Southern India day 15 – a spice farm then travel to Mysore

19 Oct 2017. Another morning, a last swim and breakfast. We hopped in a taxi with all our luggage, and went to visit Savoi Plantation, actually not a plantation, but more of a family owned traditional multi-crop farm. The name for this sort of farm is a kulagar.

It was a really nice visit. They greeted us with some snacks and a delicious spiced hibiscus drink. We played with the puppies, who were actually very shy. (photo courtesy Abbie)

Eventually, our host came out to talk to us. He led us around, telling funny stories and cutting off bits of things for us to try along the way. I never knew what a nutmeg fruit looked like, for example.

There were betelnuts drying in a hut. He explained the different types of paan, how it’s used to settle the stomach and aid digestion, but how it can also be mixed with tobacco and then you have to spit it out after chewing.

I was really interested to learn how there are two different methods of grafting mango trees. One results in a tree that produces every other year, but then it produces tens of thousands and lives for a very long time. The other produces every year, but only thousands of fruits per tree, and only lives a much shorter lifetime. It is prudent to have both types of tree on a working plantation.

Anyway, it was indeed a fascinating tour, and I would recommend it. They are also on Facebook.

Our tour ended with a delicious and huge meal. We could barely make a dent in it. Goan cuisine is spicier than others we’ve had so far, and delicious. The spiciest dish was the crab, and I was shaking as I crammed mouthful after mouthful into my mouth, trying to get all the meat out of the shells.

We also tried cashew liqueur, special to this region. It was pretty good, strong like grappa.

Lunch put away as best we could, we bought a few spices and got back into the taxi for the ride to the airport, to fly back to Bangalore then taxi to Mysore.

The drive to Mysore was long and very scary. Our driver was aggressive in a way that made some sense while still in Bangalore traffic, but became dangerous on the night roads outside the city. I was sure he was trying to kill the motorcyclists, as he’d always swerve as close to them as possible when passing them, even if he’d been in the other lane, with no one else passing or being passed. We gave him a bad review and I was literally shaking when we finally got out at our destination.

Indus Valley Ayurvedic Center had unfortunately mostly closed down for the night when we arrived. They have 24-hour desk, but the restaurant had closed at 21:00 and they hadn’t received my message that we were running late. When they saw that we were going to make do with cookies, they relented and brought us some fruit. We snacked and then retired to our separate cottages for the night.