To started from Coimbatore, described as "India's Manchester." Our hotel, Alankar Grande, was fine and had the added bonus of being located in a walkable area. We walked by 3 coffee roasters - totally unexpected. We ducked into a department store, saw beautiful saris being shown with flair. The salesmen would fling the saris into the air to unravel them. We were too conspicuous to even try to take a picture.
|Anthony Raju, Ooty based guide|
|Sim's Park Coonor|
|Our first sighting of a lawn mover since |
Pasteur Institute (Across from Sim's Park)
Apparently one can get tours of the Pasteur Institute. This is clear example of leaving too much in the hands of the travel agency.
From Sim's Park we went to the Swamy and Swamy (really) tea plantation. We had a good factory tour followed by a tea tasting - we left with tea marsala and chocolate tea, the latter tastes similar to Milo.
|Tea Plants - Factory in the background|
|Tea Leaves Right Off the Vines|
Tea - nearly ready for packing. Looks like tea dust to us
|Trying to stay warm - it may be 60 degrees F, probably warmer|
|View of Coonor and storm clouds from Cyclone Thane |
|Blue Mountain Train - Unreserved seats 3 Rupiah (6 cents)|
|Always a chance to give feedback|
|Our New Year's Eve garb|
|Forest area outside Ooty|
|Enjoying the view|
Later in the trip we drove through Mudumalai Wildlife sanctuary. Our driver let us know that he thought that Ooty was expensive and polluted and we would have a much better vacation if we stayed in the sanctuary. Our driver was right - so if you are reading this while you are planning a vacation opt for the sanctuary.
|A black faced monkey|
Look closely - an elephant in the center. He is an "office elephant" not a wild elephant, which as we understand it means that he does tasks in the sanctuary