Ooty – Lovely Hiking and Disastrous Chocolate
Ooty is known as the “Queen of Hill Stations” – and it was absolutely our favorite place in Tamil Nadu. After toiling through the hot, dusty, humid, congested roads of the lowlands, we stepped off the train in Ooty and breathed cool, crisp air for the first time in days. (Nights were downright chilly!) Unfortunately, Ooty was also the place that we lost our clean record of no food poisoning in India.
After six weeks, we thought we might make an unprecedented clean getaway from the country that many people think of as the most difficult place to avoid tummy trouble. We had even begun to joke about the friend who told us to shower with duct tape over our mouths (and maybe every other orifice as well). Never laugh at India. India will have the last laugh.
We can’t be certain of the culprit, but we spent the hours leading up to the incident enjoying a rather decadent afternoon (after a half day’s hike), sipping whiskey and eating locally made bon bons and fudge while we looked out over the hills from our hotel terrace. Whatever the cause, Dmitry says that he doesn’t want to eat, smell, or even think about fudge for a while.
Despite the intestinal distress, we found time to explore the hills around Ooty, ducking under a fence and following some trails marked on an open source map to enjoy a half day hike up to Doddabetta Peak, one of the highest spots in the Western Ghats.
And, while Dmitry was in the grips of a fever, we booked the next portions of our trip: onward to Nepal and then Japan! There’s nothing like puking your guts out to make you ready to move on to a new place.