Darjeeling Walkabout – September 28

We slept in, showered and did some laundry, so we got a late start on the day.  We ate breakfast in the hotel common area.  Mur had scrambled eggs and toast and the cook was kind enough to make me some veggie fried rice. Note to self-fried rice is not enough to sustain me!

We headed out for a long walkabout of Darjeeling. Darjeeling is situated on a hill and it flows down, along and over the hill.  We decided to walk one of the roads that goes all the way around the hill. The walk started out as a “city” walk, with traffic and people and school kids and congestion and noise and smells.

Transporting goods

The further we walked, it became less of a “city” walk and more of a “country” walk. More greenery, less people and less noise.

View down below the road we are walking on

We are enjoying talking to the children.  They will usually say hello to us first, then Mur will offer to take their picture and then show them the picture.  We had many friendly encounters with these kids who laugh and smile when their picture is being taken.

We were continually heading in a downward direction and we knew to get back to Chowrasta Square, we had to start heading up, so we took a path that led up past the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre. The grades made it quite a climb in the sunshine and the heat, but we found ourselves back on a small road we had been to before and before long we were in Chowrasta. Ten km all in. We bought some lunch from a bakery – cheese pie for Mur, chicken in pastry for me and a cinnamon bun to share.  Grabbed a seat in the square and munched, drank water and people watched. We sat until my feet said I could move again.

We then wandered down to the taxi stand to inquire about a taxi to Kalimpong for Friday. Only found one taxi operation that advertised going to Kalimpong and they charge Rs 1200 to rent the whole vehicle. Since then we have talked to a few more taxis that charge up to Rs 1800 for the trip.  We talked about paying Rs 90 each and going in the same size vehicle but with 11 other paying passengers. 4 in the back, 4 in the middle and 3 plus the driver in the front. If we were in our twenties and wanted to stretch our travel money as far as it could go, we would be doing this.  We decided that comfort is a big factor for us, and we are going to spend $25 instead of $4. OUCH!

We ran into a young Spanish couple, in their mid-twenties, and had a great chat with them.  They had been traveling in India for 17 days and had just loved it.  This was their last stop before heading home. It was encouraging to see them so excited about traveling. We even talked about the Vuelta (a bike race recently held in Spain) as the young couple had gone to watch a stage of the race.

After parting from the Spaniards, we headed into the commercial district to look for an adapter for our 3 prang plug.  After a few tries, we ended up in a hardware store talking to an older fellow. His English was amazing, so Mur asked him how he got his English so precise.  He said that in school he had to learn to read in English. He had an adapter that we all thought would work so Mur tried to bargain with him.  After some fun, he paid Rs 130 instead of Rs 135! (It cost about $3 CDN.)

A colourful house along our route

The walk we were on was mostly on main type roads – not enough back roads for Mur, so the next day we are going to go on another walk and see if we can get down some back roads or residential roads to see how the locals live.

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