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Monday, May 19, 2008

Great Eastern Ramblings: Part II – Green Day


Day 3 and 4 - Darjeeling

Sights and Sounds: They say that the best part of the journey is the journey there. I couldn’t agree more… The mere ride to the Darjeeling and the hotel was the most beautiful thing about it. I discovered that I absolutely love hairpin turns, which there were a lot of, and that I would love to be on the back of a bike when taking those turns… Green everywhere. Steep roads. Very steep roads. Little kids in school uniforms walking and walking for half the journey there. No wonder they all are so thin. Babies and toddlers looking like proper dolls. Wanted to pick them up and put them in my bag to take home. Tea plantations everywhere on hilly slopes. People with baskets plucking them. An occasional hen clucking and rustling about in the tea plants! Little houses all the way up with loads and loads and loads of flowers at each and every porch. Look like little toy houses. Not to mention the famous toy train that stops at little toy stations which dotting the place. The tracks of the train go all over the place, in the middle of roads, through gardens, right at people’s doorsteps… Its cute how it goes anywhere and everywhere… you hear the whistle of the train and to the side of the road :)

The people here would have to be excellent drivers what with such steep roads and hairpin turns. And they go FAST! Mom was hanging on terrified while I… I love speed in all its definitions (except for the auto fuel and the narcotic, and that’s only because I have no experience with those two.)

People: Real friendly. Girls are beautiful here, really, with their clear skin, long hair and Jamini Roy eyes. Guys look good too, only so many of them are the wannabe dude types with baggy jeans and spiked up hair… Sigh.. Oh well… But several did remind me of Bhaichung Bhutia and a certain cute bartender that I keep bumping into ;)

Animals: All animals in the city, and in the other places I went to (Kalimpong and Gangtok) look like they have just come out of a spin cycle in a washing machine. Very fluffy… especially the dogs...

Also, all the stray dogs here look like pets. As in I am used to seeing scrawny hairless dogs roaming on the streets but here, fluffy healthy almost pedigreed dogs roaming around… surprising…

The hotel I was staying at had 3 dogs. 1 was a very grouchy Lhasa Apso which I heard had bitten over a 100 people… so I stayed away… the other 2 were some rare Russian breed, named Peter and Lillian :) which climbed all over tables and ate leftover food.. I discovered the owner of the dog and his son and chattered away about dogs and even forced the son to click a photo of me and the dogs, later to realise that they were the owner of the hotel and his son. Well, ignorance certainly is bliss.

Apparently having discovered a love for all things mammalian (especially small and mammalian; those specimens get me cooing like a lovesick cuckoo) I went around the city petting any dog, cat goat, horse and human baby that came in my way while my mom looked on in a mixture of fear, disgust, concern, disbelief, consternation and amusement!! If you didn't get the emotions involved, you're not even human. But if you're mammalian, do come by for a pat on the head.

Customs: In all the hotels we went to, we were draped with a small silk scarf, and given a drink. This was served in a tiny goblet and looked like cough syrup. Surprisingly, it also tasted a lot like cough syrup. Only like cough syrup with a liberal shot of vodka in it. It warmed you from inside like a mini fireplace in your tummy. In that cold climate, it felt heavenly albeit wierd. Later I discovered that it was non alcoholic cherry brandy. How on earth that could have been non alcoholic, I am still left wondering…

Miscellaneous: I faced a personal mental trauma that day… After nearly 20 years of seeing my dad with his mustasche, he went and nicely neatly shaved it off. After fuming and lamenting, several wisecracks were made about putting on excess skin and too many square metres of face, and we all moved on with our lives… People adapt… who knew… :P

We visited the “Mall” as the locals affectionately call their market. It is a quaint little street filled with small shops and street shops. Peacefully noisy and teeming with “stray”dogs and monkeys, it was awesome… a far cry from the malls we all know and well, do love :P

Ever heard of excessive virtue? I experienced it. In the form of a bookshop so brilliant and fascinating that I left without having made a single purchase. Too much of variety :S

Good Morning!: Next morning we get up very very VERY early to see the sum rise over the Kanchenjunga. We race the sun, try to overtake it, but oh.. too late.. when we reach the point, the sun is there waving cockily to us. But the mountain sure is gorgeous…

Then a roadtrip… we reach the Indo-Nepal Border. Beautiful and freezing with drops of rain as big as bullets. We even pass through Nepal while driving. For moi, who has been only in 2 countries in her whole life, it’s a big deal. Bear with me. I was surprised though… I was under the impression that borders were more stringent and that one would have to pass through loads of barbed wire and guards to even go near another country.

Next stop, a place called Merrick. Has a very pretty lake and dense green forests. The whole area of the north east looks as if someone sprinkled magic dust on it and willed every possible square inch of the place to be as green as possible, with trees on ferns or flowers or even moss! With a kaleidescope of flowers to match, it’s quite lovely.

Darjeeling- A lovely green quaint city with tiny winding lanes that make you constantly unaware of where you will land up.

More later.

3 comments:

another brick in the wall said...

so beautiful.. you didn't invite me :S

biking on those roads sure sounds fun yaa.. wanna go???

you got any chicks for me from there? beautiful.. clear skin.. perfect! when do you plan to do the needful? make yourslef of some use :P

ok.. i'm packing off to darjeeling.. it sounds too wonderful :S

hoverer said...

well india and nepal share a no tension pact na, no passport no visa no tension cross over who cares, even if their entire population pours into india we wont have a problem considering our already high population growth, i mean we add an australia every year what harm can a nepal do, and they dont care cos ppl hu go from india always come back anyway very well written, hoping to hear more

revelsign said...

...wow.

and the dogs! so adorable!

damn you, divvy. damn you!