Wayanad-Day 2

(Continued after a long gap from previous the post) 

The Plan: We had decided to go to the hotel first because we were closer to Kuruvadweep, check out the interesting places nearby and go for trekking up the Edakkal caves the next day.

Reality Check 1: Since I belong to the generation which still believes in verifying googled information by asking people-we checked with the hotel manager about our proposed route. He discouraged us strongly from taking the shorter route so we ended up taking the more popular but longer route-through Sultan Bathery.

Reality Check 2: I am a map freak. GPS notwithstanding I had downloaded and customized a route map beforehand and got really upset to know it was left behind at home. 

My elder daughter took over immediately-she is sometimes the wisest one in the family-“Mom, that map is in Bangalore; we’ll manage without it. Tell me what you want” -searched online and drew the one I needed, at the breakfast table:

The first part of the drive was lovely-an empty road meandering through shrubbery which became denser as we drove into it, merging into the Muthunga section of the Bandipur reserve. 

A few hundred miles out of the concrete city and it is another world. Once you get used to the quiet you hear a noise of a different kind-monkeys chattering across the bushes, the dry grass crackling under their legs, a constant hum of the cicadas which almost reaches as a crescendo as you stand still.  There weren’t any tigers to spot-never seen one in the entire Bandipur-Nagarhole region but yes monkeys and deer and a few elephants braving the summer heat to hunt for fodder. 

A giant Malabar squirrel dashed across the road as the forest thinned out and we drove right into a Kerala police check-post! 
Thanks to friends who traveled the road before, we had the PUC ready. But  the bigger issue was alcohol. 

Kerala had prohibition when we visited-sale, purchase and transit of any form of alcohol was banned and the police carried out the most rigorous searches I had seen-the group in a car in front of us was asked to alight; all their bags were searched and the police were trying to check under the seats and probably under the mats too. 

They didn’t have sniffer dogs-so we were not searched that thoroughly-my husband was just ‘warned’-“Any liquor Sir, and you will have to go to JAIL”

BTW: The longest queue we saw in Wayanad, around 50+ people standing in a drizzle was outside a toddy shop –but I guess that’s another story.

PS: Prohibition has been withdrawn since then, probably because drinking stats actually went up while the state lost the taxes. It still makes sense to check rather than go to jail!


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