Let's Go, Let's Go, LET'S GOOOO..... to Coorg

Trip Start Jan 01, 2011
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10
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Trip End May 22, 2011


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Where I stayed
some super nice hotel

Flag of India  , Karnataka,
Monday, February 21, 2011

Out of all of the tuition that we paid to come to Christ University, a small portion of it went to an organized trip for all of the USACers. Jacob (our program advisor), organized a trip to Coorg for a weekend with all of us.  So we left on Friday night around 11pm from NGV (where I live), and headed out for Coorg, which is about a six hour drive.  We arrived at our hotel early that next morning, and were able to quick shower and get ready before we met for breakfast.  This hotel was very, very nice compared to where I have been staying in.  It had full beds with sheets, blankets and pillows; a TV; a full bathroom with HOT water all day, and an electronic lock.  I have a feeling that this will have been the nicest hotel I'll stay in the entire time I’m in India.  I’m not sure how much it actually cost, but it had to have been around Rs. 1000 or so, just because of how nice it was.  But anyway, we ate breakfast, and then went into town shortly after. 
 
First, we went to a Hindu temple, just to look around.  Jacob wanted us to see more of how praying and worshipping in the Hindu religion is like, but we really didn’t get to see it, as there were only about 4 people there when we went.  Either way, the place was beautiful, as all the Hindu temples I’ve seen are.  After this, we got to go see the famous Abbi Falls of Coorg.  This was an amazingly beautiful waterfall, deep into the woods of the mountainous area we were in.  Oh yeah, and Coorg is not the actual town we were in (I’m not actually sure of that name), it is just the region of the state of Karnataka that we were in.  This area is set into the mountain range of the Western Ghats, and is mainly woodland area, with much wildlife roaming freely throughout.  So, Abbi Falls is located within as one of the most popular waterfall areas to visit.  It was absolutely beautiful… the only thing that bothered me is that literally EVERYONE wanted photos with us (and it was mainly men there).  I don’t mind taking photos every once in awhile, but here, we literally had to say no, or we would start a streak and everyone, even the people that weren’t asking already, would have wanted a photo then.  
That’s just how it works here, if you are not around too many people, a photo here and there is alright.  But if you’re around a lot of people, the best thing to do is say no, because otherwise others will see and want a photo as well.  But, as for my photos, I got a lot of really good ones, or at least I think so.  I love taking photos of nature, so this was the perfect place for me.  If Abbi Falls weren’t quite as busy as it was, I think that this would be a perfect place to come and just sit to think and relax.  I loved it here.  After Abbi Falls, we went to a park where we could ride a little mini-train like the zoos back home have… and they had a lookout where you could literally see for miles and miles away.  It was gorgeous.  I love views like that.  I could see the forests, farmland, roads, and the mountains.  This place we stayed at for about an hour, and I definitely got to do some looking around and relaxing.  These kind of places make me feel so free and open, that I would love to live somewhere like that where I could wake up to that wonderful, peaceful feeling every day.  I would much rather look at this scenery everyday than waking up in a city full of ugly buildings, noise and pollution.  If I were to ever come abroad again, it would definitely be somewhere more remote than Bangalore, which in India, is not hard to find.  After all of these places, we went back to the hotel to get lunch.  After lunch, we were free to do what we wanted, so most of us went into town to do some shopping.  Coorg is known for their homemade wines, honey, coffee and tea.  So, I bought some of each.  I bought just normal honey and coffee, cardamom tea, ginger tea, and ginger wine.  I have yet to try the ginger wine, but I’m pretty excited to do so, I love ginger anything.  The shopping here was very nice, as Coorg is not a touristy area whatsoever, so prices were all fixed, and all fixed low, as the people that live in this area are definitely not as well-off financially as people in Bangalore.  So, the shopkeepers didn’t try to rip you off by charging too much.  They did however try to sell you more than you wanted.  Even after we paid them for something that we were buying, they’d pick up or point to other things and tell us what they were and ask if we wanted any.  So, we’d just have to kindly say "no, thank you," and go on our way.  This wasn’t bad though, as I’m used to being completely hounded when just walking into a shop, because I’m white, so many times Indians just assume that I have money.  I constantly have to tell people that no, I am not rich; I am a poor college student.  Then they SOMETIMES tend to understand a bit better, because being a student is something to respect here, and they understand that most college students don’t have much money.  The reason that college students don’t have a lot of money is that although their parents are expected to pay for all of their schooling, students do not usually hold a job while in school, as they are expected to spend their time focusing on their studies.  Unlike the United States, it is very uncommon for students to work at all, and even more common than the United States for parents to pay for not some, but all of their children’s schooling.  If a family does not have enough money to send their child to college, they will either work more hours to try to make the money, or often, the child will not attend college and follow in the family’s footsteps, whatever that may be.
 
So anyway, the next day we had to pack up and meet for another huge breakfast in the morning, and go back towards Bangalore.  We first stopped at this elephant refuge place, where they took in elephants from either circuses or the wild that were unable to thrive on their own.  They give them a place to live freely, feed them, bathe them in the river, etc.  So, I got to see elephants for the first time in India!!  It was crazy to be able to touch them; their skin is so different from ours.  It was almost as if they were hundreds of years older because their skin was so much more wrinkled than my skin.  Which I suppose makes sense, because of the terrain that they live in.  But either way, I thought it was pretty crazy to finally be able to touch an elephant.  We also got to ride the elephants.  I was excited until I actually got onto it, and realized how painful it must be for the elephant to have six humans sitting on top of its back.  I’m not sure how elephants normally walk… but it was walking so awkwardly, that I felt terrible that I was sitting on it.  I am going to look up whether or not it hurts elephants to ride on a certain part of their back, and if so I’m not doing it again.  It was a cool experience… but I just felt absolutely terrible for the elephant by the time we were done with our short ride around the park.  When leaving this park, we had to back across a river, but instead of taking the boat, one of the other girls and I decided to walk across, because there were a ton of rocks, and a bunch of the Indians were doing it, so we figured we’d be able to make it.  It took us probably at least 20 minutes to cross, as it was crowded and a lot more difficult than the Indians made it look.  It was definitely worth it though, I loved trying to figure out which way to turn that would make it the easiest to stay on the rock path, and also almost fell in a few times.  Thankfully I didn’t though, as I had my camera and my phone on me.
 
After we left the elephant park, we headed closer to Mysore, and stopped at an area that was made into a town and a huge monastery for Tibetan refugees.  The government of India has leased out miles of land to these Tibetans, and they built a town, and the monastery where Buddhist monks study and live.  We spent a couple hours in the monastery, and it was by far one of the best religious places I have been to yet while in India.  There were about four temples, all of which were exquisitely decorated and built.  I was astonished by some of the architecture and all of the bright, vivid colors that designed the entire interior.  I think it’s amazing that although Tibet is technically under control of China, that there are so many Tibetans living so free here in India.  I’m not sure how the Indians feel about it though, as it seems many of these Tibetan areas are very well-off financially.  Although yes, they still strive to make a living by selling what they can and making handicrafts as one of the main ways to make money… the Tibetan monasteries that I have seen so far are definitely much more rich than much of other parts of India I have seen.  I’ll have to try speaking to some of my Indian friends soon about this aspect, to try to get their perspective of how they feel about all these Tibetan refugees in their country… especially when it comes to the foreign aid that they get as well… because it is and has been a much bigger international issue than the poor people living in the slums of India.
 

Anywho, I suppose I should tell you the reason why this blog is called what it's called.  So, since this trip was coordinated by our school.... our program advisor, Jacob, was with us for the entirety of the trip as he planned it.  He is seriously one of the coolest Indians I've met... he is such a nice guy... but he was getting on our nerves every time that he said "let's go, let's go, let's goooo!!"  Haha, we would be running later than was scheduled all the time (mostly because of Jacob), and we'd all be sitting on the buses already or at least standing outside of them waiting for him, and he'd come yelling that.  It's kinda funny, as we kept making fun of him the entire time for it, and screaming it at him too... but basically that's the gist of it... one of those "you'd have to have been there" type of stores.  But, it still fit for the title of this post.
 
Not sure of anything else to talk about really about this trip... except that I had an awesome time, and can't wait to go back to be in the mountains again.  I love the crisp, clean, cool air, and of course the views, compared to back home in Bangalore.

Until next time....

~We Only Part, to Meet Again~

Namaste,
Kristen 
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