The Town of Munnar in the Western Ghats is a Little over 1400m above sea level. This makes it a great break from the heat down on the plain. It’s a great feeling to be cold enough at night to use a blanket and walk around in a pair of jeans, although its still pretty warm come mid day.
There’s nothing much to do here apart from admire the countryside and get hassled by rickshaw drivers offering trips up to the top of the hill. In the end we decide that that’s what we’ll do tomorrow.
First stop is a small flower nursery and the driver says
– You want to see flowers, very nice.
– Not really, I said
Having spent the last 18 months working in St James’ park I’m a bit de-sensitised to nice flowers. So we move on to an elephant sanctuary where Andrea pretends not to be that bothered about riding an elephant – but is really desperate to. So we end up being carted around on top of one of these massive beasts for 30 minutes, stopping every so often so it can have a shit.
Just outside of here I’m looking at all the trees and I notice that I recognise them from somewhere, they look out of place. So I ask the driver and He tells me
– Special Australian tree, used for ayurvedic medicine.
Straight away I know they are eucalyptus trees. Loads of them, a whole plantation. It’s a bit of a strange sight to see here in South India. It’s big business this ayurvedic stuff so I’m sure they need a lot of trees.
We stop at a few more slightly interesting places and finally make it to top station. We have to go a hundred metres over the border into Tamil Nadu and suddenly the road turns really bad.
– Are all the roads like this in Tamil Nadu, I ask the Driver
– No, not all, he says
I hope not, I’ll be there in a couple of days! But the views out over the tea plantations are spectacular and worth the trip.
On the way back the driver manages to get us nearly all the way back without turning on the engine. Pretty impressive I thought, and it’s good for the environment – or his pocket.