I had wanted to go to Darjeeling forever. I had imagined a quaint colonial era town perched atop the Himalayas. I knew that any trip to India would have to include a visit to Darjeeling. This was a ‘non-negotiable’. Getting to Darjeeling was another matter altogether.
First you fly in to Bagdogra airport, nestled in the lush palm speckled plains of the Himalayan foothills. I was met by a driver organized for me by the hotel. I was advised the journey would take 3 hours. We began ascending the mountain. The temperature begins to drop the higher up the mountain you climb. The landscape changes from the rice patties and palms of the lowlands to the conifer forests and waterfalls closer to the summit. The absence of seat belts is of course…. unsettling. The roads are the width of a high school running track and are bumpy as hell. There are no guardrails and you tell yourself, “if we roll off the side of the road……what the fuck would a seat belt do anyway”? You start to realize it is all out of your hands. The experience is passing you by and you let go of your anxiety and just take in the view. Then, all of a sudden you are there.
Darjeeling isn’t quite how you imagined. She is smaller? Smellier for sure. But somehow charming and you can’t wait to explore.
Here are some photos of my first day out and about in Darjeeling. There wasn’t much to buy unless you love those hideous microfiber blankets that come in either floral or tiger print motifs, tea or umbrellas. I purchased tea and umbrellas as my hotel was already equipped with a magnolia themed microfiber blanket in brown, cream, pink and purple.
My bathroom sink. I have noticed I may be the tallest person in Darjeeling at the moment (6 feet) and bathroom fixtures are not designed for my gangly western frame. I am so stiff in the morning I can’t even bend over far enough to wash my face without splashing water all over the place!
Sunrise in Darjeeling. I think we are actually IN the clouds.
I definitely did not ask these people for permission to take their picture. Once I snapped this shot I quickly walked in the opposite direction. I fear confrontations with locals!
The architecture seems more Chinese and less Indian up here in the Himalayas.
Me in front of the valley and the mountains in the background. Should have brought a warmer jacket!