Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rooty, Tooty, Fresh and Fruity Ooty

Ooty is a WONDERFUL place.  It's one of the hill stations where the colonial British, unaccustomed to the climate, would traditionally go to get out of the heat.  The air is clear, the trees are pine and cedar, and the plantations grow tea.  The weather is much cooler during the daytime, and at night, you can actually see your breath.  The YWCA complex is a collection of old, wood, elongated “cottages,” some with dorms, some housing just a few rooms, spaced throughout hillside gardens.   Our room was huge, with a separate dressing room between the bedroom and bathroom.  The walls were white, the floor was tiled in terra cotta, and the bed linens and curtains were blue and white checked.  It was a lovely room, but there's no heat(MAN, that floor gets COLD).  On the rate card at reception are prices for extra blankets (5 rupees or 10 cents each) and hot water bottles.  We decided that an extra couple of blankets might not be a bad idea.  When bedtime rolled around and we tried to get under the covers, we realized that there was quite a pile of blankets on the bed already- two heavy wool blankets, two fleece blankets, a sheet, and the bedspread.  Colin described being under the load as feeling like sleeping under the lead blanket at the dentist's office.  I practically dislocated my shoulder trying to pull back the covers to climb in, and once under the covers, it felt like there was another person flopped over top of us.  But, it was toasty warm, and we both slept like babies.

Colin is happy to find that he still has the hair on his crown
We spent two and a half days in Ooty.  Our first full day, we walked into town to find some breakfast and motor oil, since the plan for the day was to do some much-needed bike maintenance.  We found both-really good, hot milk coffee and fresh buttered rolls for breakfast, plus a cupcake for breakfast-dessert (mmmm, tutti frutti cake in Ooty! Has a nice ring to it) and plain, old, 20W50 for the bikes and walked back up the hill to work on the bikes.  It was a beautiful, clear, and crisp day, perfect to be outside working, which was good, because the maintenance took nearly all day.  We changed both rear tires, the oil, the sparkplugs, the jets in the carburetors, fixed Colin's brake lever with a rock and a hammer (if I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning), and the tube in Colin's front tire.  All of it went relatively smoothly, except that the replacement jets were gunked up with rubber band snot (it apparently disintegrated in the heat or from chemicals, I don't know) and took some soaking in gasoline to clean.  When we finally finished and picked up the tools, the sun was setting.  We got ourselves cleaned up and walked back down the hill into town for some dinner.

The next day, we headed to the Botanical Gardens for a stroll.  These gardens are far superior to the one in Pondy, actually having labels on the plants and trees, and gardeners tending the gardens!  We spent several hours walking, looking at the plants, sitting on a park bench drinking really good coffee, and posing for many more photos. 

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