Day 99: Toy Train to Darjeeling
Trip Start Jun 19, 2008
40Trip End Dec 17, 2008
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We had First class tickets on the toy train, which was a lot of fun. It basically meant we got cushioned personal seats instead of a plastic bench seat and a funky decorated train car. The tickets were 250 Rs each, about $5. It left at 10:30am and we arrived at around 5pm in Darjeeling.
The train did switch backs up the mountain, so most of the time we actually ended up going backwards
A young boy decided that he liked us and stood next to us on the train. Except he spoke less Hindi then we do and absolutely no English, so it was more just smiling and laughing at each other. At one point he jumped off the train and then jumped back on in car behind us. Of course a light bulb went off in all the boys' heads that the train was going slow enough that we can get off, run beside it, and then get back on. So we all gave it a try. The train would follow the road for the most part, so we could just run on the road, except sometimes it changed sides and you would be forced to run off a cliff, or a giant ditch would appear. So you had to time it right.
Once we got to Darjeeling we got a jeep to take us to the nearest trekking agency and begged with him to arrange a guide for us for the next day for the Sringalila Ridge Trek (usually you have to give a couple days notice). He finally gave in, and gave us a decent price. It was 650 Rs/person/day. So for a four day trek it was 2600 Rs, or $55. This included three meals a day, water, lodging, two guides, chai breaks, and transportation two and from Darjeeling-we only had to pay extra for entrance to the national park which the trail cut through 100Rs for foreigners. Pretty good deal compared to what you can get in America.
We then checked into Andy's hotel, which is run by a nice older woman, the cheapest room came with free hot water in a bucket and for three people in one room it was 350 Rs. It was really clean and for some reason smelled really nice.