Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dec 25: Descent from Darjeeling, and back to the plains

Got up at 3:30. Reason: sightseeing? Or rather – sunseeing! The
highest peak near Darjeeling is this hill called Tiger Hill. At
2545m, it offers an excellent view of the sunrise. The early morning
rays illuminate the snow-clad peaks, and that is the real attraction.
It is a real joy seeing the peaks change from white and then develop a
slight red tint. Well worth the 100 rupees spent on the shared cab.

I am not charmed too much by Darjeling. True, it has these views of
the city, with the high mountains as the background. But it is teeming
with tourists and just too many of them for my taste.

Darjeeling, of course, is known for it's high quality tea. I shopped a
bit yesterday at a (heavily advertised) shop called Nathmull's Tea
Rooms. They have tea all the way till 12,000 rupees a kilo. Learnt
quite a few things about tea, including the fact that 'green tea' is
drunk for health reasons, and not taste.

I had started out from Darjeeling at about 11:45, making my way
towards Siliguri over Kurseong. Siliguri is about 80 kms away – with
more than 60kms downhill! It was cold riding downhill, inspite of me
wearing my fleece jacket. The road slopes down gently after Ghoom, 8
kms from Darjeeling. The joy ride ends with 10kms left for Siliguri!
There was an option to take a steeper downhill road as well, but I
didn't take it. Reason: Who wants to concentrate on the brakes all
the time? I had a bit of fun riding downhill, with some nice scenary –
but again most obscured by fog.

I had no problems finding accomodation in Siliguri, and visited a
cyber cafe too, to backup my website!

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