We trekked 16km on Christmas Eve, along the Brahmagiri Hills, through jungle and open savannah to the boulder caves of Pakshipathalam. Here we climbed to the top, and at 1740m our home-made lunch was served on an "ela" (banana leaf). We ate with our hands, and washed down the coconut curry and tapioca curry bread with ice-cold water we'd collected from the mountain streams on our way up. Ashraf (our driver) carried lunch with him, and Manny (our local tribal guide) carried his machete (just in case some of the more frightening local wild inhabitants made an appearance). They both made the trip in flip flops, while I was still nursing my bruised toes a day later, despite being kitted out in waterproof walking boots.
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