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Happy Birthday to Me

INDIA | Thursday, 17 May 2007 | Views [614]

Well, I decided to give myself a really good present, Permission to Head west! Well, the time has just flown by and, tick-tock... Can't hide my joy and ear to ear smile with thoughts of getting out of Darjeeling. This place has rubbed me the wrong way and can I blame it just on the fat that it has the worst weather in India? I has rained 90% of the time I have been here. (raining right now in fact, and there is no electricity. Sitting in the computer place with a generator) It is loud. Jeeps blaring their horns continuously, just in case you didn't know they were there. Clinging to the walls as you share narrow roads with large trucks and every imaginable moving vehicle (with diesel fumes filling the available space left between you and them). Packs of dogs barking all night (they sleep during the day). High decibel conversations taking place wherever you are. (Think everyones hearing is impaired due to the magnitude of noise here, so they don't talk, they scream). I am ready for running water (water shortages here in the Hill stations) I am ready to get away from all the steep climbing, the instant coffee, the constant construction, the damp...I have tried to do as many excursions that the 2 days off a week would allow. Last weekend I took a 5 hour shared jeep ride to a small town called Lava. About an hour drive from Kalimpong and home of the Sister Monastery of Pullahari. It was peaceful and quiet with gorgeous views from all sides. See pictures.( I never have described in detail the shared jeep experiences here. Just imagine a jeep, stuffed with 15 people(that's inside only). It is a site to behold. 3 people plus the driver in front. The person sitting closest to the driver has to literally "cuddle" with him, arm around his back, legs spread around the gear stick and no one has any space to move at all. ( I will spare you the stereo blasting stories here, but you can imagine the high quality cassettes they play at full volume)Then, middle seat, there are 4 plus any children that are riding, sitting on various laps, no introduction needed( I had a girl of around 7 sleeping on me and the person next to me last weekend, she was the only comfortable one)..The back seat, which is two small seats facing each other, manages to fit 4, then people sit/squat on the floor and lean up against the seated passengers. Oh, I forgot to mention the men that hang from the back or sit on the roof. It is not unlikely to have over 25 people riding together on the steep and windy roads. So, on Sunday I take my last shared jeep to Silliguri to catch a 24 hour train to Delhi! Classes are not over, in fact there is another month to the program. I would rather spend the next two weeks somewhere I can relax. No, not Delhi! I will go to Rewalsar,home of the sacred lake Tso Pema. Then to Dharmasala for a few days, before I am back to Delhi and off for a 12 hour Bangkok adventure. (Layover from 5:30am until 7:30pm). It is hard to believe that I will have been gone for 6 months. Looking forward to sharing stories over good food and Californian wine!

Tags: planes trains & automobiles

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