Fatimah's chicken. Women carrying long branches on their heads. Men wearing lunghis. And we arrive in Munnar which is just next to the border with Tamil Nadu. Hotel Vanayaga ( tamul name for Ganesh). We spend the evening with Sandra and Victoria, 2 Swedish pitch black haired nurses we met on the bus. We bring a couple of beers we bought in a wine bar. In Munnar like in most of Kerala there is no alcohol in the restaurants and there are no bars. So to go to the wine bar you have to go a bit out of town, queue in a narrow alley in front of a counter and then wrap your bottles in newspaper. After a very spicy dosa, we go to see the girls. We sit on the balcony with a blanket on are knees 'cos it is "chilly" at night in Munnar. Sandra has bought a pair of earmuffs. These ear things are very popular in India and are a mystery for us Westerners. Are they against the noise or the cold ? Are they to protect some ear brushing ? Yes I forgot to tell you but some Indians have very hairy ears... Anyway the earmuffs are actually against the cold. It is Winter... With the hairy ears, the girls want to start a business of selling ear plats and extensions. With the money made Victoria wants to save the dogs of India. Sandra teaches us some very interesting sentences in Hindi like 'don't shoot me" or "stop the thief". Later with an offbeat humour Victoria does commentaries for us of some Bollywood vidéo clips playing on the Tv. Lovers seem to be living in some kind of illusionary world...

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Next day Rob and I go for a 3h trek among the hills and tea plantations. Two American guys from NY are with us plus the guide. We go up a hill which is burned on the south side and intensely green on the northern slope. Barry is George Clooney's brother, I am very impressed but actually he looks like the French actor Lambert Wilson. I think he's here to star in a Tetley tea ad... Jim used to be married to Catherine Deneuve but divorced her - she was too boring. I'm an Indian woman from Kochin. When next day someone will compare me to the French actress Julie Delpy :). Roberto is actually Javier Bardem, travelling incognito. Julia Roberts ain't the only one meeting him on the other side of the world. Jim is a retired NYPD just like in the movies! When he started in 69, beatnick Serpico gave some advice to him and the other newbies. Watch the movie Serpico with Al Pacino. Now he's a fishing guide and nature, fish and hunting photographer. And alternatively a very funny guy !

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Kitkat break on top of a 6000 feet high peak. An eagle dives to grab its prey. Jim who has been shaken by the Varanasi experience to Roberto who's going north : imagine you're in the army. Well what you've seen until now in south India was basic training. Now you're going where it's really tough on the battle field so you have to use all you've learned to survive up there.

Guide shows us a plant which blooms only once every 12 years and American Jim asks "but where is the cannabis ?"

We go down through the tea plantations. Jim encourages us to vary the angles from which we take our photographs by kneeling down or climbing up some height to find the best shot, heighten the drama... also play with contrasts : all this green and a touch of color like a red sari for example. Short photo session with women tea pickers and the trek is nearly over. By the end of it we're a bunch of "red necks".

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