We went to Ooty over the weekend. I am tempted to write a complete travel log but will restrain myself, since my main audience are readers who complain bitterly when I cross my 500th word. (Don’t look around you so innocently, you know who you are, Philistines.)
I slept through most of the overnight bus journey to Ooty until I woke up with a start at 4 in the morning. Everyone else was asleep and the bus had just reached the foot of the mountains. It was pitch dark but for the headlights of our bus and the one ahead of us and I stared fascinated outside my window as the headlights caught the trees glowering above us. The buses crawled up and up and round and round the mountains like two beetles up a prodigiously hairy giant. I gave myself the creeps imagining ghostly shapes in the wintry slopes looking down on us wondering who we were. It was beautiful, sinister, and very personal – I was lucky to be awake when I was—the trees menaced and the shadows flitted just for me (I assume the driver was awake but not as fanciful). I fell asleep as soon as light dawned two hours later and the rest of the bus started stirring.
We arrived 4 and half hours too early at the hotel. Our room was booked only from 12-o-clock, so we were very politely asked to hang around (and hold our bladders) until the current occupants of the room left to catch their bus. I asked everyone around if there was a common loo for people waiting, but it seemed everyone just sat around until their rooms were ready. Well, then. Luckily, both my husband and I have bladders of iron, so we sat on the benches in the lovely, dew-soaked garden and snoozed in the wintry sunshine. I watched as my husband nodded off on the bench, woke up, looked around with great interest, nodded off a moment later, looked up at me and said “This is heavenly!” and slid off the bench in one fluid motion onto the damp grass and went back to sleep.
The small hotel with nine rooms was remodeled from an old British cottage and the carefully manicured lawn fell away down the slope to the more populated parts downhill from where you could hear distant noises of people and cattle. It really was lovely: my head drooped on my chest, and I made a mental note to tell my husband presently that he would catch his death, soaking up dew as he was like a sponge at my feet.
We got our room much sooner than 12-o-clock, we were well ensconced in a cozy little room with a fireplace by 9.
We had some very interesting hotel mates. They were all families with children. There was one very dramatic little girl who looked like she had walked out of a TV advertisement, all curly-haired, doe-eyed and pretty in pink. She, we quickly caught on, nursed an unrequited passion for an older boy called Krishna who was also staying at the resort, and was admirably unabashed about it. While he played ball with the other children she would stand next to him and gaze longingly at him, while leaving the room she would say “bye Krishna” and ignore the others, and at night when her parents insisted they turn in for the night, she asked, “Will you come to my hotel (room) Krishna?” A very forthright girl -- we warmed to her enormously, despite her dainty mincing ways. Needless to say Krishna’s friends and sister especially gave him hell, calling out his 5-year old girlfriend’s name until he was purple in the face. He did his best to give her the brush off, though I feel he was secretly pleased for being singled out. Give it ten years, I thought, and if they ever meet again the roles will be most decidedly reversed.
The second day there, I found her wandering disconsolately in the dining room. She turned to me with an urgent toss of her head and said, “I’ve done something very bad.” I wondered if she’d finally done the object of her affections in and buried him under the azaleas, and asked her warily what the matter was. “If my father finds out he’ll slap my mother.” Whoa! I thought, is this domestic abuse the little girl is unwittingly talking about? “What did you do?” She muttered something about breaking her pony and wandered off, twirling one ringlet with her finger.
(To be continued. I decided to do the travelogue instead, it's my blog.)