I’ve just been to see that French film ‘Water Lillies’. For those of you who don’t do arthouse cinema, it’s a coming of age film involving synchronised swimmers and their poolside shenanigans. It was quite sweet really, reminding me of the times I used to go and stand outside Robert Sharp’s house in the hope that he’d come out and snog me (he never did – I believe he’s bald now). I digress. I’ve just remembered why French films really irritate me. The women are almost always unremittingly miserable. They never smile, they never crack a joke and they never, ever, indulge in idle chit chat. What they do do , is stand in windows, staring at traffic/lie on beds staring at the ceiling/lean up against trees staring at dogs or other trees. And what gets me is that they always get the guy. God, give me strength. More Inja. We’re in Coorg, in a homestay in the hills. It’s the night before we do our mountain hike: Thursday, 14 February. ‘A rude awakening at 4am. The local pundit had passed by to perform a puja which involved our host family standing out in the courtyard right outside our bedroom, while the pundit did lots of waving, whooping and hollering with a tray of fire and a rather large sword. God knows what was going on, but it lasted for 3 hours. We got up around 8am and had breakfast – pretty much the same food that we’d had for dinner the night before. We thought we’d be hiking alone but just before we were ready to leave, a rickshaw drew up and two Americans got out. In their late 50s, they were dressed in full walking gear, the woman with a long plait and little round glasses, the man with a ponytail and a stoop. The walk was tough. We climbed through the jungle, passing coffee plants, cardamon and elephant dung. Up, up, up, we went through the treeline and to the peak just below Mount Kottabetta, the third highest peak in the region. From the top, we could see a good distance across rolling, tree-covered hills. It was truly beautiful and serene. Well, it would have been had it not been for the American woman who didn’t stop speaking from the moment we set out until the moment we got back. (What is it about Americans and their inane questions? They’re like children. Everything has to be explained in minute detail. What is that beetle? How many legs has it got? Would you say it was blue or green? Uuuurggggh) When we got back we had more of the same food then, thankfully, the Americans left and we wandered to the waterfall for a splash around. I couldn’t stay here for long, the diet is too samey. We’re both gagging for some variety, even an omelette or cereal or fruit. Curry for breakfast is not my ideal.’ more….