Just a quick entry to let the world know where we are.

We are happy to be here in Johannesburg, security concerns notwithstanding.

People take their security very seriously in Joburg these days. Most businesses and residential areas cower behind high walls and electrified fencing.

Good fences make good neighbours

We stay in Sandton, probably the safest area in Johannesburg. Centrally located, we take Ubers everywhere, like most non-poor Joburgers.

Just as well that’s it’s cool and rainy for this time of year. We have a lot of business to take care of.

Visiting the Apartheid Museum

Our original plan is to purchase a car to drive around South Africa and the surrounding countries.

…it’s a long walk

It turns out you cannot buy a car if you are a casual visitor to South Africa. So we do a long-term rental instead. We pick up a minuscule vehicle called a ‘Datsun Go‘.

We name him Nelson, in honour of Mr. Mandela. Our first stop is Kruger National Park, where we hope to pass some time before spending Christmas in Mozambique.

Darjeeling – 20 Kilos of Tea

From Siliguri, we get a drive to Darjeeling over a mountainous route.

Our guest house is associated with the Singtom tea estate.

Very quaint

We take a tour early next morning.

It’s early because that’s when the tea that has been picked the day before is processed.

These are some of the oldest tea estates in the region.

Dagmar in the tea ‘garden’

One day, we arrange a drive into town.

A rare sidewalk

Darjeeling is a hilly, busy place.

Transportation hub, Darjeeling

In Darjeeling, we visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute.

Final resting place of Tenzing Norgay, first man (with Edmund Hillary) to climb Mount Everest

Then it’s back to the guest house.

Our guest house is very relaxing. It’s a few kilometers down a precipitous winding road from Darjeeling town.

When it’s clear, we can see Kanchenjunga from our property.

Kanchenjunga is the world’s third-highest mountain

At Siliguri Airport, Dagmar arranges the delivery of 20 kilograms of tea she has purchased. This almost fills the freebie duffel bags we got in Nepal.

Did we mention that Dagmar really likes tea?

From Siliguri, we fly back to Delhi. We spend a night in the appalling Aerocity area near the airport. We leave early in the morning for the Jim Corbett National Park.

Road in Jim Corbett NP

We stay at Jim’s Jungle Retreat. Despite the folksy-sounding name, this is a beautiful and luxurious resort.

It’s chilly in the morning

We don’t see any tigers. Nevertheless, we go on a few pleasant drives in the park. We see this eagle of some kind.

And an elephant cavorting in the river.

Some park staff use domesticated elephants for work in the reserve.

We wait patiently by a dry riverbed in hope of a tiger sighting.

Finally, we head for home.

Last sunset in India

A fitting end to this entry. The next day, we take a seven-hour drive back to New Delhi. At the airport, we go our separate ways. Pete and Dagmar fly back to Canada direct. We fly to Johannesburg, via Addis Ababa.

Sight or Insight of the Day

After nearly six months in the area, we can’t say we’re sorry to be leaving India.

In most places we travel, the majority of people quietly go about their normal lives, whatever that might be. Some people stand out for being unusually kind or helpful, and these stand out in our memory.

In India, as usual, the majority of people quietly go about their normal lives. Some people stand out for being unusually kind or helpful, and these stand out in our memory. But many people here make it their business to cheat, mislead, or otherwise annoy or threaten us.

Besides, the universal dilapidation and general un-cleaness everywhere is dispiriting, as is the infuriating, grotesque inefficiency in getting the simplest tasks done. It’s definitely time to move on.

(Of course, this doesn’t mean we won’t be back one day!)

India, Again

Our time in Nepal comes to an end. It’s been a good trip.

Leavin’ on a jet plane…

We arrive at Delhi airport and wait for our friend Dagmar to arrive on a flight from Canada. We accompany her on a Tea and Tigers itinerary.

Our passports are nearly full. We arrange to pick up new ones at the Canadian embassy here.

This plaque at the embassy has had the union jack on our coat of arms vandalized. No doubt due to the pathological hatred of the British inculcated by the modern Indian state.

Honi soit qui mal y pense

Some sightseeing is in order after taking care of business (including the purchase of a new laptop). Like a visit to the Red Fort.

Meanwhile, I remain at our hotel trying out our new laptop.

Delhi is undergoing record-breaking bad air recently.

Fancy inlaid marble

Next day, we fly to Jaipur. From there, we hire a car and driver to take us to Sawai Madhopur.

Rajastani woman selling fruit

Our goal is Ranthambore National Park. We’re here to see tigers.

Tigers are rare in India these days, and getting rarer.

The scenery in the park is nice.

Nice henna

This rufous treepie is not afraid of a little human interaction.

Dendrocitta vagabunda

I sit next to a toddler who keeps clutching at my arm with his clammy little mitts.

Smiling outside, cringing inside

We cross paths with other tour vehicles.

Even without spotting a tiger, it’s a pleasant drive through the park.


We go on another excursion early the next morning.

Pete and Dagmar sit up front

The open touring buses can be quite crowded.

The sun finally warms things up a bit. It’s a far cry from the 45-degree Celsius temperatures that we experienced when we first got here.

Sunrise over Ranthambore

You have to be very lucky to see a tiger here. We catch a brief glimpse of one, which creates a lot of excitement. But not as much as this event a few days ago.

Paw print in the dust

There are herds of spotted deer everywhere.

Tiger chow

And langurs. One enterprising langur raids a woman’s purse for a snack bar.

Then it’s back to town.

Sawai Madhopur streets

Next, we fly to Siliguri – via Delhi – on our way to Darjeeling.

Electric tuk-tuk

Before driving to Darjeeling, Pete, Dagmar, and Maria visit the Salugara monastery.

There are many Tibetan refugees in India.

Giant prayer wheel

On the list is a Krishna temple. Also known as Sri Sri Radha Madhav Sundar Mandir, one of the biggest Krishna centres in the North-Eastern region of India.

It’s run by ISKON, which apparently is still a thing.

‘…but it takes so long, My Lord…’

Lots of pink buildings.

Sight or Insight of the Day

Garbage is a problem in India. It’s everywhere. Nobody notices or thinks it’s unusual.

When we have a car and driver to take us to Jim Corbett park later in the trip, we pass the infamous Ghazipur dumping yard.

This is a mountain of fetid garbage on the eastern outskirts of Delhi that’s nearly as high as the Taj Mahal.