Driving back from Ooty, India
We stacked our things into the car early and headed out, with a plan to stop on the way down at a friends home in Gudalur. Eat breakfast and then go we were urged by the Teanest staff, and inspite of there being no electricity, they conjured up piping hot idlis and vadas, cut fruit and steaming hot chai probably from their other property close by.
We had a pair of bridge players who came in for the night in the second room and so there was a little noise at the dining table as we all ate breakfast together. We made our fond goodbyes and waved thank you and sped off in our noisy Chevy which sounds like a drag racing queen cause of its busted silencer.
I was happy with the ginger and elaichi tea bought and stacked in my suitcase along with Citronella oil to mix in the swab water, to keep mosquitos away in our home in the plains. We all looked out at the swathes of tea gardens for the last time, as we headed home.
Along the way were little kiosks with local farmers selling carrots and beets, radishes and potatoes. All root veggies which grew in abundance in the fertile terraces cut into the dry river plains where the most fertile soil collected. For Rs 20 you got a lovely bunch of bright orange carrots complete with their feathery heads, or pure white radishes with their green leafy tops.Not too fond of beets we did not pick up any, but potatoes too went into the bag which could be cooked up with some lady finger ( okra) back home.
We had sped past Stany and Mari’s home in Gudalur, so after checking with them on the phone we had to back track at least 5 km to find them. And what a wonderful experience to have. Up in the foothills of the blue mountains is their rambling old colonial style home. Now around 30 years old the house is built on the side of a hill and has elephants, deer, the occasional reverberating roar of a tiger and a wicked leopard that ate up their alsatian pet dog.
Stany and Mari have worked with the tribals, fighting for their rights for years and are revered in the blue mountains for their work. It was wonderful to sit at a groaning table with all of Mari’s cooking on display for us to tuck into. Two varities of soup, salads, meats, fish, rice, pasta, flat noodles, wow, our eyes goggled at the spread. Mari is undoubtedly a great cook and she has passed on her skills in baking to the tribals.
After a really heavy lunch which ended with two desserts put out for our enjoyment, we headed home once the rain subsided and let us make the walk down to the cars.
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