Trip Start Feb 01, 2006
Trip End May 28, 2006

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Flag of India  ,
Friday, April 21, 2006

We spent a night in Dlehi about 500m from the train station and boarded the train at 6am. Now, according to the Lonely Planet this trip is a mere 4 hours, a hell of a mistake on their part as after leaving at six we arrived in kalka at 11:30 to board the narrow guage 'toy train' to Shimla at 12:10, which got us into Shimla at 17:20, yep nearly 12 hours on two bloody train, the latter of which was crampt and tiny. The views were astinishing as the pictures can testify but 12 hours to get anywhere is far too long.

Upon arrival we went to a hotel we had seen on the internet, the only problem is that there were no taxis and we had to walk for about 20 mins to get there to find out it was full. The hotel suggested we try another place but it was a little out of the way and after walking for about an hour we settled for one of the hotels i'd seen mentioned on the website of the company doing my training. The hotel was supposed to be one of the better Shimla has to offer but as we found out over the coming days there is sod all in the way of good accomodation here.

Shimla is abotu 2200m up in the foothills of the Himalays and is impressive. It's pretty odd though, a cross between a shanty town, and old english village and blackpool. Basiclaly everyone there is either an Indian tourist or on their honeymoon.

After our fisrt night we moved on to another hotel and this is where the whole trip went horribly wrong. The next hotel was weird, they wanted payment for 4 nights upfrontm which we managed to get them down to paying one day at a time. Initially we had planned to spend about 5-6 nights here and i was supposed to be finding somewhere to stay while i did my studies for nearly 3 weeks. Within a couple of hours of reaching Shimla i'd decided there was no way I could study here and woudl contact the training company to move my training to Delhi. Not that Shimla was bad but it was just wierd and not my cup of tea. I even met a couple of guys who were studying with Koenig in a bar and they tried to persuade me otherwise but my mind was made up.

There are plenty of pictures of Shimla, and, as you'll see it is nothing like the rest of India.

Back to the hotel. Now Janice had suffered similar issues that I had in Jaipur and as none to well, so we spent a day recouperating. The first night in the hotel was filled with Indian familes in the rooms surrounding ours basically making noise, toddlers crying or doors slamming etc. but the worst was at 7am when all hell broke loose. It transpires that the boiler starts at 7 and basically the pipes shake with such venom that the hotel itslef is shaking and there is no hope of sleep. At this point i left the hotel to try and find elsewhere, but they were all just as bad and the trend of the hotels being run by idiots continues. And here is the problem with Indian hotels, they are, for the mostpart privately owned, no chains, just privately owned hotels. Now you might think that's alright but the problem is further compounded by the fact there is nothing like a tourist board, or a star rating etc. so it means you are taking your life in your hands somewhat with the hotels when you book into them.

What follows deserves it's own entry as it is quite possibly the most surreal experience of the entire trip so far.
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