Out of India and don’t have time (yet) to fill you in on all the details, but here are the high points.
- Attended an Indian wedding (reception) with a Bollywood starlet and the son of a prime minister.
- Toured a wildlife sanctuary. Watched an elephant charge a motorbike. Spotted deer, sambhar, monkeys, bison, lots of birds.
- Was the guest of the house at a resort on a working coffee, vanilla and pepper plantation.
- Had to change plans because of a general strike called by the government of one of the states.
- Had several issues with travel and logistics but wound up where I needed to be without serious incident.
- Ate a hamburger, Chinese and Indian sweets in the same meal.
- Experienced life through the eyes of an Indian family as they live it every day with drivers, family time,
- Learned much more about the politics, languages, cultures and peoples than anyone could be expected to in the short time here.
- Found out the contrast of meanings between TII (this is India) and true Indian Hospitality.
Update: Now posting my experiences.
While in India I visited a great place called Tranquil Resort. It’s set on a 400 acre working coffee, vanilla and pepper plantation, tucked into the hills above a small but busy village of Sultan Bathery. Treehouse huts and more traditional rooms await you, but it’s doubtful you’ll spend much time indoors. 5 hours drive from Bangalore and 2 hours from Mysore.
I found myself hiking up the “Braveheart” trail to the peak of the mountain behind the resort. I was followed by a boxer named Shadow – one of the house dogs. He encourages me along in a friendly way; much less friendly are the winged insects buzzing around, though they do encourage you to move. Local monkeys sat and watched me curiously from a distance in the trees and on the rocks as I awkwardly bent to get a good line of sight through the leaves to take photos. The sun faded in and out behind the clouds. I was certainly happy for the shade; the jungle was hot and wet enough without the sun’s contribution.
Unfortunately I overdid it on the walk. It’s only about 5km but rugged. Someone who’s actually in shape would have been just fine at the pace I was going, but I wasn’t smart enough to slow down to my speed. I moved from “Braveheart” to “Terminator” to “Indiana Jones”. I skipped a route called “Cliffhanger” not because it was harder, but because it was a bad movie. And also because it was hard.
I got back down after about 5 hours walking. It was made harder since I had a touch of “Delhi Belly” and not enough water. I went to my room and changed, then hopped in the pool. Cool and refreshing. Ahhhh. Then to a nice hot shower. Towel off, change clothes and get to lunch. Wonderful morning.
After lunch I went off property to a nature preserve. The resort is only about a half hour from the preserve. I took the trip with a driver in an open jeep. We stopped at the gate long enough to get a guide – required for entry – and continued. We went around inside and almost immediately saw an elephant. But it was a work elephant. The day before on the way to the resort I’d seen another one. This one was not tame and was in fact charging a motorcyclist who’d been taunting it. Good for the elephant! But we hadn’t paused long enough to grab a photo of the beast. In the park I had the opportunity to see lots of spotted deer, sambhar and monkeys, but no tigers. The driver and guide were happy with that but I was a bit disappointed. Se la vie.