Monday, January 28, 2008

Tamil Nadu village

Johnny of the Banyan

Tamil Nadu goes Bollywood

One of two sites on Prabhu's Banyan Tree plantation that has been a set for Bollywood films since the 50's.

Waterfall swimming

Idyllic watering hole on the 4500 acre Banyan Tree homestay in Tamil Nadu.

Indira Gandhi National Park

Saw the common animals: spotted deer, peacocks, macaque and langur monkeys, guar (wild boar), 4 bison. Razortail bird, with a long ribbon tail was amazing.
Wild elephants and tigers eluded us. Although we heard and smelled the elephants several times.

Munnar downtown and tea plantation

We stayed at the Talayar Estate Bungalow. One of few tea estates not owned by Tata.

Johnny and the Gurka

Our guard at Talayar. The empire hasn't quite died in Munnar.

Picking tea leaves

At the Talayar tea plantation. We're bringing the leaves home for a cuppa with you.

Swarmed by students

We made friends very easily.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Munnar school visit

We approached from the tea plantation above it. Students playing Kabadi, an Olympic sport.

Kayaking on the Periyar

Biking near the Ghats

Swim at the dam

Looks peaceful...on the Periyar River.

Johnny's elephant

Birding at Thettakad

Excellent guide at the sanctuary. Seen here with Alon from Melbourne. Lots of bright blue kingfisher, Malabar hornbill (endemic), mynah, frog-mouth (endemic), rufus, honey buzzards.

Hornbill Camp and Matthew's Rubber Plantation

Tropical paradise

Typical backwater village houses.

Tom goes marketing

Tom ferried to a village to buy lobster prawns.

Johnny lounges on the houseboat


We embark on an overnight of luxury with a crew of 3 to attend 3 of us as we cruise the backwaters.

Coir factory

Quick stop to see how coconut shells are made into rugs. At this cooperative in Communist Kerala, the government gets 97% and 300 workers get 3%.

We love this family

Our first Kerala homestay, three nights in the backwaters. Kayaking, biking, visited local church and toured the multi-crop farm, fishing, swimming at the beach, drumming, dancing, singing, badminton, cards, and the most wonderful food with the most wonderful open-hearted and open-minded family, Shirley, Hormiss, Anne, Rose, Ria, Mumchi (apologies on spellings). Lovely 300 year old double courtyard home.

Anne catches perspot!

Strolling the rice paddies

Badminton with Anne and Rose

At the beach