Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Snooty Ooty

As I stepped off the bus it most of taken all of five seconds before I was befriended by a man who had rooms. As I hadn't looked at my guide book I went along and got a room. I was charged an extra twenty rupees tax. This is basically the touts 'finding fee' as it only applied the first night. I had a quick look around Ooty. I have seen it described as having fading Raj grandeur. To be honest it's more like faded grandeur. Still I wandered off to an old restaurant to sample a step back in time to the good old days, tallyho!

The restaurant had old furniture in the corners, a grandfather clock, china plates pinned to the walls and a gramaphone. At first I thought they were playing tunes from the forties but later on as I listened more closely I realised it was an accordion playing a selection of the standards, such as Happy Birthday and The Birdie Song. Very strange.

Things didn't get any better when the waiter arrived acting like a cross from a Stephen King film and Fawlty Towers, whilst wearing a Val Doonacan sweater. He definitely seemed a little odd. Still the meal was okay although the plastic plates seemed conspicously out of place.

I was only here for a day and one of the few places I didn't get lost it in. This is due to the fact that it is built round a large racecourse which helps for orientation.

I popped into a nice shop called Hot Breads which had tasty fresh pastries and a very yummy chocolate bun. Now if I could just find somewhere that does a good bacon roll and sells Irn-Bru I'd be a happy bunny!

I like this 24hour checkout that some hotels have, as I didn't get into Ooty till about four o'clock and the next day I was getting the train at three. This meant that I could leave my luggage in my room for the morning and come back later. I walked up to the Botanic Gardens, where I got stuck behind about fifty OAPS in the queue. Maybe this is where the Indians retired to? I nosied about for a bit, there are a lot of plants, and had my lunch, I think I picked up a bit more sunburn. At this altitude (2200m) you probably get burnt a bit easier than you realise. Then I headed back to share my room with a big spider

Later on I caught the train along to Coonoor, on an ageing steam train for the princely sum of seven rupees. I was expecting to be crammed in like sardines after seeing the amount of people that got of the carriage. It reminded me of one of these comedy sketches where twenty people come out the back of the taxi. Forntuately it was a lot quieter going back down and I had plenty of space and a good view out of the window. With my head sticking out the window to see where I was going, I probably looked like a dog in a car, except I managed to keep my tongue in.

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