Today was our last day with Nimi and Viji and Dillini and honestly, it is hard to say goodbye. They have been so kind to us, helping with Devi while she was not feeling well, helping to plan our days, making all the arrangements and the highlight of our stay has probably been the wonderful and lengthy conversations we've had and the FOOD.
Viji is the story teller. He is a wealth of knowledge about the area, producing coffee and other crops and it is easy to waste away the hours bending his ear and he yours. Nimi is the mastermind behind the menus, and with the help of her two or three servants, she manages to prepare the most extraordinary fare in her open air kitchen, most of which is prepared over a wood fire and her two hot plates. Somehow, even with the unreliable current, every several course meal is ready at the same time, is hot and delicious, and is prepared from organically grown fruits and vegetables right from her own back yard. Amazing! I told her more than once that I was hoping to lose a couple pounds in India, not take several home with me, but with dishes like fresh dosas with pumpkin curry, I was doomed!!
On our last evening there, I mentioned that I wanted to bring back a sari for each of the girls. Nimi began asking me questions about my budget, my fabric choice and what shop I had planned to buy from. My blank stare once again, set their incredible hospitality into action. On her day off, she chose to accompany us in route to the airport to coach me through my sale. It was great fun to watch her direct the store help to find just exactly what we were looking for. With a wave of a hand, some were taken away and new saris brought for my inspection. I am so glad I had her along as there is an endless selection, but she knew exactly what I was after.
A few final sweets where chosen and then we said our thank yous and set off for our 5th and 6th flights of this trip - first from Mysore to Bangalore and then on to Mangalore. We are staying one night at the Gateway Hotel and then off via the Konkan railway up the coast to Goa. With our wonderful stay in the mountains complete, we are off to the beach where we will stay in a beach hut, which offers a bed, mosquito net and we paid a little extra for hot water. Guess that means no internet access until we reach Pune, the current home of Sonalika/Treya, on the 18th! We are getting so excited and can't wait to meet her!
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