Thursday, June 07, 2007

Ooty = Damn Cold, Fast Rides & Cow Trees

In an effort to show my sister more of India than Bangalore, we debated and debated where to spend the weekend. Tom and I threw out ideas - Cauvery, Cochin, Pondicherry? Each and every one was met with the same remark from our driver - How about Ooty? How about Ooty? How about Ooty? It didnt take us long to realize that he really wanted to go to Ooty AND since he was going to be driving us, should he have a major vote in the decision? So, off we go to Ooty our resident "hill station".

A hill station is a town in the mountians, which usually house all the tea and coffee plantations you can handle. The weather is famous for being cool, the atmosphere peaceful, the flowers beautiful and the food fabulous. Why wouldnt you want to go?!

On the way, you pass through a national forest and elephant camp. Its really quite pretty and Billy coined a new phrase "Mommy - Look, the cow trees" Please see the photo. It tells the whole story....

After a 7 hour journey what we didnt realize about Ooty is ...


~ It is "fast ride" heaven

Of course, being Minnesotans, when people told us to pack our warm clothes, did we listen? What would they know, we thought. They think 70 degrees is cold. When it hits 75 degrees we see all the locals wearing stocking caps and scarfs. So... did we heed the warnings? No. Off we go with shorts, tshirts and our crocs. We werent there 10 min's and we realized we were in trouble. Not only could we see our breathe, but our room had a fireplace in it and it promptly started raining. While I'll admit that it was a nice break from our 110 degree heat, I'll also admit that I havent been this cold sleeping since I slept in the back of a pick up in Duluth 2 years ago. (The sad part was that this time I was INSIDE a house!! Yes Wendy, I had on my stocking cap). Adding to the cold was the fact that we stayed in this very regal, old, English country house. It dated back to 1850 and I sure feel for those people. While regal and grand, it was also drafty and damp. At least the beds were nice and big as all 3 kids ended up in our bed both nights. I think they were afraid of hypothermia!

Speaking of the kids, they loved Ooty. I am calling it our "ride" weekend. We went on bumper cars, go carts, merry go rounds, a motorcycle ride, 2 train rides, tons of car time AND a 2 hour horseback ride into the mountains. Each of us had our "own" horse. (of course Billy and Kay were nice enough to share their horses with Tom and I). This is not your trail rides of days gone by (you know, the ones where the horses knew the path so well they did it in their sleep and couldnt be turned or stopped by a 200 lb guy...) Nope, this is India and these were real trail rides, up the mountain, through the mud, into the thickets, under trees, over logs and finally ending in a downpour. Julie's horse was "fast", so the guides kept a hand on the reigns. When she remarked she might want a slower horse, they proceeded to switch her horse with Jimmys. Of course, let's give the 5 year old the fast horse. That makes perfect sense. Jimmy loved it and was galloping before we knew it. I do have to say, it was one of my highlights of India!