Sunday, January 22, 2012

Exploring South India - Part 5: Ooty to Mysore

The morning in Ooty was incredibly cool. When I woke up, I realized my throat was sore and felt like I was coming down with something. It was probably due to the combination of 1) taking a cold shower the previous morning in Kochi as the hot water was not available, 2) being in a car for more than 8 hrs straight, 3) coming to a ultra cold place from a ultra hot place, and 4) just being tired after 5 days on the road.

We were supposed to head to Mudumalai National Park early next morning, like 5:30am, but of course we altered the plan the previous night. We needed much more rest than just a quick 6 hrs of sleep. So, we slept in, had a relaxing breakfast, and left for the park around 1pm. Before going to the park, we decided to take a peek at Ooty Lake.

The lake was just a lake :).  They were running a boat around the lake, which seemed to be an attraction for the Indian tourists. What was great about the area was the scenery. It definitely was a different India than I have ever seen. The houses on the hillside were small and not nicely built (probably pretty cold inside, too), but something about the way they were cluttered with each other, something about the way they lived with lots and lots of goats, something about the way the children were playing outside the houses, and something about the way people seemed to be keeping themselves busy and working hard gave me such warm feeling. Would I leave the village if I ever were born there?  Maybe not. The life there seemed to be self-contained and intact.

The road to the park was again a winding mountain road, and it took more time than we anticipated. The park offers two tours; one in the morning, which we missed, and the other in the afternoon, which started at 3pm. We got there around 3:30pm hoping that the line to get the ticket was not too long. It wasn't, but guess what???  All the tickets for the day were SOLD OUT!  Ouch!  We were shocked and very disappointed, but we moved on - yep, reluctantly.

On the way out to the park, we saw an elephant crossing in front of us. It was just a sight of one elephant, but we were very excited! Everyone stopped their cars and started to take pictures, like me :-)  According to the wiki article, there are about 1800-2300 (not sure why the range is so big...but anyway) elephants living in the park and the adjoining parks around the area. That's a lot. Also, Mudumalai National Park was declared as a Tiger Reserve in 2007, and I heard you get to see tigers roaming around IF you are lucky. But of course, all you see along the road were monkeys and deer.

We drove out of the park, kept driving along the winding road some more, and crossed the state border into Karnataka (strange that I felt "home" when we did...anyway).  We then realized that we were going through another park called Bandipur National Park. We came across the area where the elephants were chained (yes!) and fed.  Not sure if that was a camp or what, but the site of the elephants being chained gave me an odd feeling, as the park is supposed to be the sanctuary place for wildlife.

Then we found a place that was offering a tour. It was already around 4:30pm, and the line to the ticket was not short (and moving sloooowly, too), so we gave up on the entire idea of getting a tour of the park and moved onto Mysore. The decision was right, as it took more than 3 hrs to get to Mysore from the park with the occasional encounters with herds of cows or goats on the street.

Mysore was impressive with big and gorgeous buildings and we started to really look forward to the sightseeing the next day. Yet, the mood got semi ruined when we found the hotel we reserved. It was rather mediocre and unfortunately very tacky. We would have looked for another hotel if we had more energy, but there was no energy left, so we just checked in. The strange thing about Mysore is that the city is big but it is not as modernized as Bangalore. The information we get through Internet didn't seem to correspond with the reality. For instance, we found a couple of restaurants that we thought we can have our dinner, but one didn't exist (or we could not find) and the other was not open until 8pm. At least the restaurants in Bangalore are open at 7pm for dinner. So, we ended up eating at the tacky restaurant at our hotel.

Amazingly, though, the food was not too bad. The drinks were okay. Maybe the ice cubes that my hubby asked them to put into his drink were not such a good idea. Yep, that night, he got VERY sick. I was okay for some reason (the only thing I didn't have and he did was the ice cubes at the restaurant). gG usually doesn't lay besides my hubby voluntarily, but he was constantly by my hubby's side that night. He somehow knew that my hubby was not feeling well.

We just went to sleep hoping that my hubby would feel better the next morning.

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