Butterflies

 Haputale, Sri Lanka

After being badly sunburnt from head to toe, carrying a bag of shoes still heavy and wet from the flash flood, little sleep, and 6 hours of buses whose interiors flash colourfully like mini discos and have subwoofers blaring out upbeat Sinhalese pop music non-stop… I gotta say, just arriving in Haputale was a welcome reprieve. More tea estates? Yes please.

A small town perched on the ridge of a tall mountain, with expansive views of mist-covered peaks on one side and a tea estate and village-covered valley on the other, the geography of the town was such that getting around was far easier by walking along the train tracks than along the road. So I did just that, walking towards the outskirts of town to find a guesthouse. The first thing I notice? Butterflies, everywhere. (Given how tiny they are, they’re pretty hard to photograph.)  You literally can’t turn your head anywhere and go more than two seconds without seeing a butterfly. With the fresh air and the pleasant locals, all smiling as we passed each other going opposite ways on the train tracks, I was pretty much enamored by the town within five minutes, before even finding a place and putting my stuff down.
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Steep

Munnar, India

Screeching tires on every hairpin turn. Passing smaller vehicles, or at least vigorously honking at them, on a one-lane mountain-side road. Radio reception dropping every so often, rudely interrupting whatever Hindi or Tamil film song I was bopping along to. Getting hit by branches through the pane-less windows every few seconds. Me, literally flying out of my seat every few seconds. (Don’t sit in the back of an Indian bus.) Such was my final Tamil Nadu bus ride of five hours, going from dry plains to steep mountainous forest, and my first stop in Kerala. I actually did get a little light-headed, both from the relatively quick altitude gain and just general motion-sickness.

Then all of a sudden… tea.
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