Two New Yorkers spend six months 18 months!?! in Bangalore and other places in India.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Coorg: It's Not Just Leeches

As you can imagine, the leeches were an instant conversation starter with the other people staying at Honey Valley. And once we found out that leeches are kind of picky about what they'll attach to, their presence became a lot less disgusting. They are simple creatures, and chemical smells make them unhappy. We slathered on lots of Odomos (mosquito repellent), both on our skin and on our jeans, and then pulled our jeans down into our shoes, so that we were walking on the legs. Don also even put some deodorant on his shins, for that extra bit of protection.

At dinner we were talking to an Australian who was very nonchalant about them -- "just pick them off" was her attitude. She said that they help get rid of the "bad blood" that's in your system (or just in my legs?), encouraging its replacement with "good blood." (My personal trainer also said that my blood was purified from the experience -- I was just hoping for some sympathy.) I don't buy the good-blood theory, but it's a nice thought, right? Soon after the Australian started talking, I saw a leech drop off her ankle. I squished it for her.

We did have a couple more leeches on our jeans during our hikes that week, but using one of the many leaves nearby to pick them off was a cinch. And I'm glad we didn't just hole up inside, because a rainforest in a monsoon is so amazing and beautiful (and muddy). As seems common for the monsoon, at least in Karnataka, it would rain for perhaps 20 minutes and then stop. When we climbed up to the top of a mountain, we were more or less in the clouds. We felt remote, but we weren't all that far from civilization -- cows were there.

And Honey Valley had its own waterfall -- always a big plus in my book.

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