Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I was so excited when I came to know that Binu was getting married. I was like "FINALLY".. I had to wait until Aruna told me so that I could call him and congratulate him.. But guess what? He did not recognize my voice.. Hmm.. Anyways, I was too excited then to get angry... I had already started making plans - we had already visited Alleppey the previous year... Coaxed Pras into nodding the way I wanted, for a trip to Munnar. Well, it was all planned - a budgeted trip this time. We booked and cancelled and rebooked quite a few times as we were not aware of the buses.. sadly the trains were all booked by the time I could confirm that Binu wanted us to attend his D-Day :)
Binu's wedding was on a Monday - the 28th of June, 2010. We decided to spend the weekend in Munnar. Being from Ooty, we booked a resort away from the hustle and bustle of Munnar. The resort was called Eco-Exotica Holidays. I was not too pleased with the name but was blown away when I saw a picture of the swimming pool. Just as we left to catch our bus to Munnar, Amma called telling us that there was a strike in Kerala the following day against the then recent fuel price hike. Pras and I decided to go ahead and check with the KSRTC officials. They said the bus would reach Munnar at 11:30 am the following day. Trusting them and believing that there wont be any issues for us on the way, off we went. Once we reached Coimbatore, I asked the driver if he knew about the strike in Kerala and he was like he had got to know about it just that morning when he had stopped in Coimbatore. Hmm.... I then asked him to stop so that we could have some tea at least. He stopped an hour from Coimbatore, just before Pollachi. There was this one girl on the bus who waited patiently while all the other passengers, including us, all of 7, had our breakfast - she had to get off just 15 minutes away from where the bus stopped. My heart went out to her when I knew that we had made her wait for over 45 minutes to get to a place just 15 minutes away.

At the Udumalpet check post at the border of TamilNadu and Kerala, the bus stopped saying that they would wait for other buses - which would be safer. Fortunately for us, there was a dam close by where we could spend time. Off we went to the dam.. walked around in the sun..ate fried fish, dosa and AWESOME fish curry and got back well before the earlier stated deadline of 2pm. The bus started at around 12:45pm from there and we were stopped by CPI activists. Each vehicle that was stopped there was given a time at which they could proceed from this point. Crossing this stop, we were stopped once again. This time it was more dynamic with one gang of drunk chaps imitating the activists. One of them waved the CPI flag in front of one the activists who was happily allowed by the others to proceed. Humiliated by this, all vehicles were allowed to move. We finally reached Munnar at 5pm. It was raining - the usual June July weather of Ooty. A taxi was arranged to take us to the resort - some 20kms away from the town. We did lose our way there once - the freaky resort had no sign boards whatsoever. Finally got to our destination around 6:30pm. We were told that the tree house that we had booked was not available cause of the rain and that we could spend the first night in their "SUPER DELUXE" rooms. The flicking room was no better than the room that we get in hotels near my house in Ooty at 500 rupees a night. I do agree that the location of the resort was good and we could pay a bit more just for that but not 2500 rupees per night. Further, the damned place had no power - they used to run a generator in the evenings.. Hmm....
The resort was not that good - they shared the same compound with another resort - Wild Elephant resort which had not got very good reviews. No wonder the same swimming pool picture was put up on both sites!!!!
From the resort, we had a good view of a lovely waterfall. We visited that waterfall and I almost took Pras down with me there with my butter feet :) The food at the resort was also not good.
Google maps says it is a 3 hour journey from Munnar to Kayankulam - the place of Binu's wedding. The resort guys told us it would be 4.5 hours. Preparing for 4.5 hours, we started at 6:30am on Monday for Kayankulam. Stopping on the way for breakfast, we bought Bamboo rice - which is supposed to flower once in 40 years. Bamboo rice is medicinal - helping with night blindness, joint aches and is also called natures's viagra. ;)
Our journey took 7 hours and we reached after the muhurtham time - we did get to meet the bride and groom fortunately! After a heart meal and yummy payasam, we braced ourselves for another LONG journey homeward bound to Palakad. First we went by taxi to Ernakulam, jumped onto a bus to Thrissur. At thrissur, we boarded the very train which I had suggested we take from Alleppey itself, ticketless in the Unreserved compartment. It brought back memories of the time we travelled in the second class compartment during one of our school excursions. However, this time there were just too many people cramped inside - some sleeping on the floor.. some cribbing on and on... was fun.. I could not stop laughing and there was one lady who kept shouting at me for laughing - well, I was not laughing at her.. was just laughing at just how good the trip had been!!! :P
Finally, the romance with kerala has actually ended. For a while, no more Kerala trips....