You think you getting the hang of it .. but....

Trip Start Sep 19, 2012
Trip End Jul 22, 2014

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Flag of India  , Bengal,
Thursday, October 11, 2012

After yet another hectic Tuk Tuk ride through town I arrived at the train station ready to leave for Darjeeling via Jalpaiguri. Train was about an hour late but being a seasoned traveler I soon found my couch and cabin and seat. I am getting good at this. Settled in with my traveling mates which were an Indian family with 2 kids After about 2 hours the ticket inspector arrived and informed that I was on the wrong train and had to get off at the next station. So much for my confidence. Fortunately my correct train was about 20 minutes us heading in the same direction so all looked OK. Ha this train was packed to over flowing and when I found my seat that I had reserved the compartment was full. There are supposed to be 6 people to the compartment/ sleeping area. At one stage I counted 20. We, the ones with valid tickets slowly got rid of the rabble. If they stood up we moved our bags around to make less space on the seats. Once we had pulled down the bunk beds we spread out but people would still perch on the edge of the bunk or sit on the floor. During the night I literally had to kick people of my bunk. They would just push my legs aside and lay down on whatever space they could steal.After 4 or 5 solid kicks they would get up and move away only for someone else to try later.

By morning and many stops the rabble had thinned slightly. Through out the 20 hour trip there was a constant stream of vendors and hawkers shouting up and down the train selling anything from chai, food, cell phone accessories and plastic toys. You can just imagine the state of the toilets.

Arrived at Jalpaiguri mid morning and now need to organise a lift to Darjeeling. Met a pleasant Italian couple who were waiting for transport. There are only certain 4x4 type vehicles that take you up the 3 hour journey to Darjeeling. So what they do is wait until the vehicle is full before they leave. This can take anything up to a few hours waiting for trains to arrive. This couple had been waiting for sometime and were getting fed up. Eventually I found another smaller vehicle that would take the 3 of us at a slightly higher price but everyone was tied of waiting. When we explained to the original driver he was obviously not too happy but would not budge on his waiting. Eventually an argument broke but the Italian girl was fluent in Hindi and I don't know what she said but it certainly was impressive - a very irate Italian shouting in Hindi with arms waiving. Anyway we won the fight and off we headed to Darjeeling.

Drove through Siliguri and were soon in among the forests that thinned out into the tea plantations and we then started. Amazing drive over little rocky streams and the road got steeper and steeper with switchback and hair pin bends. It looked as if the houses were scattered and tumbled down around the hills. As we got higher the mist came in and the temperature dropped. There is a great feel here. House are brightly painted and most have loads of bright flowering pot plants. The roads are incredible steep and linked with stairs and alleys. I think I am going to like it here.
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Jakes. A.T.R W. on

Howdy , eventually managed to get onto your blog. I see I have some serious , catch up reading to do. Can you receive sms's ?
I gather all going well. How long do you think you will be in India for ? Stupid question huh. Went to the Horse last night , new owners , Steve Fataar and open mike. Not my kind of music , sound was bad all sad songs. left early came home and listened to your music on random with half a bottle of Amarula it was better than A1. Think Issi was there , is she tall ish and blond, short slim tidy friend with her .... Lil intrigued with your travels and blog, told her to read quick and get back to work !! New 2 nd hand tractor arrived Friday , the transporter's driver took it off , off the damn side of the trailer ..!! Big bucks damage , they are hassling to settle or claim from their insurance. Sharks into semi's playing Blue Bulls in DBn Saturday. If we win , home final against WP or Lions. Have fun. P. oh Machine was R 521 000 last week , damn thing !

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