The next morning I woke up to a beautiful medley involving birds of different shapes and colours tweeting alongside Taio Cruz and Mika Singh revving it on a player nearby. Probably someone’s creative idea of a jugalbandi!
But the jingles aside, it was only now that I was beginning to realize how beautifully laid out this homestay was bang in the middle of a spice and coffee plantation. I’d gotten there quite late in the evening the earlier day – this was quite the sensual delight to wake up to.
Greenery everywhere, I was reminded on the roadtrip the previous day with farmlands and coconut trees alternating the landscape. The morning was nippy-ier than usual courtesy the wind gods whooshing through the night.
Sitting at the porch with my morning’s cup of tea I was dazzled by the flutterings of the butterflies. After breakfast that morning, I had a conversation with my home-stay host on what the possible non-touristy things (read: visit same old “must see’s”) to do for me would be. So, I took a rickshaw to the marketplace where I was back within cellular network coverage. Gah!
A longish telephone call made home not without a list of locally available produces to be brought back, I spent the next three odd hours aimlessly walking through the marketplace, even paced – watching, observing, soaking in.
I was quite happy to not have anyone bother nor question me – and unlike other ‘touristy’ places no one here tugs or pulls at your sleeve to come see something or purchase something else. I walked into a couple of local shops only to be warmly greeted by shop-owners who were more than pleased to display their wares, answer my questions, show me a sample or two and make recommendations on what makes better sense for me to purchase.
Here again I realized that language was seldom ever a barrier.
Oh! And I had some homemade “orange wine” – well, it’s quite an acquired taste if you’re asking me.
Lunch was had a local hotel and on my way back to my room, I realized that something as simple as this walk this morning taught me a little more on how I could trust my inner compass and trust myself (because you realize that you aren’t geographically challenged even in an unknown little town).
You learn to be assertive and pleasant.
And most importantly non-city bred folk seldom get bothered by a ‘solo female traveler’ – I’ve seen more eyebrows being raised (and recede into hairlines) by urban educated people!
Speaking of which, travelling by myself has taught me that it’s okay to get used to people being uncomfortable. For the most part of it, people watch out for you – whether you’re a lone male or female or a group of people traveling to anywhere for the first time – people generally watch out for you and help you in whatever capacity they can.
So, I had conductors directing me to empty seats (when they realized that my backpack alone occupies more space than I do!), my homestay host not only picked but also dropped me back to the bus-stand the day I left to catch my train to Goa from Mangalore (I had to leave at 7 AM which is early enough if not too early and he didn’t charge me extra).
I also learnt that rickshaw drivers are pleasant folks – particularly the ones in Mangalore. Once I was off the bus, I was provided directions to the rickshaw stand by rickshaw drivers themselves who’d only just dropped passengers off at the bus stop. Me thinks they could’ve easily fleeced me by offering to take me to my destination!