It's funny how time and distance change you, the roads you take don't always lead you home.
After climbing the road that meandered up a mountain for three hours, we arrived at our cloud. A little spot of heaven, we could leasurly explore as the sun set. We put on as many layers as possible and set out to find a hostel. NOTE: on our drive the temp dropped from 100 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (keep in mind this is rough math…what is celsius?) I had my handy dandy list of activities out and we headed for a street where all the KEWL stuff seemed to be. We found a hostel. Settled into our damp basement room. And headed to dinner. I had found a bar online called Buzz that APARENTLY was disney themed–so naturlly this was our first stop. One: by Disney themed they meant colorful with weird sh** on the wall. Two: we ran into our fellow travelers from HYD and laughed over red wine, tea, and what some people VERY loosely call Mac n Cheese. We headed back to our hotel, but not before stopping for street momos. For those of you unfamiliar, a momo is basically a dumpling, but way better. Steamed or friend, these delectable packages of goodness come in all flavours. Including, our favorite, NUTELLA. What is not to like? We scarfed down about 6 orders, shelling out a dollar–it was go big or go home. With full bellies we fell asleep, waking up early to explore.
I had read about an amazing retaurant called Sonam’s Kitchen that supposedly had amazing breakfast and take away sandwhich options. TURNS OUT we were staying right acorss the street and out hostel was owned my Sonam herself. We stuffed out faces with eggs, thick toast, pancakes, and the “real stuff coffee”. See link below for more info.
We rented a jeep for the day, which took us to the Japanese Peace Pagoda and Tiger Hill. Both must see places according to Lonely Planet. We heard a saying while in Darjeeling: “Its hard to be unhappy when you’re living on a cloud” and nothing was more true than that. Clouds rolled up the hillside at a staggeringly quick pace, sun came and went with the seconds, and rain couldn’t decided whether it wanted to stay or leave. All the while we stood in a small town looking out over rolling mountains, perched on the cloudline. Truly breathtaking and beautiful. That being said, sometimes it was hard to see three feet in front of you and a huge gust of wind would leave you running to the nearest store for a hand knit circle scarf you “needed”. We went out exploring outside of town anyway and hung with the monks in the morning and everest in the afternoon. By monks, I mean Bhudda and by Everest I mean the clouds that blocked where Everest aparently was located. A great day paired with tea on tea, books on books, momos on momos, and shopping on shopping. We were exhausted.
Unfortunately, our adrenaline kicked in around 3 am when the sun rose. Neither of us could sleep due to our impending departure so we went for a nice walk to calm down and watch the sun rise over a slubering city. I meditated on a hillside for awhile then ran the loop of the town all the while taking in the silence and monkey cackling the morning brought. Breakfast at Sonams once more we were ready to descend back into “India”.
Bagdogra Airport probably deserves a post all to itself. Picture a shack in the middle of nowhere with two runways and a bunch of chaos. As Darjeeling is so close to the Nepalese border, this airport is International in the same sense as US airports that fly to Canada are. We checked in and were told we would miss our connection home. We knew this was going to happen, we just underestimated everyones incompetence of fixing our dilemma. Our visas ran out in 48 hours GET US HOME. After checking into a lovely Marriot courtesy of Alan, we scrubbed our smelly bodies clean and enjoyed the VIP lounge a little too much. FREE STUFF IS FUN. Our flight left early in the morning, but we made sure to take complete advantage of the buffet before departing.
NOTE: the bagdogra airport employs a women to walk around a scream which flights are leaving as they legitimately do not hav electricity.