Coorg

Kodagu Moments – Days 2,3

Continued from Day 1.

The replacement for the early morning trek was a coffee trail trek that began at 10.30. Breakfast was sumptuous, and in addition to the elaborate buffet, you could also get dosas and eggs made-to-order. We returned to our room before getting to the Leisure area to begin the trek. Arun Poovaiah arrived on time, but we had to wait for a few guests who took a while to land up! After introductions, to each other, and to some fauna near the building (like the Burmese you can see in the second image – it stops growing if it comes in contact with an alternate life form! And I thought I was asocial!) we began walking higher, towards the second phase of the property’s expansion. On the way, we were shown the Arabica and Robusta coffee plants. The second phase was where the deluxe suites were being built – they were complete except for the work on the interiors. I think 227 was the suite we saw, and it was a rival to the ‘best view in the resort’ tag. To top it, there was a Jacuzzi on the balcony!

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Here’s a quick view of the scene from the balcony.

Poor Arun, having encouraged questions, was at the receiving end of some utterly random questions! I hate to sound like a jerk, but I really wished I had lmgtfy stickers! When he asked us for feedback on the stay, most guests said there were not enough activities – live bands was one suggestion! Led me to wonder whether humans had lost their ability to make their peace with silence and stillness. ​Our frantic days are really just a hedge against emptiness. 
 ~ Tim Kreider. Ah, well. Arun replied that live bands were not really in the scheme of things, but they did have tennis, basketball and badminton courts. We had also discovered a ping-pong table, carom and several board games in the Leisure area earlier. This is one feedback we had – that the welcome folder in the room should have this information, WiFi passwords etc.

We had been asked specifically to wear jeans and shoes for the trek, but several in the group pretended not to have received the memo. Thanks to that, the leeches in the area decided to invite themselves to the party! Arun totally downplayed it saying that it was blood donation. 😀 We then saw a rudraksh tree and the poor guy was asked for the significance of the number of faces a rudraksh had! He did say that a single faced one only appeared once a century and apparently Rajinikanth, Sonia Gandhi and Queen Liz had one! From there we moved on to see Elaichis, and the leeches decided to crash the party again! I got a video of one doing its version of the pub crawl.

We also saw the soon-to-be spa, the sports courts, and even the area for the swimming pool before we completed the trek.

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Lunch was another buffet, and there was still no pork! We asked for it and were told that we’d get a portion for dinner. We also saw a couple of kids whom we suspected were aged less than the resort’s 12 year old criteria. Hmm. On the way back to the room, I thought the buggy ride would serve as a good proxy tour of the resort. Here it is!

D had already made plans of how to spend the afternoon – Arun had invited everyone to The Verandah to make their own blend of coffee. I begged off and went into deep meditation, from which I emerged bleary eyed an hour later, when D came over to call me to taste the coffee she had blended, ground and brewed. We even got a packet of it. After we walked back to the room, we played a Calvinball version of chess, and then (for the first time) walked to the restaurant from the room. Silence except for crickets, a light breeze, bliss!

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We did get the pork curry, but though it was tasty, it was too little too late. This is another feedback we gave – when in Coorg, it is unpardonable not to serve pork in every single meal! After dinner, we played carom, and D was convinced that we should buy one. Yay! I’d been asking for one forever now!

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And thus ended Day 2, and our check out time the next day was 11 AM.

Day 3

The only time the service faltered was after breakfast when we asked for a buggy. It was raining heavily, and we had to wait for about 20 minutes before we got one. I have to say that this was the sole exception – the staff had always been courteous, and understood the meaning of service very clearly. They’d go out of the way to help and always made it a point to ask if we needed anything. Most everyone smiled, and that was wonderful! We ended up paying Rs.34500, inclusive of the driver’s food (nominal charges, and his accommodation was complimentary) for 3D/2N and while it might seem on the high side, and the place is not the easiest to reach, all things considered, it’s worth it if you can convince them to feed you pork regularly! 😀

We left out by around 11.30. and the driver’s clock showed 4.50. Our time was not right, I should have taken it seriously! We had initially thought of lunching at Madikeri but we made quick time on the way back and based on the distance, decided on Cafe Coorg near Hunsur for lunch. At Kushalnagar, the driver braked suddenly thanks to an idiot in front of him who, without any warning, decided to stop and attempt a U turn in the middle of the road! A bike scraped our vehicle a bit, cursed us and we thought that was the end of the day’s adventures. We stopped at Cafe Coorg and managed to keep down the food. Enough said. (Probably a good idea to have an early breakfast at Tamara and lunch at Madikeri)

A little after that, the awesomeness began. A sudden hump ahead made the driver in front of us brake. Our driver was too late to respond, and we could only watch in helpless silence, as despite the hand brake, we skidded straight on to the back of the vehicle ahead of us! No one except our car was hurt. The other car’s owner was a Mallu and after mildly complaining about the damage to his vehicle, (which wasn’t much) prophesied that our vehicle wouldn’t move! He offered us a lift till Kengeri but we declined. We then limped r.e.a.l.ly.s.l.o.w.l.y till Srirangapatna, where we got a mechanic. There was a theatre playing ‘Bulbul’ opposite the workshop, but D wasn’t very interested. The ‘fix’ took half an hour, and we resumed the journey. Turned out in a while that he had made it worse – the engine began to overheat! We barely managed to reach Mandya. Several bullock carts chose this opportunity to add wins to their CVs! Hmmph! Our driver managed to get us an alternate vehicle at Mandya, after unsuccessfully trying to convince us of the benefits of a Volvo bus, and then practically assembling all the taxi drivers around to offer bids, and suggestions!

We started from Mandya at 6, and managed not to touch other vehicles. But this driver also understood that we were on a vacation and despite directions and suggestions, decided to show us most of Bangalore before dropping us in Koramangala at 9.45. Ten hours and fifteen minutes on the road! D claimed that all the tranquility she had attained at Tamara was lost on state highways! But hey, we have 2 posts and photos to show for all of it! 😉

Kodagu Moments – Day 1

A variety of factors led us to look nearby for the first of this (financial) year’s vacations – a relatively unambitious trip to Coorg. But it was our first trip to the area, so we decided to make it special by resorting to luxuries that we otherwise stay away from during our travels. The trip began on a Friday morning, and our Celcabs driver was only about 15 minutes late. At 7.30 we got out of Koramangala on to tolled NICE and un-tolled other roads, and parts of Bangalore that we’d seen only on Google Maps.

Though we’d have liked to try out breakfast at Maddur Tiffany’s, hunger and a persuasive driver led us to Kamat Lokaruchi, just after Ramanagara, at about 9.15 AM. We decided that the ‘buffet’ option would be the least taxing mentally. At Rs.120 per head, it wasn’t the stuff legends are made of, but pretty filling and reasonably tasty – pongal, dosas, (masala and standard) Kotte Kadubu, vada, jalebi, kesari bath and so on! The pit stop was short and we then passed more Kamat outlets, a few CCD, McDonald ones, and even a KFC and Empire, all much more spacious and luxurious than the ones in Bangalore.

On to Channapatna, Maddur, and a Mandya quite different from the muddy little town that I had somehow visualised. Ambareesh (whom we have something bordering on affection for – thanks to Sumalatha’s mallu movie connection :) ) was everywhere, and thanks to ‘Bulbul’, so was Darshan! Shaded roads, a smattering of brand outlets and large parks, Mandya made a pretty picture. Neither of us knew that we’d meet again in a more elaborate way during the trip, but that’s for later.

Srirangapatna, Hunsur (which has a few highway eateries) Periyapatna later, we passed Bylakuppe, where ocher and saffron robed monks swarmed, and a couple of them managed to scandalise D when she spotted them in a non-veg restaurant which heavily advertised chicken as a specialty. I told her about the Dalai Lama being a non-vegetarian and she refused to believe me! After Kushalnagar, we were at Madikere just before 12.30. Given that our destination was only about 40 km away, we decided to wait till we got there, for lunch. But 40 km actually took almost a couple of hours, and past Napoklu and Kabbinakad lay the end of our journey – The Tamara, where we had reserved a weekend break package.

The billing happened first, heh, as did a welcome garland a vanilla drink that was oh-so-refreshing! Since we were reasonably famished, and there was some confusion regarding the room, we went straight to the restaurant. A buffet awaited us, and we weren’t really discerning of what we ate – I remember it as a large blur! Our luggage saw our room before us. A buggy (on-demand and a call away) is the most common form of transport, unless you want to walk, which is a splendid option. We’d specifically asked for Room 111 (or its adjacent 112) because they offered the best view in the property. And so it was.

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Since even a few thousand words aren’t really enough, here’s a video that D shot.

As with every other trip, my headache decided to pay a visit in the evening! Thankfully, there was an option to lounge around on the balcony, or to watch the landscape change colour right from the bed! Easy to guess what I chose. :)

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The buffet dinner had a couple of Coorg dishes but not what we had come seeking – pork! But we pigged out anyway. By then, it had begun raining. That meant that our trek planned for 6.30 AM had to be canceled, since the paths would be slippery. I pretended disappointment, but apparently not enough of an act to convince D! Haha. Day 2 would therefore begin a little later. At least one of us was not complaining!

To be continued…