BEEP, BEEP……..BEEP………..BEEP. Look out I’m coming around the corner, Heads up, I’m behind you, I’m going to pass, Thanks a lot for letting me know, Hey Raju. The car horns here are constantly in use, to those of us from places where the horn is rarely used it sounds totally random when you first arrive. The longer you are here and the more times you ride in a vehicle the more you can see that it is all part of the ballet of driving. Sure there are those drivers that do not use any discretion and are blowing the horn just because it is there, but for those folks that use it properly it is an instrument to be played as if they were playing the oboe in a symphony orchestra. Every beep has a meaning and is meant to be beeped only at prescribed times and for a prescribed duration. The sound can be just a beautiful as it can be annoying, and it works.
Hopped in a shared cab today. There was already a lady and her son (about 8 years old) in the cab. Mur sat by himself on the “middle” wooden bench and I shared the “back” seat with the lady and her son. The driver stopped to pick up two young ladies (20ish). They took a look at Mur on the middle seat and the only 2 empty seats which were beside him and baulked. Honest, he doesn’t bite. The Mom quickly told her son to sit next to Mur and the two ladies crammed into the back seat making 4 on the back seat and 2 on the middle seat. The women all wiggled around until we fit – this is a “Happy Bus” size vehicle (spelled TINY!). It is India and that boy/girl thing does mean something.
We went to Dr. John Graham’s home and school today. Dr. Graham was a missionary from Scotland and he built an orphanage and school in 1900 to educate tea estate workers’ children. We walked around the grounds and looked at his house, the school and the church. It is a large campus and currently has about 1,400 students, most of which stay in dorms on campus. The buildings are a little worse for wear, to our standard. We noticed a number of plaques from alumni classes that indicate that funds for repairs to buildings are being donated.
We walked back to Kalimpong to the Haat Bazaar, which was extremely crowded due to the festival in town this weekend and this being the day the local farmers came to town to sell their wares. Spices, shoes, tablecloths, vegetables, fish, rice, kitchen utensils, fruit, tools, anything you want or need. As opposed to markets elsewhere in the world we have visited, this market actually catered to the local inhabitants not the tourists.
We had a lovely and very tasty supper at the Windsongs followed by a long chat with Subhadra, the owner. The vegetables were organic and grown in the nursery attached to the property. Subhadra even arranged the meal around my dairy intolerance. As we have said, this is heaven.
I have said this before but here it is; the people make the place. The number of nice, polite, happy, people we have met so far in India is huge. With a population as big as India’s, there should be a lot of opportunity for people to be mad at the world, but it does not seem to be the case. We have been made most welcome, which makes our experience top notch. The big city is our next destination in this country and we’ll have to see if the Indians can maintain their hospitality. I don’t think they will disappoint us.
We are heading to Phuentsholing, on the Bhutan border tomorrow (Sunday). We meet up with our tour guide on Monday and drive to Paro. We are not sure what the internet connection will be like in Bhutan, but we will try to post every day. See you in Bhutan.
I wonder if the horns in Bhutan talk the same language as the ones in India.