Pondicherry to Ooty
In Pondicherry, in the French district, there is a distinct lack of traffic thanfully. This means a lack of annoying beeping of horns which is constant here. Constant, loud and very very irritating. People speak very loudly here too. They do. Really. Peace is hard to come by - which is why I liked Pondy so much.
In this age where everything is computerised, it's most odd seeing ledgers everywhere. Do you remember ledgers? I haven't seen any since the 1970's!
So, on Sunday night I left Pondicherry on an "ultra deluxe" bus. Ultra deluxe in name only. Actually, I took a 'normal' bus to Goa (more of that later) and the only difference was the seats reclined a little bit on the "ultra deluxe". Do not be fooled by labels. I knew it would be un-lux but it was amusing to see what it was like when it did turn up. The journey took nine hours, but I didn't sleep much. Yay, for iPods!
Got to Coimbatore and the Scotsman and I (mentioned him before - not drinking Scot, bus Scot) hunted for the Ooty bus which took another three or so hours to get to Ooty. The trip to Coimbatore had been mainly in darkness, but the Ooty leg was in day light and I hadn't realised how big a hill could be. I mean seriously big. And we spent most of the three hours climbing up and up through twisty turny roads surrounded by beautiful landscape as far as you could see. (Okay, I was actually spending much of the journey thinking about how much I wanted to shower and nap rather than drinking in the beauty of the hillside, but you know what I mean!)
Ooty, Ooty, Ooty. Lonely Planet and people I met last year described Ooty as lovely, charming, quaint, relaxing, amazing.... but by no stretch of my imagination could I find myself able to echo those words.
I'd expected Heidi countryside and found small Delhi on a cold hill. With rain. If I'd wanted to go on a group trek or take a two hour bus ride I could have perhaps found Heidiland but it was too cold! I did see a lot of goats though in the streets, and it is pretty green in places. It's just not so different from other Indian cities.
Don't get me wrong: I didn't hate it, I just didn't love it and the main reason for that was the rain (people kept telling me it was due to snow soon. great.)
I spent time wandering around the town and walked around a lake (for the hell of it). Donno exactly how big the lake was but I reckon about 10km around. It was a nice peaceful walk though, although I did detour off the path at one part onto a little path on the water's edge. Nobody else was there, which made it more tempting. I clamboured down to it and enjoyed toddling along. When the paving ran out I carried on along the grass and when the grass ran out - well, the bank above me was pretty steep and the cow on the path wasn't much help. She just continued eating grass and stopped to have a very long pee. Seriously. How much water can a cow hold? I eventually found a place that looked okay and to go through the garden of a very amused old lady to get back from the wilderness.
Ooty has a botanical garden. It's very different to Pondicherry's. It's organised and laid out neatly, although still a little more of a park than a botanical garden, but semantics. I enjoyed relaxing there and wandering there anyway.
The weather was bearable in the daytime for the most. It started off cold but did get better.