I never know how to start blogs well so I’ll just get right into it. India—what can I say that you haven’t heard already? Most people know that it’s really hot and humid, the cities are really crowded, and you’ve probably heard the rest from Matt. From my own experience, I’ve come to expect that big cities no matter where they are will smell like garbage and most likely sewage, and Chennai is no different. Traffic is everything you’ve heard—absolutely crazy, and seemingly chaotic, but I haven’t died yet so some of these drivers know what they’re doing. I still have no handle whatsoever on currency over here. In general, I’ve avoided buying souvenirs yet mostly because I have no idea how much money I’ve actually spent. So, I guess, Chennai hasn’t really surprised me yet. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t head out on my own into Chennai yet, but the only thing that’s really gotten to me is the massive heat wave you feel when you leave Matt’s office.
So, I’m just going to skip ahead to the good part.
Matt and I spent my first four days in India in the Nilgiri Hills/Blue Mountains at the Glenview Resort. We took a train from Chennai to Mettupalayam, and then it was about a four hour drive from the train station to Glenview. The view from the car was amazing–
OK, it’s a little blurry but you get the idea. Huge, towering tree-covered hills (I thought they were mountains until Matt pointed out that since they don’t have snow year-round at the peaks, they’re called “hills”. ) The roads were winding, hugging the curve of the mountainside (there, I said it, they are mountains, no matter what these crazy Indians think). At each hairpin turn, I was positive we were going to hit an oncoming car.
My first thoughts when I walked into my cabin at Glen View:
1)What is crawling in my ceiling??
2) I didn’t bring any towels
3) I forgot the toothpaste and we’re at least an hour away from Ooty.
4) Why is there no toilet paper?!?
After a four hour bout of extreme nausea on the drive there due to motion sickness and lack of sleep due to jet lag, I was done. I consider myself fairly good at being “outdoorsy”, but right then, I had had enough. I just wanted a nice hotel with air conditioning, a real shower, and toilet paper.
That was my shower.
But at least it had hot water.
I had to admit my room did look pretty sweet. (The bed’s all torn apart because I took this the day we left—this isn’t how it looked when I walked in). You could definitely tell Glen View was part of the ecotourism industry. Ok, maybe not from this shot, but there is a bamboo plant behind me growing through the floor and into the ceiling—intentionally designed, not by accident. The buildings were designed more around the forest rather than cutting down a large area to make room for the hotel.
My window looked out on the forest of the Nilgiri Hills, which at first glance consisted mostly of bamboo. Here was my first real stupid tourist moment. I’ve seen the little plants they sell at stores in the States and assumed that bamboo would grow to about the same size and thickness as a young sapling. THIS is what bamboo looks like:
The food wasn’t half bad either. I didn’t eat Indian food at first, but later I tried some chapati, curd, and onion raita. On the day before we left, I even tried some chicken curry, but I only had about 3 bites and then I was done.
One of the best things about the location though is how far away it is from any main roads or cities. There weren’t any noises from traffic or bright city lights at night. I loved just listening to the sounds of birds calling in the morning. Seeing the mountains every day was incredible. I would’ve gladly spent a few more days there.