15.12.2018 - 15.12.2018
Today is my last day in Sikkim. What a place this is. Staggering steep hills everywhere (some up to 13000 feet high). It makes amazing scenery but very uncomfortable to get from place to place in shared jeeps
- these jeeps somehow cram in 10 passengers. They only leave for the destination town when they are full. This usually doesn't take more than half an hour of waiting. You then hang on for dear life as the driver throws the jeep round endless hairpin bends as you go up and down incredibly steep gradients. Obviously the road surface is absolutely terrible, or non existent. If you are unlucky to be in the back row of 3 in the jeep then you bounce all over the place, frequently banging your head on the ceiling and feeling a little queezy! luggage hours on the roof rack and is Not tied down! Good knows how my rucksack hasn't taken off over the cliff yet! On the plus side, a 5 hour jeep ride may only cost £2.50... But that may only be 75 miles!
Sorry for the ramble.....
After the trek I headed to the lovely town of Pelling. I had a great hotel with stunning views of the mountains. I stayed 2 days.
Whilst there I went to visit a "bird park"... Well there were 2 or 3 pigeons and a couple of dead parrots nailed to a perch!
The temple was lovely though.
I then jeeped over to Gangtok for a night before Jeeping to Mangan, the furthest town north that I can travel to independently in Sikkim - any further north is very close to the Chinese border. Again some stunning views of Kangchenjunga.
There is also a photo showing how the monsoon destroys the road every year (all over this part of the world)
Every where I go the people are so friendly here eg at a viewpoint cafe whilst taking photos the owners family of 5 came out to talk to me, then offered me tea, a local homemade alcoholic drink made from fermented millet (tongba), then supplied me with a bowl of spicy noodles. All the time they were chatting and smiling .. and then refused any money from me. Everywhere I go I'm asked for selfies and people come over and say hello with big smiles on their face... Obviously I just tell them all to bugger off (joke - just checking you're still awake).
I then spent a day taking 2 jeeps to get to my current town of Namchi - hell of a journey. I then couldn't find a bloody hotel that was any good and affordable. I was shown absolute hovels with no running water and they wanted huge prices. As it was getting dark I got to a homestay marked on the map from the internet... It turned out to be a bleedin church! The Pasteur invited me in, made me tea, introduced me to his family, then phoned up a friend who owned a town centre hotel and arranged me to stay there for half price. It's amazing how things usually work out ok in the end.
Today I've visited a Buddhist temple (a 2 hour uphill walk to get there)
And a Hindu temple... Another 2 hour walk up another great big hill !
The whole time today I could see the mountains (Kangchenjunga range - from yet another angle) sticking out above the clouds, you may have to zoom in
Tomorrow I'm going to catch a shared jeep (joy!) to kalimpong (near ish to Darjeeling) - just below Sikkim.
I'm still not sure where I will be for Christmas, but will blog again before then.
Happy Christmas shopping Ho Ho Ho