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Friday, December 12, 2003

Sunday at MekeDatu
The first thing which I am totally disappointed about are the road maps of karnataka. I dont know whether the same holds good for rest of india. Atleast I found the tamil nadu maps decent. One problem with the road maps is that they are too old and donot have enough roads. An I own both TTK and IMS maps - both are eually worrse just that ttk makes it slightly easier to read. I think the IMS ones were updated in 1947 and TTK sometime in 1970.
But thats not it. It showed mekedatu and sangam to be some 15 KM apart with mekedatu being accessible by road and sangam being off road. Fortunately Ramesh and his wife knew kannada and were able to ask for optimal routes to reach there ( except for some over friendly ones who guided us via longer routes.) and then we realized that the roads lead to Sangam!!! and mekedatu is off road some 5 KM from there - the only way is to cross the river and take one of the two busses which shuttle between the two on a "off road" terrain.
OK now coming to the place. Yes it was crowded. Yes it was over crowded.
@ Sangam probably two tributaries of Cauvery meet. Its about a 100 meter wide, 2-3 feet deep , slow flowing river. Its good fun (If you dont pay heed to the overwhelming signs all around you warning you of crocodiles). Anyway I have watched AXN and Nat Geo and consider crocodiles to be lazy. They are lazy. There is a crocodile conservation park near Chennai. They have so many crocodiles that you cant see ground. sometilmes they live in two stories - one above another - and still you cant see ground. Probably a conservationist will tell that they have been very successful in that environment. Probably an indian will comment - "why force them to live in as overcrowded conditions as humans. What about animal rights you hiporcrite conservationists ?". Anyway the point is that the crocodiles sleep till someone throws food at them. So as long as you make sure that there is atleast one fool in both directions - upstreams and downstreams from you - no hungry crocodile will do an extra effort of passing him and attacking you. Having said that - i am not taking any chances either and read the signs carefully. They have a special warning for rainy season so i am safe.
OK so tile laces of two shoes together, hang them around the neck. Cross the river barefoot. Mind the slippery rocks and go over the sand only. reach the other side. Wait for the shuttle to MekeDatu.
Is there a difference between Bihar and karnataka? Everyone wanted to sit on the roof of the bus - with all space inside being up for grabs. Anyway the 1950 model minibus cant accelerate fast enough to throw you off balance. But the bad terrain compensates for it.
Get down at mekedatu. a rocky george with lots of water gushing thru it. climb down steps. Try to go to the place where the maximum junta is standing hoping that it has the best view. Try rock climbing. Oops the rocks are too slippery with hardly any friction or oinch grips or handles. So only cracks and buckets and really big handles work as grips.
Be adventouros. Try to touch water - I, Ramesh and our wives did it so you can you. You can be a little imaginative and call two rocks leaning over each other as caves. you can see what look like a cave at some distance - but the idea of walk over the rocks is not too exciting...
The roads are not bad. Its drivable. Its rural and its beautiful for most of the way.


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