|A friendly policeman helps to carry Wendy|
|Ready to leave Kodai|
After five nights, we decided to go down the mountain to the Periyar Game Reserve which was next on our list. Richard packed everything up and loaded our bags on the bike - while yours truly sat and watched.
|Down the Ghats from Kodai|
|Big family of monkeys on the road|
|Coffee (& bum!) break|
|Kumily / Periyar luxury at $13/night|
We stopped along with many others to have a coffee at the waterfall. The rest of the way to the plain was uneventful but the last part of the trip to Periyar took us up a steep, narrow winding road that easily competed with the Kodai climb. We got behind a truck and didn't want to pass since there were so many curves but cars and bikes came up behind us and passed anyway. And, for some reason we couldn't understand at first, nothing seemed to be coming the other way and the road ahead was in fact clear. Then we found out why.
We suddenly turned a corner and saw a long line up of cars and trucks as far ahead as we could see. Since nothing was coming down, the right side of the road, narrow though it was, had a passage wide enough for bikes, so we carried on up on the 'wrong side' till we encountered the reason for the hold-up. A bus had hit a truck and its windscreen was shattered. Richard pulled over further to the side and tried to park the bike but there was such a slope at the edge on the downside that the bike began to lurch over. I screamed of course and that drew a flock of men to our aid. They righted the bike without any difficulty, lifted me off and then basically carried me to the wall opposite and sat me there for the duration while we waited for the bus to get out of the way and the road open. Policemen were there to help organize and they controlled some of the movement and it wasn't long before we were on our way again. The line-up on the other side went for miles it seemed and there was a stream of vehicles most of the way down this narrow hairpin curved road.
We were very glad to find a delightful place to stay with a comfortable bed, great shower, and very helpful owners. It was newly built and spotlessly clean. The young man there rushed out to help as soon as we showed up - put out a piece of wood to balance the bike and helped me get off.
The first evening, we went to two cultural events at a small hall in town. The first was martial arts along with an athletic display of armed combat using swords, shields, poles, and sticks.
|Indian Kalari (Martial Arts)|
The second was both informative and fascinating. We had thought the Kathakali song and dance might be hard to watch for long but the program began with a clear demonstration and explanation of the facial and hand movements that would be used to tell the story and then we saw the performance by two people whose control of their facial muscles and eyes was quite astonishing. A third person did the singing and since we had been told the story and were more or less able to read the gestures, we enjoyed it thoroughly. Have to admit, however, that when we were told that the whole narrative would take four hours, we doubted we'd manage that. An hour was great.
|Early morning boat ride in the Periyar Tiger Park|
|No game, but we did see these birds nesting|
This monkey in the entrance area was working the water fountain - he was busy pressing the handle and drinking his fill.
My foot is proving very slow to improve - despite the daily iodine and other potions applied dutifully but without much enthusiasm!
By the way, if anyone needs a nurse, Richard is a natural!