Saturday, November 27, 2010

Honey Valley


As you may know, I’ve been traveling around South India for three weeks and have had little access to the outside world.  
The first place we went was Honey Valley, which is in the mountainous area Coorg.  It was so beautiful and green there - it was hard to remember we were in India! The area is mostly known for growing coffee, which we made sure to drink every day.
The main purpose of our trip was the sacred solo, which was in the middle of our week long stay.  The first couple of days, we spent our time swimming in a waterfall, hiking, and exploring the area for our solo.  I went on one hike with two of the guys in our group, and we ended up climbing straight up the mountain, holding on to the sharp lemon grass for dear life. It wasn’t that dramatic, but I did cut my hands quite a bit on the grass, and my feet completely covered in leeches.  Oh yeah, the LEECHES! Who knew they could live out of water? Well they can, and they like dark damp areas. Good thing it was misting on that hike.

checking for leeches
We hiked up to the mountain where we were doing our solo twice to explore and find our spots. It was about a 45 minute hike up, with an amazing view at the top. We finally chose our spot and spent some time there getting to know it.  We were within shouting distance (or sometimes much closer) but out of sight. Finally, it was time for the solo. We ate breakfast and then hiked up in silence with all our stuff.  We were given:
a tarp
sleeping mat
lighter and candles
salt to keep the leeches away
3 pieces of paper and a pen
nuts and dried fruit
3 liters of water
After a parting ceremony, we went to our spots and set up camp.  And then we spent 48 hours there by ourselves.  Everybody chose to fast, but most of us ended up eating the dates from our fruit and nut mix. They were super good. It was so cool to be on the mountain and watch the clouds change.  In the middle of the day, they would move so fast over my head making so many different shapes - I spent a lot of time just lying on my back and watching. In the late afternoon, the bigger, lower clouds would move in and we’d get a bit of rain. Sometimes they passed through us too. It would stay foggy and misty all night, and in the morning the valley was completely covered in a sea of white.  Then, the sun would come out and it would clear up, and then it started all over again.  We were allowed to make a little fire, which was nice to have at night.  It was a really great experience and I’m so glad I did it.

look at the clouds!
The last two days, we took advantage of the sun and hand-washed some of our clothes. We did more hiking and swimming, and we also ate the delicious but not so healthy food. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out too well for me.  The fried breads (poori, chappati, parotha - they are all amazing!) didn’t agree with me after fasting, and the night after the solo I threw up. It was an uncomfortable night. I felt nauseous until we left for our next destination, so I took it easy and used the time to read my required books. 

I really enjoyed Honey Valley. I love that this is school!

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