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Old 8th December 2007, 00:45   #1
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Default Visiting the Queen and the king and one hell of a ride!

We were promised a bus that would rival the luxury of a Volvo bus, that too at the cost of an ordinary bus. Wow… weren’t we lucky? We bought three tickets. So the next day, we got up very early despite the freezing cold. We took hot showers, dressed, downed some breakfast and then took the auto rickshaw to the entrance of the children’s park. He charged us Rs. 50 for a 1.2 km ride. The charges are fixed and are not open to negotiations. In fact, the charges to all the common places were written on a board and displayed at the hotel.

And guess what was awaiting us there – a highly modified and souped up bike! You want pictures, right? Well, the picture is coming. The guy who had modified the bike showed me an old auto magazine featuring another of his modified bike. He had modified a bike (I think a Yezdi) and fitted it with the engine and the bucket seat of a Maruti 800. That monster had weighed something like 425 kg, if I remember correctly. Can somebody beat that? That’s some idea for those who want to transform their teeny weeny 180-200-225 cc bikes into 800 cc super bikes. It will also equally work if somebody wants to transform their Maruti 800 into a super bike.

Let me get back to the story. So there we were waiting for the luxury bus, trying to keep ourselves warm in the biting cold with a few steaming cups of coffee. Finally at around 8:30 a.m. our bus pulled in. The mere sight of the bus had me fuming so much that everyone within a radius of 60 feet around me was instantly warmed up. It was an old rickety, rattling, crackling and croaking Swaraj Mazda. It had its bits and pieces held together by strings and ropes. All I could do was to curse the lady who had got us in so easily.

I comforted myself saying at least the seats would be comfortable and how terribly mistaken I was. The seats in the buses of the worst kept state transport corporation in India would have been better than those by a long shot. I managed to seat my wife and son on a seat close to the front of the bus. I did not want them to be sitting at the back of the bus, with the bus practicing its juggling acts with my wife and son. And then I was offered the best seat in the bus – that of the cleaner. It practically had no leg room. I am a small guy, but even then it was almost impossible to get myself into the seat. I had to sit facing the windshield and then turn my lower body clockwise almost 90 degrees to fit myself into the gap. I sure know that if I lose my job, I could easily get into a circus or could become a Yoga guru. Even I was surprised at how flexible my body was. Imagine the possibilities, had I continued the yoga practice of my school days. I could have literally rolled myself into the tiny gap under one of the seats. And they could have got in one extra passenger.

Finally at around 9:00 a.m. the rattles grew louder and louder, indicating that we were about to take off. The bus shuddered and then lurched forward. The roads were a series of potholes held together by bits of tarred surfaces here and there. The driver’s side of the windshield seemed to have some sort of a film that filtered out all the potholes. So we were literally flying over the craters. My contorted body stayed put in its place. It was my lucky day. Everyone else was up in the air half the time. Now I saw light. They had these air cushions on the seats. So the bad seats did not matter so much. This way we flew down the hairpin bends of Ooty-Masinagudi road. Halfway down the hairpin bends, I had to extricate myself from my seat and clamber onto the roof of the bus to search for one of our duffel bags. My son was complaining of stomach ache and I had to get him some medicine. The only saving grace of the whole trip was the scenic route.

So if you still haven’t figured it out, we were on a trip to Ooty (the queen) and Mysore (the king). And the bus episode was the account of our journey from Ooty to Mysore. We planned our trip this way: Pune->Coimbatore->Ooty->Mysore->Pune. In Ooty we stayed at Hotel Lakeview and in Mysore we stayed at The Viceroy. We liked both the hotels, except the bus booking we did for the Ooty-Mysore trip at the Lakeview. We had an Indica to take us around in Ooty. We did not get time to go to Kotagiri, since we spent the Christmas Day at my friend’s house in Ketty. It was a reunion after many years.

In Mysore, we traveled by city buses and auto rickshaws. We visited the Mysore Palace, Chamundi Hills, the zoo, St. Philomena’s church and the Brindavan garden. Using local transport was really cheap and the only place that we lost time because of using public transport was on our trip to the Brindavan garden. Knowing the local language was a boon to get around. Actually I had made arrangements with a taxi service provider, but he ditched me at the last minute. As some others had pointed out, the Mysore Zoo is really a nice place and a must visit.

Now some pictures.

Tea Gardens near Dolphin's Nose


Valleys and Houses (taken from the toy train)


View around the Lakeview Hotel


A tree at Sim's Park in Coonoor


Eucalyptus Oil and other spice extracts


The souped up Bike


The Mysore Palace


From the palace temple


From the zoo




Brindavan Garden


St. Philomena's Church


Chamundi Hill Temple and the Nandi








-Biju
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Old 8th December 2007, 00:51   #2
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Nice pics,Biju maashe!
Hilarious write-up.. easier done laughing at the experience than going through it,I know.
As for the bike..Bobby ?? It looks like a vehicle ready for launch into space!

Gosh,and to think of it, I visited Ooty in 1990. I was probably as old as your son.
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Old 8th December 2007, 02:57   #3
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Well written. Hilarious, humorous, as good as it gets!
Enjoyed reading it and I'm going to save those pictures and make some of them as my wallpapers. A nice travelogue overall.

Now, when would we be able to see the rest of the travelogue?
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Old 8th December 2007, 03:24   #4
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"....driver's side of the windshield had some filter"

lol!
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Old 8th December 2007, 08:24   #5
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Nice read and nice pictures. My congratulations and thanks.
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Old 8th December 2007, 08:44   #6
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Great log, pjbiju! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 8th December 2007, 09:36   #7
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Very naish description of the bus wala. We had a similar experience last year in the familytrip to Madurai.
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Old 8th December 2007, 10:32   #8
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@Zak 2:57 a.m.? I think with your shining star is keeping you awake. The rest of the travelogue is not as interesting as the bus ride. I shot a lot of pictures though. The yearning for a DSLR and some good optics (esp. a wide angle lens) is becoming stronger by the travelogue.

The Yeti not only set his foot on this travelogue but also left its mark. I am honoured.

Thanks to everyone else. Team-BHP rocks. It's great feeling to know that you are in the company of so many nice folks.
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Old 8th December 2007, 11:24   #9
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Nice pictures, dont you have any early morning pictures in Ooty with fog enveloping the greenry around?
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Old 8th December 2007, 11:55   #10
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nice write up and excellent pics
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Old 8th December 2007, 14:42   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjbiju View Post
The Yeti not only set his foot on this travelogue but also left its mark. I am honoured.
I can hazard a guess as to what appealed to The Yeti:
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjbiju View Post
The driver’s side of the windshield seemed to have some sort of a film that filtered out all the potholes. So we were literally flying over the craters.

However, it is not necessarily something to feel 'honoured' about - you could just say 'thankyou' and The Yeti will be delighted and might even send you some JBL ICE for maintaining decorum! He is, after all, "like that only"!!
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Old 8th December 2007, 19:46   #12
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nice description & amazing pictures!
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Old 8th December 2007, 21:33   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
Nice pictures, dont you have any early morning pictures in Ooty with fog enveloping the greenry around?
When we went around to see Lamb's rock, Dolphin's nose etc., we were completely enveloped in mist. But I did not take any pictures. And for the foggy morning shots, we were too lazy to get out of bed. I was hoping for some such shot at Wenlock Downs which we did not get time to visit. Next trip perhaps!
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Old 8th December 2007, 21:53   #14
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Beautiful, beautiful pictures! And a very enjoyable read.
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