Where Did I Leave Off?
So much has happened since my last update, it's hard to know where to begin. Yesterday, while walking around the city of Mysore, I saw a few hundred people gathered around the street. As I approached, it became clear what as going on, they were shooting a music video. As I started taking pictures, one of the producers noticed me, said something to the choreographer, then promptly shouted at me "YOU WANT TO DANCE?" - My reply, "HELL YEAH". So guess what? They taught me the dance step (sort of flapping your arms while raising one leg, reminds me of the funky chicken dance...), put me on a horse & buggy type deal, and started filming me doing this weird dance. Well, that was fun.. They are sending me a copy too. (I'll post pictures of the event shortly)
Last week I was in Allappy for the backwaters, a massive network of rivers and islands only accessible by boat. Many tourists rent a houseboat for 24-hours which has a private cook on board ($120+), but I decided to just take the boat the locals take (.10 cents) and just enjoy the serene atmosphere. I had a great time meeting the native people, drinking from a coconut cut down from a tree by a local, and generally just relaxing and enjoying myself.
From Allapy I headed back north to Kochi and then east to Munnar, a hill-station (high in the mountains, highest point 3.9 miles up-- in the clouds) which I heard about from some college student's I met in Kochi. The bus ride was pretty exhilarating, considering the old bus going up the mountain side without any guard rails and only a few feet away from imminent death, but the other Indians didn't seem too nervous about the situation, so I tried not to worry (I did notice other foreigners were quite nervous as well).
I spent 3 days in Munnar, in a cabin with 2 Swiss students I met on the bus. The cabin was really great, located far away from the city. The Swiss (1 guy, 1 girl, not together) were fun to hang out with, and one of the nights we made a campfire and ate dinner under the brightly lit stars. Another day was spent walking up & down a nearby mountain (3 miles up, 3 miles down), visiting a tea factory (Munnar has tea plantations as far as the eye can see), and more relaxing.
Another long bus ride down the mountain left me in Coimbature, a transit city with not much to see or do. However, I was content with spending the day on the internet. From there I took a train to Mysore... (I'm exhausted just writing this...)... I visited the Majarahas Palace among other places, and gave one of the security guards $3 to take me upstairs to the 2nd floor not accessible or ever seen by the public..
Arriving in Bangalore this morning, I checked into a hotel with a TV (although no showerhead, hot water from 5am-10am, no a/c of course, $8), and spent the day walking around the city. In a few hours I'm going to check out the posh(?) Bangalore nightlife.