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!)