Beginnings

Vanessa arrived from the US at 5 am. Neither of us had gotten much sleep, Vanessa because she was on a plane, me because well there were a few things that needed to be taken care of around the house before Vanessa arrived. So the rest of the morning was spent if not exactly sleeping at least doing restful things, ie watching Doctor Who. In the evening we grabbed some Subway subs and headed out to the train station. We were on our way to Ooty. Ooty is a hill station in the Nilgiri Hills and is almost all the way across the sub-continent from Chennai. The train ride was close to 12 hours, and although we had “beds” in the train it was not exactly ideal sleeping conditions.

We arrived in Mettupalayam the following morning. There is a special train from this village up to Ooty. It is suppose to be extremely scenic, driving through many old tunnels and along the hills. I had attempted to get us tickets, but the train was already fully booked months before. Walking by the train we were both glad that we didn’t have tickets. The train was very crowded with small wooden seats and looked really uncomfortable especially considering the bags of luggage we would have had to find room for. Instead we found a taxi and took the three hour ride by car.

It was along this drive that we had our first and probably most eventful encounter with local wildlife. The place we were headed for was actually past Ooty. So we went up the mountain through Ooty and back down the other side a little bit to Masinagudi. When we were only 20 minutes from our hotel we stoped at a bridge over a little creek. The bridge walls were crawling with Monkeys. We got out of the car and walked around a bit into the forest and near the creek. Vanessa still hadn’t eaten all of her sub which we had brought on the train for our supper and it was sitting on the bench in front of her seat in the small van which was our taxi. As she opened the side door of the van to embark once again one of the monkey’s jumped in behind her grabbed the sub ( still wrapped ) and jumped out again before we even noticed what was happening. It was quite humorous to watch the monkey tear apart the wrapper and then the sub as he examined each piece sniffing the various vegetables and pieces of meat as if to see if they were of good enough quality for him.