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My darling, Darjeeling

Written on: Saturday May 23rd, 2009

A journal entry from: In the spiced Indian air....

Sorry to do this to you again, but I posted 3 blogs so if you're interested click back to read them.

We arrived happily in Darjeeling to a cool 20 degrees after a twisty windy drive up the hills.  The temperature felt SO GOOD after the intense heat and humidity we have been experiencing. We ended up spending 5 nights here we loved it so much!

The elevation is an average of 6982 ft/2128 m and the area is known for it's tea and stunning views of the 3rd highest mountain in the world, Kachenjunga (28169 ft/8586 m)!  You can also see Mt Everest from here but we weren't so lucky to have a clear enough day.  There is also a little "Toy Train" that runs from Siliguri up to Darjeeling on a little steam engine... it takes 8 hours whereas a drive takes 3. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site so it was fun to see it in action. Although we didn't get any good pics unfortunately.

We fell right into life here, and it is my favorite city in India for comfort! The air is noticibly clean, as are the streets. The city even has garbage trucks come through and clean every morning, something I have  NEVER seen in India.  Actually, I have never even seen a garbage can until I came to Darjeeling.

We spent our days visiting a zoo, a tea estate, shopping (prices are cheaper here than anywhere!), wandering the switch-back streets and marveling at the beauty of the hills.  We also awoke at 3:00am to go to tiger hill for what turned out to be a disappointing sunrise and a sky too clouded to see kachenjunga. There are several monastaries around to visit as well as a gorgeous temple completely draped in prayer flags on top of Observatory hill. 

The Nepali and Tibetan influence is clear here, you can see Asian-looking people dressed in saris and shop for goods that have come from both nepal and Tibet.  It fully feels like a different country than India.

Unfortunately, we still weren't feeling 100% and had to spend a day or two in bed trying to recover. The good thing is that western food was readily available, and this time it wasn't fake weird indian versions of western food... it was actually food you could get at home! Our stomachs thanked us and we were in near tip top shape by the time we left here.

The morning we left for Nepal we awoke to an almost-clear sky and were finally able to see most of Kachenjunga... and all I can say about it is the Rockies have nothing on this mountain range (gasp, I can't believe I'm saying this!). It is truly magnificent and absolutely gigantic!

 

From Dad on May 25th, 2009

Jeni, Wow, what a world, eh? My little office seems so unimportant. I miss you lots little girl.

From Lauren on May 28th, 2009

Hey Girly, WOW!!! What an amazing trip!!! Can't wait for you to post more. Love you and miss you lots.