Saturday, 2 February 2013

Friday 1st February - Coonoor

The editor regrets the late appearance of this bulletin which he blames on power outages.

Mainly a decent night's rest although D has a strange dream about paddling in his pyjamas. We wake around dawn to discover that the bottom of the bed is wet and that one of the hotties had a leak. At least it makes sure that we are showered and dressed ready for breakfast at 8 o'clock. We have an auto booked for 8.15 to take us down to the station for the train back down to Coonoor which has been suggested as a worthwhile excursion. It is our young friend from yesterday who again demonstrates his skill freewheeling into town.

The station is a hive of activity and we actually have to produce our ticket to be allowed onto the platform. There is an orderly queue behind a rope for the Unreserved coach while we pampered diletantes with bookings were allowed onto the platform. The man at the station buffet tried the old trick of offering a chocolate biscuit as change when D bought a bottle of water. We shared a section of the First Class compartment with two elderly Indian couples from Kerala. When we told them that we were going to Alleppey they were very keen to tell us what a dangerous place it is. Apparently the main dangers are boating and alcohol - both feature on our to do list.

The downhill trip was uneventful but as we pulled into Coonoor we could see that the steamer from Mettupalayam had arrived early so there was a good chance to get some pictures. D even followed the loco to the shed where no one batted an eyelid as he snapped away. We had no map of the town and only limited information but we managed to find the centre without too much difficulty. First job is to find a replacement battery charger for D's camera. We find what we want at the fourth attempt and can now concentrate on tourism.

R has a theory that the best bits of the town will be at the top of the hill and she leads off up a flight of steps pausing only to don sunglasses. The best bits prove elusive so we decide it is time for a cup of tea. We find a place that calls itself a cafe and which is very nicely furnished and clean. Once we are seated they inform us that they have no power so back on the street for us. A reasonably smart hotel is our next try. "Sorry Madam. Too late" It is 11.15 a.m! This is one of Indias's great tea centres. We give up on the uphill plan and head back down by a different route. There are wonderful opportunities for roofers in Coonoor.

By the time we get back to the town centre we are a bit fed up with the place and decide not to wait for our return train but to get the bus. Tamil Nadu buses carry very little English signage so we are reduced to asking people, mostly with even less English, who point us in the general direction of the railway station. We see a shady bus shelter where we ask again. "Yes at 12.30" we are told. After a while it becomes obvious that we are on the wrong side of the road. We cross over and board a fairly busy bus behind a group of Israeli volunteers - all young women carrying huge rucksacks which block the aisle. Jammed into our seats it is difficult to see out of the bus but the horn noises and violent changes of direction made it clear that our driver was a recently promoted auto wallah. We survive unscathed in the physical sense but the mental trauma forces us into an Ooty hotel for calming cups of tea. We decide to make a lazy afternoon of things and hop an auto back up to the Sherlock.

Every cloud has a silver lining and D is able to get an online refund for the unused return rail ticket.

We have a very pleasant afternoon - this relaxation idea could catch on but will have to wait until we get home. No point in wasting a good holiday. There are a few more guests around today but we appear to be the only non-Indian ones. We dine in again and R is shown to the seat of honour in the restaurant, right in front of a blazing fire. We do a better job of judging the quantity of food this time. The goat in Kashmiri gravy is particularly tasty but it is all good and the service is very attentive.

We retire to our room where there is another blazing fire. Our hotties arrive with an assurance of no leaks.


  1. We could do with a fire like that over here! I'm impressed that you got a refund for the unused train ticket, I've never been prouder. xxx

  2. I am only commenting to 'LIKE' Lex's comment.