We took off to Munnar from Kochi because well, everyone recommended it. We took the Minnal Bus Service and reached way early in the morning. It was raining. We managed a day as it kept pouring fast and slow throughout the day. When it was time to leave, we couldn’t. Here’s the story.
Our day in Munnar wasn’t exactly ideal. In fact, most excitement was washed away with the rain which didn’t stop for once throughout the day. It rained from the moment we stepped into the beautiful valley to the moment of us being ready to leave.
In fact, we weren’t even done exploring yet, but we were drenched, tired and annoyed. As much as rain is a pleasure, it sure is annoying if you have one day to embrace something as beautiful and lush green as Munnar. The little that we did see was through a taxi, and it wasn’t ideal for us. In fact, we felt like tourists instead of travellers. Thereby, becoming the cliché we try to avoid.
For me, that sweet spot between tourist and traveller is what I want my travelling to be. The one day in Munnar was proving to be slightly inclined toward the tourist part of the spectrum. Anyway, we had a bus booked back to Kochi, and we had one hour. So, we just took refuge in a sheltered bus stand.
We stood there, talking and laughing. We cracked jokes on how our time was ruined and also, appreciated the few sights we could behold. Travelling is funny that way; despite how your experience feels at the moment, you’ll always understand it after it has happened. However, our trip to Munnar was just beginning.
Thirty minutes of standing in the shelter and a man ran toward us. “Munnar bus?” he said in the accent we were still getting used to. We nodded. “Minnal buses have been cancelled. Take this bus. Buy a ticket”, he said. We didn’t pay heed to his warning. He said something in Malayalam which in hindsight, I can guess, was Malayalam for stupid.
The Minnal fleet of buses travel on a superfast bus route from Kerala Roadways. Apparently, that was the only day they didn’t run as fast as they should have. In fact, they didn’t run at all. We reached the official bus stand and saw the bus, it had the iconic lightning bolt with the word Minnal written in Malayalam. It stood there in the dark, unexcited and still locked in the yard.
We asked around and learned that all buses from Munnar were cancelled. In fact, the officials recommended we defer from any private services and spend the night. The rains had brought upon landslides on all routes to Kochi thereby blocking each one. It was unsafe. So, we quickly moved our point of discussion from, “We need to leave Munnar soon” to “We need to find a place to stay”.
It wasn’t as hard to find a place. However, we did go from three to four doors until we found a homestay. SMM Cottage. They had one room left and to be honest when you’re in deep shit, you take anything. So, for the situation we were in, it was more than decent. We had none of our stuff and no change of clothes; we were drenched, tired and hungry. The place was kind enough to add another mattress. Now, all we needed was to take care of the hunger.
That was when the local pizza place, Pizza Max, came to our rescue. The tricky part was the language and trying to explain the address and the order because they mainly spoke Malayalam. I couldn’t do it, and I was famished. Rohit, one of the friends I was travelling with, somehow managed to get our order through. Pizza came quickly. We ate some of it and still very tired, we slept.
The next morning, we got ready to leave, and as we walked to the Munnar Bus Depot which was right across from our homestay, we saw a bus prepared to leave. It was the 9:00AM bus to Kochi, and we took it, without a second thought.
The rain had stopped. Munnar finally let us leave. I’d love to revisit it though; hopefully with more patience, time and luck.