Wednesday 18 April 2012


Darjeeling is pretty incredible, perched on the side of a mountain, overlooking a view of endless hills and mountains overlapping and overshadowing each other. When the clouds aren't rolling past and blocking the view, you slowly see more and more peaks in the distance. They never seem to end, when you think you've seen as far as you can, the clouds part and you see snow capped mountains, taller than seems possible, in the distance. My camera just cannot do it justice.

The town itself is steep hills and narrow streets, which of course does nothing to dissuade the cars, jeeps, bikes and vans that speed along, beeping incessantly all the way. And yet, it's so peaceful and quiet here, and thinking about moving to Calcutta tomorrow, returning to the train lines and the noise and the hustle and bustle of India is both exciting and dissapointing. Still, Malaysia in 3 days, which is a little shocking!

We're mainly been relaxing and recovering here, Aya still not quite fully recovered and me popping anti-histamines like candy to fight off my streaming nose and itchy eyes. I hope it's just allergies, it might be a cold, though it seems to get better after I've taken a pill. Aya thinks it's allergies, and when I get to Calcutta it'll clear up. Fingers crossed!

Hotels in Darjeeling are as common as mosquitoes in Lumbini. Ranging from dark and gloomy rooms to posh colonial hotels (the Windamere/Elgin), you're sure to find a place to stay, but walking to them will likely give you a hernia from the steep and twisting roads. Frustratingly, the two well rated hotels, Andy's Guest House and Hotel Tranquility, are both located on the very top of the hill. Good for the incredible views across the valleys, but painful when you're tired and just want to pop out for a bite to eat.

And the cold. It is FREEZING here at night. Having come from South India, we're stocked up on swimming shorts and t-shirts, and so all of a sudden being in the Himalaya and the temperature hitting 15 degrees is a shock. Even worse is knowing that buying warm clothes will be wasted when we head to South East Asia soon!

So, we've bought tickets to ride down to Kurseong on the 'Toy Train'. The tracks are about a foot wide, and we've already heard stories from someone coming here that it jumps off the tracks on occasion (luckily no one was hurt). So if you don't hear from me again, I probably went over a cliff. From Kurseong, we'll have to find a share jeep to take us to NJP station (there are about 490 of them every 25 seconds heading up and down the mountain) where our overnight train to Calcutta leaves.

And that's about it. We have a day and a half in Calcutta to look around before AirAsia whisks us over the Bay of Bengal to Kuala Lumpur, and I have no idea whether I'll update this again from India or Malaysia. Either way, it's sad to leave this amazing country, but exciting to be heading to a new one.

Thanks for reading,


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