I shouldn't be here writing this right now. I should be lost somewhere near the border between Karnataka and Kerala. As it is, I'm sitting in the city of Mysore. It's not where I wanted to end up today, but it's better than having to set up the hammock on some roadside in a rainstorm.
John and I jumped on a bus from Calicut to Cannur at 8am. Four hours later, we were in Cannur, and trying to figure out if there were any buses that went directly to the town of Madikeri. There didn't seem to be any, so we figured our best bet was to head east and hope that we could transfer somewhere. We jumped on a bus going somewhere, and three hours later, were standing in a rainstorm in a town somewhere in Karnataka. As we huddled in front of a tailor to try and keep out of the rain, numerous people assured us that due to the heavy rains, there would be no buses running to Madikeri. It seemed that we might be stuck.
Luckily, another guy who was sharing the shop with us was also heading to Madikeri. His plan was to head about 40km back in the direction we had just come, and then transfer to a bus to Mysore, which was about 5 hours east of Madikeri. We didn't really have any other options, so he said we were welcome to follow him as far as we needed to. I never caught his name, but without this guy, we definitely would not be here now. After several more transfers and two more hours, we were once again stranded in a rainstorm in some unknown town, only this time, it was dark.
We waited around for another half hour until finally, the nice guy poked us and told us to grab our bags and hurry and ran off into the night. We followed him, and he shoved us into a small jeep. Looking back, it probably wasn't the best idea, but when a complete stranger shuffles you into a jeep at night in an unknown town, you don't refuse. We crammed in with the nine other people already in the car, and headed off. We came to a strange police checkpoint where the guy on duty seemed a little concerned that there were two white people in the car. I couldn't understand what he was saying, but I figured if it was important, someone would tell me. We passed the checkpoint, and the nice guy told me to make sure my door was locked. While he also checked to make sure that all the other doors were locked, our driver turned off the radio and we continued on in silence. The windows were tinted, so I wasn't able to see much, but it looked to me as if we were driving through some thick forests. The only thing I did manage to see was a sign that read "No Parking. No Picnics. No Horn." John asked the nice guy why we had to lock all the doors, and he replied that we were going through a 'wild place' with elephants and such. I hadn't heard many tales of wild elephants chasing down cars, opening unlocked doors, and pulling passengers out, but I kept my mouth shut and didn't bother to question him any further. After around an hour of driving through a bumpy dirt road through the jungle, we emerged to another police checkpoint where they were just as concerned about the two white kids in the back seat. After a short conversation with the driver, we were waved on, and drove for another hour until we finally came to Mysore.
We were dropped at a hotel on the outskirts of town and the nice guy helped us to check in. Throughout the trip, he had paid for our bus fares once, and insisted on buying us coffee a few times. We tried to pay, but he wouldn't let us. All we could get out of him was that he was an oral hygienist and that his father owned land of some kind. He said that he had money, and was happy to pay for us. We finally got into our room around 11pm, a full 15 hours after we had started. Through sheer dumb luck and a few probably stupid risks, we ended up five hours away from our intended destination, but as least it was dry.