Bus stop chos, stampedes of people pushing for a place on the bus to get us out of the city. Fighting our way through, we sit tightly for the next 5 hours, the dusty hot air starts to become cold and crisp as we ascend through the hairpin bends up to Wayanad national park. With waterfalls, spice fields, tea plantations, lakes, local tribes, you can spend days get lost in nature. Spending some time with a local family, we cooked dinner picking the spices and vegetables straight out of their back garden. Hitting a papaya out of the tree and learning the best way to slice open a coconut for its milk.
The family also own a pepper plantation, employing the local tribes to pick the pepper pods for them. The government supplies the tribes with food, clothes, so we are told the money they earn goes mainly towards alcohol. Booze and alcoholism being a common problem in India.
The most popular resident however in Wayanad are the elephants! The kings of the land. Driving slowly through the main road which takes you to the next village, you will entered their land. Doesn’t matter if your walking, a car or a bus the elephants are boss. Get to close and they will not be afraid to charge at you knocking over your car, as we nearly experienced. These are wild, untamed elephants who make paths for the rest of the families of deers, rabbits, peacocks… though we didn’t quite get to see how they play with the tigers!