleppey was great but so hot and very, very humid. We had not realised how hot and humid until we arraived in Munnar. The journey from Alleppey to Munnar was a long although straight forward one. We took the bus to Ernakulam. The journey was mainly through busy, hot and humid towns and cities. The bus was full and we just sat and went with the flow.
We picked up our bus connection easily from Ernakulam and after sometime we were driving through country side and then it began to become more hilly and then we saw our first tea plantations, wow!
The bus drivers in Kerala seem to be on a mission to break all speed records to get their passengers to their destination as fast as possible. This at times can be scary. The best policy is not to look at where you are going, ignorance can at times be bliss, believe me bliss is good.
However this zeal to overtake everything on the road and go as fast as humanly possible can lead to collissions, it really is not rocket science. Our bus was going up a very big hill and round a bend when another bus came very fast down the hill. There was a grinding of metal on metal as both buses brushed passed each other. Both vehicles came to a halt and most the men got off each bus. There was much discussion and head scratching and making of phone calls. Actually there was not much damage at all, these buses are full of dents and scratches so what is the problem with another odd bump or scratch.
So, evententually we got underway again and arrived in Munnar at 16.30 some six and a half ours after leaving Alleppey. On arriving we eventually found the homestay recommended by the Ashtumdi homestay we had resided in Alleppey. We were relieved to have a shower and find somewhere to eat and get to bed.
Temple music awoke us in the morning and we went and organised a tour to the Top Station. This was an amazing day and the mountain scenery is breathtaking. It is also so wonderful not dripping with sweat all the time and feeling hot and dusty. On the Way to Top station we stopped off at Mattupetty Dam and Echo Point. Each place was busy with mainly Indian tourists from Delhi and Chennai and other places. It was great visiting tourist spots that they also go too.
Ok, some tea facts, tea was first grown here just over 120 years ago. Tea bushes live for up to 100 years. Wild elephant roam these parts, we have not seen any and there are also tigers but not in this district. The tea plantations are vast but only cover one third of the total area of land owned by the tea growers which is now mainly owned by the workers who all have shares in the company. The first dirctor worker appointed to the Board of Directors was a woman.
Ok time for photos.
The trees in the distance are a type of Australian Eucolyptus. The wood from from these trees are used for firewood. The seeds for these fast growing trees was smuggled in to India over 100 years ago.
Ok, we were surprised to see Pontsettias (can't spell sorry) growing wild
These jeeps are Indian Mahindras. They are everywhere in this district and outnumber motor bikes.
We were due to leave tomorrow but found out by accident this morning that there is a bus strike tomorrow. So, to overcome this difficulty we have rented this wonderful Royal Enfield Bullet 350CC bike. After all after riding a scooter for three weeks we figured that this will be a peice of cake and there will be no buses to run us down, bonus!!! So we leave shortly.
Just in case you thought we were being serious and are now fretting over our safety then please don't fret, this is a joke. There is a bus strike tomorrow and we are therefore leaving Munnar on the 17.40 bus. We are going to become backpacking beach bums for the rest of our stay and are going to Valkala the Bob Marley centre of India.
Marc and Rae