The first view of the morning and it comes with a Chai. Its the perfect start!
I’m maybe about 1ft away from a Small electric fence, its made up of just one length of wire about waist height and its to stop Wild Elephants.
And here is last nights campsite, you’ll see its just below road level, like all rice paddies, just no water in this one. Slept like a baby!
Wild Elephants are something to avoid because they are “very grumpy and angry”.
When you hear a rustling in the bushes you have to check it out. “Good Morning Ladies, what are you doing?”
That’s what the chuckle brothers told me about 10 miles from the Tamil Nadu state border as they pulled alongside me for a chat on their scooter as I’m grinding up one of the many climbs along my route.
If you didn’t guess, this is coffee and they move the sheet under each bush and just strip the coffee beans. Are they beans at this stage? I have no idea.
Not too big but not tiny either, in a Park which clearly states “This is a Tiger Park”, note It’s a no boundaries type park (I’ll explain the electric fence soon) and I should add is also called Forest and its very apt, I’m going with Jungle, its thick, lush and if you get a break in the trees that often provide complete cover from the Sun, you will see for miles across the landscape around you that runs off into the distance and is very much the same as what lines the road around me ie green and everything you might imagine a jungle should look like.
You are looking at Robusta coffee here by the way.
When I say the same its often broken by large areas of Tea Plantations, never flat but always if you look either left or right you will notice that one side runs downhill and the other uphill, just broken by generally great condition, mostly sealed roads just wide enough for one vehicle and generally involving impossible (even to push sometimes) climbs and absurdly and very likely dangerous descents that melt in to never ending corners.
“Hey Mister Jason, come and watch us process coconuts”
Its also only right too mention the easier climbs and fun descents that make up part of this Greenest and most delicious part of India so far. I’ll spare the full details for these, but also include, Coffee, Rubber, Banana, Peppers, and something that grows everywhere and is a ‘natural’ chewing gum.
This machine will be used twice. First time it squeezes out all the juices that we will use for beauty products and the second time, what’s left is used for cooking oil.
The dark red soil that makes up the edge of the road and is about maybe 3ft high and contrasts nicely with black tarmac and its green, tidy, eye-candy tea bush top, is vivid. As for the Tigers although you are unlikely to see one, in fact very lucky or if you were the lady who was killed by one about 5km up the road a year ago very unlucky.
This is the result of the first cycle in the machine and its left in the sun for two days before being shipped off somewhere for beauty products.
It’s the sorta thing that you really hope you do and I’m guessing that you probably wish you really hadn’t, especially if you are in a Tent or on a bicycle.
These beans are already roasted and you can imagine the smell. This fella will grind the beans into coffee powder.
So the chuckle brothers who speak perfect English and are 22 years old and have the signature wide Indian smile have told me its not safe too camp in the Jungle at night because these wild ‘forest’ Elephants can and will outrun you and have huge tusks.
Powder ground before my eyes on the left, that’s breakfast sorted and some beans for munching as I make my way up a big climb that’s coming up.
I’ve heard about these Elephants from a number of locals and it seems this is advice best listened too. They have asked where I am going and its agreed I will not make my choice of destination which sits around 6000ft. “Come too our Village, you will be safe” they have suggested.
I just wanna check how much a Pineapple is and its about 40pence but its what’s in pieces in the tub that interest me. 1 pineapple is too big for me and not easy to carry once opened.
“Can you promise me you can find me a totally secluded and peaceful spot?”. I’ve explained I am on a mission to find perfect nature and no humans as I need to relax my brain and recharge. “we’ll keep everyone away” they tell me and it has become very rural and its seems doable.
“Excuse me fellas, but I know nothing about cooking but I think you have made a big mistake by putting green Chillies with these pineapple pieces”. Of course I have no idea what I am talking about, these hot chillies and sweet juicy pineapples are soaked in salty water and the taste is incredible. Sweaty head and sweet tongue!
We’ve checked out a few great spots but, ‘hmm tiger problem, or hmm elephant problem here” seems to be a ploy to get me closer to there home and here I am just by a tiny river maybe only thigh deep although “It’s a very dry season and it should be 3 or 4 times this deep” but its perfect for a quick swim/rinse and here in Rural India I can tell you I am in absolute paradise.
The Vatican sure is spending some big Cash on Churches in Kerala.
As for the peace, after a trip on scooters into the village Hotel for some food which of course includes stopping too say Hi too everyone they know along the way we have headed back to my tent and their parents house which is a small but perfect 3 room ‘farmers’ house nestled in The Jungle.
He doesn’t look much like Tigger?
A fire has been lit next too my tent, its cool for sure up here plus a great elephant deterrent and I have had time too learn more about Indian life and there hopes and dreams that would take forever too list.
That’s how I like my Jungle to look!
I am really enjoying this wealth of information and loving the constant Indian company. Mum and Dad have made some incredible ‘village’ food which is served with hospitality fit for a god and it is. “Here in India, guests are God” they proudly tell me.
They don’t see many skinny white fellas in this Village that’s for sure!
I have had the most amazing Indian day and although I am fairly certain the Elephant/Tiger situation is real I think more than anything its more of an excuse to get me back too there home.
Creating a fire break at about 2500ft is still hard work, I reckon its late 20’s celcius up here.
As for the electric fence, it is very much boundary free here but the fences protect the crops, in this case Bananas as “about 10 years ago a huge Forest fire wiped out most of the Bamboo here and the Elephants who love Bamboo are looking for food”.
There is some Tea.
The electric Fences are just to stop them devastating crops. “and just last week, 4 elephants came into our village at night”. Mum is slightly concerned for my safety but more worried I will be cold. Dad and the boys don’t seem too concerned but if the Elephants do come, tonight’s full moon will make for a great show!
Time for an end of day dip/wash with the Chuckle Brothers.
Its 10-30pm and its peaceful now and the sound of the jungle is very relaxing and still the total silence in the day eludes me but the friendship and warmth of the Indians continues.
Here is Mum and her sisters. Mum’s cooking is outstanding!
“Oh and if you do see an Elephant In the day Jason, either run around it in Circles or Jump on your bike and outrun him going downhill or if you are on foot run along a slope, they can’t run along a slope, they will topple over”. Sounds like good advice. Indiaaaaaaa. And maybe my very best discovery is that I can’t count, I have 4 ½ Months left in India and that’s good because going slow is a really great thing and this is the perfect place to do it.
We have a nice fire burning here. Its not essential but it sure is nice. Thanks Chuckle Brothers, its been amazing!
Three Curry’s with last nights Rice here is ingredients for one!
And thanks Black Flash for getting me here! Love Ya!
Chammanthi is Mango,coconut,small powerful green chillie and salt. Crush, add water & mix.
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