Monday, March 16, 2009

Darjeeling is the Humboldt of India

Hi from Darjeeling. It's pretty different here from the rest of India. In fact, i feel like I'm in a different country. First of all, the faces are more Nepali and Tibetan than Indian-looking. That's good for me because i feel like i fit in more. The climate is cooler- you could say freezing cold at night if you've been sitting still for a while. It's a welcome relief from the scorching, sweaty heat of the south.
The picture above is a temple on the top of the hill near Central Darjeeling. I wandered up there and there were millions of prayer flags all over and a lot of small shrines.

Today i visited the Happy Valley Tea Estate. This is tea. It doesn't look how you'd think, huh? I took a lame tour (lame because the factory was empty- it's the start of the season but nothings happening yet). It was explained to me that the tea gets picked and dried and rolled and dried and some other stuff. It wasn't that interesting for me; I only went because my friend Cassie is really into tea and I thought I could learn something and tell her about it. Sorry Caxie!
But the tea plantation is really pretty, isn't it?
Here are two photos of the toy train. The toy train is really cool because it's very very old and when it was built it cut the travel time to Darjeeling from one week to one day. Of course nowadays we have jeeps and buses so the train is the long way to go (7 hours vs. 3 in a bus) but being enamored by old-timey things, I had to take the toy train.
It's called a toy train because it's really small compared to normal trains. It's on a narrow guage rail and when it pulled up in the station it really looked like a toy. It moves about as fast as Lance Armstrong going uphill, and some of the turns are too tight so they make a path like a "Z"- which means they have to go backwards in some spots. You can see in the pictures how it crosses the road. The tracks were there before the road, and the cars just wait when they here the train horn.

Today after the tea estate I went to the Darjeeling Zoo, which was kind of depressing when it came to the leopards and tigers, but here is the red panda, which is adorable! Just look at that face! It's also called a cat bear because it looks like a cross between the two. This one was pigeon toed when it walked across that branch and it made my heart feel like it was going to burst with the cuteness.
Oh! I almost forgot- Darjeeling is the Humboldt of India because there are all these trees here that look a lot like Redwoods, though they are not. I got up close and inspected. It's also really quiet here (relatively speaking) and there is more fresh air than exhaust fumes.
Well that's about it. I have all day tomorrow in Darjeeling, then i head down the hill and cross over to Nepal. More on that later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

jenny! me and aye looked at your darjeeling photos and were very happy! aye also really liked your calcutta taxi video. where to next?
-lisa and aye

Cities I've Visited