Saturday, December 3, 2011


Right now we're in Kodaikanal. It's a small town of about 50,000 people at the top of a mountain, the elevation here is 7500 feet. These hill stations were used by the British as a place to go for the summer where it's much cooler than the hot valley during the summer months. This time of year it's a bit cold at 50 degrees with a lot of fog. Kodaikanal is a tourist destination now and has some great sites and hotels. Today we saw a catholic church that was built in 1829, pretty neat. Then our driver took us on a drive through the woods and we stopped at various places along the way.

I had some great photo shots today. Got out of the van at our first stop today and there were two huge buses full of 15 year old boys on a school trip. I didn't make it one step from my van and they all crowded around me like I was a movie star or something. They all had their cell phones out taking my photo and asking questions and stuff. Then one by one they shook my hand and posed to have their photo taken with me. Even their teachers. It was quite the experience. I eventually found mom and steve and they too were surrounded by a bunch of school kids. They must have thought mom and steve were movie stars because they surely don't look like rock  stars. Actually, the people here in South India are so outgoing and friendly and really have this thing about tourists, especially American tourists. I guess it's just as good as being a movie star.

I bought some popcorn at a road side stand today, it was realllllllllllyyyyyyyyy good. I was walking back to the van with my popcorn and the monkeys started chasing me and cornering me, they thought I bought the popcorn for them! Of course every one is laughing at me rather than trying to help me. One monkey tried to jump on me to get my popcorn, I had to kick him away. Once in the van another one tried coming in through the open driver's  window to get my popcorn, the driver had beat it away. Once I was secure in my seat with all the windows closed I slowly began eating my popcorn to the dismay of the numerous monkeys sitting outside, watching me. I made sure they knew how good it was with each deliberate bite.   Then I bought some home made chocolate at another road side stand, that was really good too, no monkeys there. Then at another stop I bought some butterscotch ice cream, and that was good too until more monkeys started to chase me. I finally had to give away half my cone because one mean male would not let me pass without paying my taxes.

We then went to a Hindu temple that was built in 1936 and were blessed by the priest there. He also gave us a bit of information about the temple which really was neat to see. Then we took off to Suicide Point which, if it were not for the fog, would have given us a great view of the valley below. There's a really nice boarding school here for foreign kids. I remember when I was 12 or 13 I tried hard to get mom and dad to send me to boarding school in India, this was one of the ones I had a brochure on at the time.

Tomorrow we're headed to Madurai. It's the second largest city in the state of Tamil Nadu. We'll be there for two days as it has some very ornate and very old Hindu temples that we want to see.

Lots of carrots for sale at a roadside stand

Carrying firewood that will be sold to hotels for about $4 a load

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Looking at Carlton Hotel
Built in 1829

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