Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Adventures in Ooty

It was definitely an adventure getting to Ooty- a 9 hour adventure.  We started off on a bus leaving at 11:45pm that was supposed to get to Ooty at 3-4am.  Little did we know we would be sitting on a bus in the middle of darkness for 5 hours.
First getting on the bus, we got stuck with back seat, it smelled like body odor, and there were people that just kept coughing.  I did not like having the corner seat sitting stuck in the back, but I was with the boys so we were making jokes about it and I was making fun of Salman Khan.  The engineer I call Salmaan Khann because he looks like him and he has this cool aura about him, but he is really an innocent teddy bear.  The other one is just as innocent as he is a 26 year old who has never been with a girl as he is saving himself for marriage- oh India-these men are not around in the US at all.

Around 2 hours later, we come to our first stop and I decided to do some running around the bus and up and down the street in the pitched dark.  I was tempted to just keep running down the street and run away from the bus ha! Maybe that is what I should have done with the next scenario. 

Another hour later we stop in the pitch black parking lot in front of the Bandipura National Park.  I sit there staring out the window while everyone is sleeping.  I open the window and stick my head out.  I try to sit patiently and distract myself  from the darkness and the fowl odor and the coughing, but I just can’t.  I tap on O’s shoulder and ask him when we are going to start moving.  He says there are tigers and elephants passing so we have to wait a little longer.  This is not something you hear often sitting on a bus in New York City ha! Two more hours pass and I try to contain my fear and prevent myself from jumping out the bus window.  Another hour passes and another and it is now 5 am and we have been sitting on the bus for 4 hours.  I start to have a mild panic attack in my seat kicking the sides of wall and deep breathing at the same time.  I can not physically handle being on the bus anymore.  The boys wake up and we go off the bus for fresh air. 

Right as we go outside, the bus driver says to get back on because we are moving.  “Thank God,” I shout in my head and I am so thankful.  We start moving to sit at a crossing line with a bunch of other truck and buses.  We have to wait until the park ranger can tell us we can cross. 

We are able to get off the bus and get some tea.  I do not care about waiting, but I just had to get off the bus.  My first Indian bus experience and I was not preparing for a 9 hour adventure.  I just wanted to do a warm up with a 2-3 hour journey. 

We decide to sit in the front with the driver so we can see the tigers, elephants, and bears.  The sun is starting to rise and we get excited about what we might see.  The driver has a pink scarf tied around his head with his dorga and skinny legs showing.  He also has “the cough” and occasionally he will cough out the window while making sharp turns and driving like a maniac. Oh INDIA

We managed to see the sunrise and see a few elephants.  It felt like our own safari.  As the sun began to rise, the views became more and more amazing.  We were eventually right on top of the clouds with this incredible haze among the mountains and the bright, lush green were stunning.  It was so unexpected to come to India and see this amazing natural beauty. 
Making another stop to get coffee, I joke that I am just going to sleep on the hill.  It is now 8am and we still have not arrived at the center of town. 
Finally we make it to town and we find my precious Reflection guesthouse staying with a sweet family that makes amazing breakfast and overlooks the Ooty lake-PRIS is thankful to be off the bus and into a shower=)

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