Coorg / Coffee Estate - Wednesday, February 13, 2002
Hey, I have been away from civilization for a week, so haven't
been able to update the diary for a while.
I left Ernakulam last Tuesday night. Mike & Tal, the 2 Americans,
where also leaving on the same train with their bikes, they were
a bit sick of riding it now. However we were not in the same compartment,
so once again I travelled alone.
It didn't really matter though, as it was 11.30 pm and everyone
where going to sleep anyway. I reached Mangalore the next morning
about 10 am and checked into a hotel. Then I went to call these
people that I kind of accidentally got in touch with through a
travel web site. First I got some info from Nithya, an Indian
girl living in Canada. She had mailed me general info since I
was in India, telling me that she had family in Karnataka. So
when I told her I was on my way to Mangalore, she organized everything.
Called her parents to let them now I was coming. So when I called
her parents they were all so friendly. They invited me over for
both tea and dinner.
Their nephew Alex took me for a drive to the beach as well. Next
morning I left with Alex and his mum, Lilian (Diddi),which is
Nithyas aunt. Ok sorry if this is getting too complicated, its
not really very important. I just wanted to try and explain it
all. The whole thing was really depending on soo many coincidences!
It was pure luck that they were in town, just when I came. They
have a coffee estate up in Coorg (the hills east of Mangalore).
So next morning I got a ride with them to their Estate. I stayed
with them for about 5-6 days. It was very nice. Far away from
everything. Not a single tourist in sight, no people at all in
fact, apart from a few neighbouring estates. Had a very peaceful
They showed me the coffee plantation and how they harvest the
coffee and treat it before roasting. They also grow some pepper,
papaya, cardamom, oranges, bananas and lime. I learned a lot about
how these things work. We also went for walks around the estate.
It is about 60-70 acres. I have no idea what this is on square
meters, but it was BIG! At least I thought it was big.
Their house was on the very top of a hill. The road up their
looked almost impossible for a car to climb, but I then realized
why everyone in this place have 4-wheel jeeps! They had another
jeep from the 2nd world war too and one day we went for a drive
on the estate with it, really good fun. It could drive uo anything.
Another day we went to a Tibetan settlement and Monastery not
too far from Mysore. They have built a huge temple and a lot of
the sculptures inside are massive and all plated with gold!
The rest of the time we spendt doing everyday things. Lilian
taught me how to make a few Indian dishes, like Dosai. One evening
we even had a tiny party with some of their friends from the neighbouring
estate. It was really funny. Drinking and driving is pretty normal
here, but they were all soo worried about who was going to drive
down when they had to go home. As they said, people either have
to love you or hate you, to bother going up that road. They got
down safely in the end though.
4 dogs also lived there, Sambo, Simba, Sheila & Sheeba. Yes,
confusing I know. It took me about 4 days to get the hang of who
was who. The dogs were so friendly, always hanging around together
and very affectionate and cute. They were all street mix. I have
a feeling that pure race is hard to come by down here. Especially
all the stray dogs all look the same, most of them look kind of
ugly and scary. Im always a bit worried when passing these packs
of dogs at night, but so far so good!
Well, I guess this somehow sums up the last week. I got back
here to Mangalore last evening. I took the bus from a village
about 45 minutes from the estate. Halfway here the bus got a flat
tyre. Everyone had to get off, but they were very efficient. I
mean this is India, things usually takes ages, but after 1/2 hour
the driver, conductor and a mechanic we came across on the side
of the road, had changed the tyre.Wow!
Im staying with Nithya's grandmother now, a very sweet woman.
She has a nice house here. Today I have been walking around town,
fixing a few things and looking at a beautiful chapel covered
with paintings on both ceiling and walls. There are a lot of Christians
in this state, so there are churches scattered all over town.
Just behind where Im staying there is another church about 300
years old. There is a kind of Portuguese feel to the place. Not
so weird since it is very close to Goa (which was a Portuguese
Tomorrow Il be going up to Karwar, just below Goa. It is supposed
to be a good beach a few kilometres outside of this town, but
no one knows anything about it, so I will have to check it out.
If it is not the case I'll go to Gokarna. Ssupposedly a laid
back place too. I have no idea when i'll be online next time.
It will depend on how isolated the places are I guess. Time is
running out now, just about a month left of my trip. However Im
really looking forward to go home as well. It will be Easter and
spring when I get back home, the most perfect time to return!
Im still enjoying my time here too though. Phew, this entry must
be a mile looong by now. I don't even know if it makes any sense,
but it will have to do.