Misadventures in Ooty!
On our first full day in Ooty, Nachi took us to a local street vendor for a breakfast consisting of a masala dosa, fried idlis and chai. The masala dosa was so delicious that I had a very hard time restraining myself from completely pigging out, which would not have ended well since the night before I had my first rather painful experience with dysentery! I won’t get into the details because trust me, you don’t want them.
After our breakfast we continued exploring Ooty on foot. We passed garland shops on our way passed an ornate and brightly coloured Hindu Temple, situated at the corner of a busy intersection. A couple of down trodden women huddled near the temple entrance waiting for devotees to deposit their shoes with them for safe keeping… for a price of course.
The four of us perused various shops and I often scrambled to keep up with the group due to my frequent stops to take pictures of all the interesting people and sights. I was very timid about taking pictures of people at first, not knowing how people would react, but I eventually grew bolder in my attempts to capture the colourful and interesting people I came across.
Ooty was the place that first made me fall in love with India: maybe it was the surroundings, maybe it was the people, but it definitely had something to do with my travel companions. Nachi, being Indian, knew about places that we probably otherwise would not have visited if he hadn’t suggested them. He opened doors to us as travellers that otherwise wouldn’t exist! It seemed like he knew everyone and if he didn’t know the person, well then he soon befriended them. He introduced us to the popular local cuisine, took us to interesting local hangouts, arranged all our travel itinerary and even took us shopping.
We decided to walk there from our hotel. The bar was dark and clouded by a plum of thick cigarette and beady smoke. We found ourselves a booth and ordered a round of cold King Fishers. I felt a tad out-of-place since the bar patrons were all male except for Jo and I. It was later explained to me that Indian women don’t generally go to bars… which all made perfect sense AFTER I unknowingly walked into the Men’s bathroom that was simply labelled “Washroom”!!!
That bit of knowledge prompted me to go in search of another bathroom…. because, well, let’s just say beer is no friend to a person with a lingering case of traveler’s diarrhea! Jo kindly offered to come with me and we ended up walking countless blocks and laughing at our predicament before finding a hotel and restaurant.
The restaurant was washroomless so we were told to go upstairs and ended up in a cockroach infested empty guest room!! I thought our hotel was dirty, but this was disgusting… the washroom in particular. Note to travelers who want to visit Ooty, look closely at the rooms before committing to stay because cleanliness seems to be an issue here.
After our little adventure, we went back to the bar to collect the boys and piled into an autorickshaw to take us back to the hotel. We could have spent more time here, but we were eager to move on to our next destination.
Stay tuned for an account of our trek through Mudamalai National Park!