I’ve been awake since 3 a.m. and clearly I am not in the mood to swim in elephant dung. Obviously I must be in India.
As our rented car heads farther into the Blue Hills of India my boyfriend is showing me the murky green waters of swimming holes on the sides of the winding mountain road and explaining how swimming here as a kid he would sink to his knees in green packyderm poo.
You’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning to see an elephant ( or a tiger for that matter) in Bandipur Tiger Preserve, and we really tried this morning! We drove out of Bangalore at three a.m. and drove south towards Ooty, the tiger preserve and eventually Jungle Retreat in Masanagudi.
Luckily our driver delivered us safely to the Jungle Retreat after a record fast four hour drive through a foggy India morning.
I don’t know how I slept through most of the first three hours of the drive as our driver was honking and tooting every two minutes. I understand everyone does this in heavy Bangalore traffic but there was hardly anyone on the roads at this before dawn hour! I felt like our driver had Tourette’s of the horn variety! He must have been honking at every lorry, motorbike and cow in the surrounding ten miles! This seems typical with India drivers. If they are not honking and weaving in and out of traffic than they are sending off a quick text and I don’t even know how I noticed with my eyes squeezed shut in terror. Well who knows why he was so over eager with the horn but at a steady 110 kilometers an hour ( besides every ten minutes that we drove through a town or constantly having to brake to almost stop any time there was a road bump or a cow on Mysore Highway) we quickly made our way through the foggy country highways towards Ooty and the jungle.
Before we knew it we were in Thepakkadu enjoying our favorite Bru instant coffee at a road side hut where I felt the men in traditional skirts had not seen a white person in a very long time.
That’s when my boyfriend pointed out the elephant shit holes, I mean watering holes, perfect for swimming on a hot day, if you don’t mind swimming in elephant dung.
On a chilly and foggy mountain morning jumping in any water, especially water containing elephant feces did not sound appealing.
More coffee please.
The sunset became way more pretty and way more pink as we fought our way up into the mountains. I say fought because the drive was just an insane fight to scramble up hill in our little passenger car, constantly slowly passing barely moving lorries around blind corners. It could have been worse, we could have been in a rickshaw, I mean rideable lawn mower; this is India after all.
As the fog of the valley made way to pink slightly sunny skies we crossed into the state of Tamil Nadu.
That’s when the border police tracked us down. The border police can confiscated any liquor in this state. They have a big crack down on liquor, it’s not even served at our hotel. The officer beckoned my boyfriend out of the car and I heard him talking about the wine in my luggage and I thought, damn it, we are so busted.
Than a monkey jumped inside the car with us and all hell broke loose! This is why you don’t leave the window down in India! I tried to get a few photos but for some reason my IPhone decided that the one time a monkey was in the car it was not going to work.
My boyfriends daughter was yelling “Dad” at the top of her lungs as the monkey attempted to get in the backseat with us to take a selfie.
I’m assuming it had enough fun with us as after wiping it’s poo covered fists on my boyfriends pillow and it scrambled off into the jungle.
When my boyfriend returned to the car (Wine-less, boo) I told him the whole scheme with the monkey was a plan to distract the border patrol cop from our wine. It did not work.