We got up early and the hotel car took us to nearby airport. We had had a good night's sleep in a comfortable bed. By the way, in Indian airports, you must show a printout of your ticket in order to enter the airport at all (so ticketing is outside, if you need it). They had free curbside porter service for the airline, and he assisted us all the way through baggage screening and up to the check-in desk. After clearing security, and Anne going through the special screened ladies' security booth, we found our way to our gate, which means a bus to to take us out to the airplane. This plane was a prop-jet, and Anne felt queasy during the flight - a two-part flight which stopped at Trivandrum, Kerala, and then continued north to Cochin. The breakfast they served did not agree with her either - too spicy - yes, breakfast! Cochin is a small airport, and only a few got off there - you must show your boarding pass in order to get back into the airport to collect your baggage! (They also have two heavily armed soldiers with AK-47's on both sides of the plane as it sits on the tarmac.)
After the speediest baggage delivery we've ever had, we exited the airport, and there was our driver, Matthew, with a sign, waiting for us. He drove up a heavy-duty Toyota minivan (stick-shift), put our bags in and off we went. Unfortunately, Anne's stomach did not like the car ride either, which necessitated a hasty stop by the side of the road, and a change of clothes in a private bathroom across the road. How embarrassing can it get!! The remainder of the ride to Munnar, a 4-hour drive, was very uncomfortable with hairpin turns and a big change in elevation into the mountains, the Western Ghats. We stopped a couple of times for scenic views, but it was a long time in fog and pouring rain and a rather terrifying drive with narrow roads, scary passing of slower vehicles, and close encounters. This hotel was very nice, but less so than our later hotels were going to be - it was state-run. There were separate buildings with three or four units, and we were in a top room (second floor) with very nice views. The rain beat very hard and noisily on our tin roof. The bed was fairly comfortable and the shower was decent and hot. We had had no lunch, so Tom got a sandwich (they do know how to make a real sandwich!) while Anne showered and went to bed for awhile. We walked under our umbrellas to the dining room for a buffet which looked fairly unappetizing, but Anne was eating light anyways, and Tom was full from his chicken sandwich, so we found enough to just sustain us.