This was one of my favorite days in India. I met a young man named Sanish while I was walking through Kumily, looking for my hotel, and he offered me a ride. We hung out the next day, when the whole town went on strike, including the buses out of town. I had originally planned to leave Kumily after visiting the tiger reserve, but I was happy with the turn of events, because Sanish gave me a tour of the entire town and all the spice factories.
We visited cardamom fields, coffee plantations, and tea fields, where Sanish picked up porcupine spines and explained that porcupines are nocturnal and that they love tea. He had a great way of describing all the animals that we encountered ("This is the most poisonous lizard in India, but it's so stupid that when it tries to attack you, it forgets what it was doing.") We didn't encounter anyone all day, except for a van driver stranded up in the tea fields, who Sanish stopped to help.
Our day ended when he took me up on the highest mountain in Kumily, which was really quite steep. I was afraid to climb all the way to the top, but Sanish talked me through it, and then proved to be a great photographer, too! We became such good friends that he decided to accompany me on the next part of my journey...I'll upload those photos in a few days.