Dec 28, 2004
now i am in a town called darjeeling which is in the foothills of the himalayas and just a few miles from the nepali border. the town is pretty largish and is for all intensive purposes hanging off the edge of a cliff. the side walks and streets weave steeply up and down the mountain side and you can get really exhausted just walking around. its so beautiful here though, the valley below is just an emerald green and the mountains in the distance just rise into the sky forever. the view is breathtaking to say the least but in the afternoon the town in engulfed in clouds and the view goes away for awhile lol. its so sureal to walk around here at night with the cloud blowing up the mountain side. the town is strange and winding and beautiful on its own and then you add the clouds and its like this amazing ghost town thats been there forever and is just so mysterious. ive found that ive loved india when i get to where im going but the travel within the country is driving me crazy. all is well though and i should be here for about a week before going into nepal.
to leave kalkota i had to have my very first indian train experience. this may have been one of the more unpleasant things in my journeys to date. the mass of humanity waiting for the various trains was immense as was the train station. and this was the SMALLER of the two stations that served kalkota. me and the american girl im traveling with had our tickets before hand (the indians offer a service for tourists that guarantees them a seat...the indians themselves have to do a mad dash and hope to find somewhere to sit). but there was no indication of where that particular train was departing from. the people at the help desk were not exactly helpful but we were able to decipher what track it was leaving from but apparantly this one track was in some annex down the street. thank god we got there 2 hours early. the train ride itself was uneventful...dirty and packed to the rafters. next time i am definitely buying a higher class ticket...we had 3rd class out of 5. the train got to its destination about 12 hours later but this was just a brief stop in our travels. we were going up into the foothills of the himalayas so we would have to take a jeep ride up the mountain. imagine the most twisting turning, cutback road you can possibly imagine and now times that by 10. absolutely beautiful drive but it was hampered by the fact that we had 11 people in a land rover esque vehicle. it was crowded and pretty unpleasant and it took another 5 hours.