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Kodaikanal

11 Feb

There isn’t a lot to say about Kodaikanal or “Kodai” as it is known by most people here, except that it is a world away from the stifling heat of the plains. In fact, the high temperatures here are only in the 20s° Celsius. It gets cold at night- very cold for southern India- around 9-10° Celsius.  And it has rained a little every day that we have been here save one.

There are hills everywhere in the town and you get an amazing workout as you walk around- which is the easiest way to explore. Astrid and I took a “walk” yesterday to Silver Falls, about 7km out of town. Our hotel concierge told us that it was an easy walk to take a shortcut through the town. And it was..until we reached the end of the path and realized we had to climb down the side of the mountain on a single track dirt path to get to the falls- in sandals. We finally made it…and the falls weren’t that nice, garbage everywhere, interstate tourists clamoring for a photo, clothes hanging from the branches of nearby trees as if they were swept down the river that feeds the falls. So we stayed for a little bit, ate a pomegranate and walked back- this time by the main road…uphill…very uphill. We figured that we walked about 14 km yesterday- around 9 miles.

That isn’t the only place to walk in Kodai though. A huge attraction is the man-made lake just below town. We have walked it everyday since we got here and it is beautiful- watching the mists roll in over the hills while families paddle around the lake in pedal boats, red and blue kingfishers search for food and purple and yellow Lotus’ float in the water. The lake circuit is 5km and it has been great to be able to get some exercise while we’ve been here- something that you can’t do in most places in India.

I’d definitely recommend coming here, but only for a few days, it can get tedious after that with frequent blackouts and restaurants that close at strange times. Check out Cloud Street Cafe, the best coffee in town, Pastry Corner for a mean brownie, and the Royal Tibet Restaurant which serves up good Chowmein and Momos. Hotel Hilltop Towers has been our address here for a week and the people are really nice and have been good to us. The rooms are clean and it is close to everything.

We leave tomorrow morning to Coimbatore to fly to Mumbai tomorrow afternoon where we’ll meet our friend Hana and check out the most expensive city in India.

Cheers until then!

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lt’s 21.5 C and I’m Freezing to Death!

8 Jan

So, something finally happened that I thought would never happen.  I have become used to the heat of India.  It happens slowly, almost sneaks up on you…unexpectedly, and then all of a sudden you are wearing long pants and a sweatshirt when you go out at night.  You ride by a family of five on their motorbike and they are all wearing jackets and wool hats and you look at them and say, “It’s freaking cold.”

Never in my life would I have thought that I would be cold at 71° F but it has happened.  Astrid and I wake up in the night stealing the blanket from each other because we are so cold.  We have taken to wearing our sweatshirts to bed to keep from waking up.  The last thing I want to do in the morning is walk on the cement floors barefoot.  What is happening to me?

Four months ago, I thought it strange when I saw the people from the plains in Darjeeling in October wearing jackets, scarves and wool hats.  Now it is totally understandable.

We both freak out about returning to New York in mid-February where the temps will probably be below zero with a Noreaster blowing through and Astrid and I will have nothing but our light travel clothes to keep out the cold.  BRRRR.  I assume people will be looking at us like WE are crazy then…what goes around comes around. 🙂

Cheers!