DR350, India

Standing In a Bucket of Cooling Water

| India

I hope KodaiKanal will be the answer to my overwhelming feelings, It’s a small mountain village sitting 2200m above sea level. The air should be cooler and the village should be small. I leave the messy, run down city of Tiruchirappalli and head south west along the main state highway. Before long I find myself driving through Dindigul when I see a sign post for the turn off. I sigh, as I am relieved of riding on the main highway and finally find myself on a slightly smaller but still incredibly busy road.

Spotting a chai shop, with coconuts strung from a tree and several seats lined up, I stop. I’m starving, I buy and eat a whole packet of milk biscuits and down a small cup of hot coffee. After my rest, I turn off onto a even smaller road that starts to climb the mountain. With every few kilometres I climb I can feel the temperature drop. With food in my belly and feeling refreshed with the cool air that surround me, I start to get excited. I think mountains excite every motorcycle rider as they always means corners!

Around one particular corner I found a Royal Enfield, with its tank off and its engine open! I pull over to ask the two tourist if they are ok and if they need any tools. He tells me that they are ok. The lady waves at me and points up the road. I have no idea what that means, but they do look like they are in good hands. Turning the next corner I realised that they are part of a massive tour group all on Enfield’s. As I past by I wave out to them but carry on.
Climbing higher and higher, I am forced to stop to remove my sunglasses. The fog is so thick I cannot see any more. For the first time in India, I feel the cold and put my jacket over the top of my amour jacket. Arriving into a mountain town clutched in a mist. I am surprised to see my village was actually turned out to be a large town! Nothing can be small here in India.

Running up and down the hills keeps me warm while I try to find a cheap guest house. I eventually check into the ‘International Travellers Lodge’. I get a feeling that I am the only international guest and to top it off, I think I was the only guest! I got shown to a bright but cold concrete room. The man tells me he will bring me a bucket full of hot water in the morning. Completely covered in dust for the days travel, I would love to have a shower now, but there is no way I’m prepared for a cold one in this temperature!

Sure enough in the morning, I was brought a plastic container of hot water. Pouring the water out into a larger bucket I then could stand in the bucket. I had to stand in the bucket as the concrete was just too cold for my little bear feet! Feeling the water temperature drop quickly, I pour the warm water over me using the smaller bucket. After my quick wash, I jumped back into my sleeping bag to warm up again before getting dressed.

After being in India for over a week now, I feel like I should start trying street food. Every morning, I visited the same dosa street stall for breakfast the three days in a row. The guys begin to enjoy my visits as it gave them something to talk about with their other customers. On my last morning, I ended up having breakfast with an Indian family from Maduri. The pour wife was shivering in her summer weight sari. I told her she should wrap up better while she is up here. There daughter tried to practice her English with me, but she could not overcome her shyness. We finish our breakfast together and all wash our hands. As I got to pay, the husband waves at me. He paid for my breakfast! I thank him for his generosity and we take a few photos of each other before parting ways.

I ended up spending a few days here in Kodikanal, despite the cool weather. I spent my days sucking in the sun, sitting on a concrete ledge writing letters to my friends and family. I took walks around the lake where I meet more Indian tourist wanting to take photos of me. Well rested and ready to move on, I head back down the mountain back into the heat.