Day 3- tea
Today was a test day for us trekkers. But, gosh, this trek was like a holiday, compared to the wilds of the Sahara and the wet of Costa Rica. I wasn’t sure how fit I was though, and my trekking kit didn’t fit anymore.
I wasn’t feeling very fit either. Although I felt better when our guide, Christina, reminded us of the altitude. So that was why I couldn’t breathe.
The tea plantations were awesome. What a fantastic landscape. Apart from all the English trekking woman squatting amongst the Camellia sinensis. We chatted to our local guide, Sibil, about the tea plantations. Apparently, they pick tea every 15 days, but not one tea picker could be found. They were either shy or short.
We climbed out of the tea plantations and disrupted at least three yoga picnics on the hills. We saw some awesome wildlife, in both plant and bird form! Our best moment was when we interrupted some randy spiders on a leaf.
This was a baby trek today, no rough camping, as we would be returning to our shiny hotel rooms. Later that day we went on a rubbish tea tour, with an indecipherable guide and a propaganda-soaked video played in a darkened room. I bought some ginger tea though.
I was let loose later that afternoon. I managed to find an underground market. I just turned left at the fish tanks. Down here, I found many an interesting market stall where I took a few photographs. I did ask the stall holders first though. Although their head waggle was indecipherable. Regardless I took the photo anyway! I bought some Bombay mix and a biscuit flavoured aftershave.
We had another evening meal with too many women talking, and slowly learnt the plan for the next day. In bed, I watched Indian Big Brother, and then struggled to find out how to turn the lights and TV off. I just unplugged everything at the wall in the end.
Day 4- tiny backpacks
This was our first real day of trekking, so I packed my rucksack with the essentials and we set off. Everyone laughed at my small package. It turned out I’d only taken an hour’s water supply for an 8 hour trek too. I had also armed myself with SPF 15. A guide on how not to trek will be published in the spring.
We trekked through awesome landscapes, with a botanically knowledgeable, yet indecipherable tour guide. He offered us bananas halfway. A small character, Lorraine, rejected five bananas until she got to the perfect one.
Today we climbed to over 2500 metres! We were above the clouds. Oooosh! We took the obligatory peak photos and then descended before we were shrouded in mist.
I followed a lady in a butterfly blanket down the hill, and marvelled at the rhododendrons.
We dodged tiger poo and elephant shit, yet saw none of the places it came from. We did spot a real chameleon though, which turned navy on Lorraine’s trews!
It soon become dark as we made our way to camp. Head torch time. I felt like a miner, without any canary. I did have 9 women though. At camp, we had battered banana and a cup of tea, whilst Sue went off to break the toilet door, frame and all.
Day 5- tonsil problems
I was woken in my tent by a guide offering me a hot drink. I tried to answer, but I couldn’t. I had lost my voice! Oh my. What a disaster for such an entertaining chatterbox such as myself.
I washed my essentials in the bathroom with cold water; armpits, butt and beard.
Today was tough, which coincided badly with my illness. I was feeling super fluey, and damn it was a hot, and uphill, day!! The final slog was just before a late lunch, and it actually felled many of the professionals, including Angela, who froze on the grassy incline.
I slept through lunch, Christina our guide lost her watch, and we then continued onward. Embarrassingly, I had to be transferred to the jeep for the last leg, I was feeling too unwell.
An early sleep at the new camp allowed me to partially refresh, as did an illegal overdose of Strepsils. The camp had a nice dug out toilet and a campfire, and we had curry again for dinner.
Day 6- truck fulls of Indian men
I awoke and I could speak. This was good news for all! The group needed my humorous lubrication.
I had breakfast, and a poo in the dugout, and questioned the design of the poop spade.
We soon set off after a carb-laden breakfast. I was soon walking with my botanical sparring partner, Angela.
Later that morning, we stopped by a school, with just three pupils and some very tough sums on the blackboard. We went inside and gave them pens, as we had run out of iPads.
The descent through the coffee forest was very difficult, as our toes kept hitting the front of our boots. I was convinced that mine were broken, or at the very least the nail had ripped off.
It was a superb day, with lots of botanical plant spotting. We passed through cotton trees and coconut plantations, and got tangled up in pepper vines.
Later that day, we had to stop at the border control for the region. So, naturally, I ordered some masala tea. Some of the locals were taking photos with us. It’s amazing that we seem alien to them! As we left the village, I whole truck of deep skimmed Indian men rushed out of the van to take pictures with us, especially the small Lorraine in her cowboy outfit.
We passed through a coconut plantation, where I was convinced the owner was giving me the eye. We walked in the tracks of elephants, pet ones though.
I encountered a rare emotional moment a few moments later, as some girls were playing in the village. I was touched by the fact they had nothing, yet everything. I must mention that this is a quote from Ruth, she had previously accused me of plagiarism!
We passed through more greenery, and over a lake, and then our guides disappeared. We now left to fend for ourselves?? We climbed a concrete hill, and then were greeted by a flag made of a fleece jacket. This was the unexpected end!
We all squeezed onto the bus with a broken toes, and were taken to a hotel where we could experience chips with curry sauce and half hourly power cuts.
That evening, I went to haggle on an Indian outfit for nowhere near the wholesale price and bought more Bombay mix. Was it just called mix here? I wasn’t sure. We had finished trekking, now was the time for time out..