My Munnar kerala Tour
A driver picks us up at the Hotel Ambassador in a white seat covers with white linen, with air conditioning. Allure colonial chic and guaranteed in this beautiful retro car. Pasha's life begins. We laugh every time but the word is not too strong, we really lived a life of Pasha during his stay in India! There are 140 km from Cochin to Munnar kerala, four-hour drive 40 km / h average. No matter, the scenery is enchanting. We are in a field of coconut trees and banana trees. Children are on the side of the road by large signs. Men in colorful lunghi walk in the shade of an umbrella group of girls silhouettes silky, are given an orange or pink sari of Bengal in ebony black of their long braid. Many times during our stay, we will meet walkers older shaved head, in white shirt and Lunghi, umbrella in hand, disturbing copies of Mahatma Gandhi. Everywhere as we will see small shrines housing a glass-size statue of Mother Theresa, honored with flowers at the same deities.
And around the country, trucks colored like giant toys, yellow or red, with beautiful illuminations and a kind of halo on top of the cabin where the driver is part of the name. From a certain altitude, the road turns into a series of switchbacks. The vegetation changes. Shortly before the first appear Munnar tea plantations, bushes in perfect geometric shapes, hanging on the mountainside, like nail scissors to cut. Munnar, emerald mountains responsible for the country's green gold, Munnar is perched at 1600 m altitude and the air cools sharply. Our munnar hotel, the Olive Brooke, Republic of Nature (his motto), is a few km from the city center, surrounded by nature. It was recommended to us by the hotel in Cochin. Sabbu we are greeted by a young man with exquisite gentleness, quiet and smiling.
The rooms are large but quite austere. Disadvantage quickly swept by the princely hospitality that we will benefit. We are the only guests in this small hotel is the low season. The team is preparing a meal "Typically indian" with a succession of dishes all the more delicious than the other. Lady Fingers fried (they are okra) curry with coconut milk and cream, cashew nuts, vegetable masala, meal with coconut milk and grated fresh coconut, pineapple juice, sweet as honey .we have dinner with candles in front of the mountain, surrounded by the heady song birds chirping all night. Jungle noises of the night with the rustle of leaves and the songs are so characteristic of tropical birds invisible but very noisy!
The morning rises on a freshly washed blue sky with rain and night which is the setting for all shades of green vegetation. Another white Ambassador arrives with Shandur, our driver the day. Off to tour the plantations of Mr. Tata.Tata Tea Ltd is the big company that controls 80% of plantations in India. Mr Tata also manufacturer of cars, trucks and telecommunications, is the wealth of the country. View Pothamedu first stop where we embrace the entire valley and surrounding mountains. Then we embrayons on a circuit through the tea plantations that dot the landscape at infinity. We will be meeting tirelessly harvesters that cut the young green leaves of bushes and above them there only. The leaves grow back then, always the green shoots. The tea bushes are powerful, somewhat comparable to cherry laurel for the force, the shoot and leaf shape. Every seven years, they are cut flush, like roses and push with greater force. The pickers have a curious instrument, half-shears, half-butterfly net. They cut the top of the bush with sharp blades and the leaves fall to the rear into the net. Other women are responsible for cleaning the leaves collected by tearing the midrib. The sky is deep blue, the fields of emerald green tea pickers and scattered on the hillside, in their colorful saris make up an embroidery of a thousand colors, illumination of a Book of Hours. I photograph these tables constantly under the eye dazzling individual children whom we call "pencils and sweets, Madam." Fortunately, we planned the affair and bought a kilo of sweets and pens in town! For lunch, we eat lunch in Munnar, a city with no particular charm, noisy and lively, the Indian might say of a country where every road is crowded with people. Traffic is chaotic and uninterrupted. Everywhere stalls selling tea and spices. The region also cardamom plantations. I buy ginger tea, orange, cinnamon, tea masala and huge bag of spices, pepper, cinnamon bark, cardamom pods that I use a lot, all for a price absolutely ridiculous. Our bags will long fragrant. I must say a word tea masala, Indian specialty, my discovery of the trip. It is a black tea powder added masala (cardamom, ginger, star anise, cinnamon and sometimes pepper), boiled with half water, half milk and very sweet (the Indians are real sweet tooth!). A taste of gingerbread that calls other cups. He leaves a great taste and very spicy on the palate. I drank every day with delight. Sabbu, the young hotel manager, explained to me how I grind my powder masala with fresh spices. I also bought bags of tea masala powder ready. Continuing our day, we pass the brightly colored Hindu temples, altars adorned with necklaces of jasmine. We meet a school run by nuns (Catholic Schools are strict, strict is good for children, Shandur dixit!), The garden decorated with all the animals in Noah's ark, colored plaster. The trip ends at the foot of the waterfalls that flow into huge boulders rolling down to end their run in torrents just as happy to soak the feet of cardamom that require shade and coolness. In this regard, the cardamom pods are tiny bulblets attached to the roots of the plant is a large shrub with beautiful long green leaves. Huge feet datura trumpet pristine white to line the edges of streams. At 18 hours, the day is already the storm threat and we return to the hotel as the first drops. Sabbu runs an umbrella in hand to keep us from getting wet. We shout goodbye to Shandur and the incredible echo of the mountain is our voice in the distance, long time. Thanks to Munnar Guide travels for arranging my munnar tour . I will never forget you and wonderful munnar