Am in Darjeeling right now. Just got myself settled after two days. The preamble to the trip there from Kathmandu was memorable. Just wrote a humongous rambling Facebook post about it to a friend of mine. If you like ramblings, read on:
I was getting more and more frustrated as that fateful last day in kmd went by. Already I missed the morning bus ’cause travel guy Nilam failed to notice the day before that the transport bandh was cancelled. I couldn’t get hold of him this day ’cause Nilam was at his own wedding. As this wedding had thwarted my attempts at fixing anything concrete all week long. Eventually I got hold of his employee Raj, who went to the bus-stop to check it out. He said that there was a bus leaving at three in the night and at four in the night. ‘Both at night?’ I asked. Yes at night. ‘Both?’. Yes. ‘Are you sure? Raati?’ Yes, yes. ‘So that’s one hour in between?’ Yes.
I swear to you, this is how the conversation went. So I opted for the night bus. At three. Talked to Jimi and he was gonna pick up the ticket ’cause he had to go to Nilams wedding which was a stone’s throw from the bus stop. Called Raj to tell him this, but Raj really wanted me there, also so I could talk to Nilam about the trip and about his uncle, who was gonna pick me up at the Nepalese border. On his wedding day; perfect time to talk shop. But hurry up! Only 20 minutes to go. For some reason this was important. So I called Jimi at the last minute, and he could pick me up. I went to the football field, got there and got a call from Jimi that he had to take someone else. And he was already late. I kinda lost it there. Got to my house and started pounding pillows and stuff made of concrete and did some throwing around the house of things that weren’t too breakable; even more annoyed at my foot for not letting me run this off. Had been actively at this trip for three days, and as of yet absolutely NOTHING was taken care of.
It was then I got the tingle from Jimi telling me my bus would leave in about 40 minutes and that I had 20 minutes to pack my bags. And I got this calm zen state over me that I always get when I’m under extreme pressure. I love that. That lasted for about 2 minutes. As my mind made a priority list of needed items, my passport quickly surfaced to the nr1 spot. I knew exactly where it was: under the cracked glass table, in the left-upper corner from where I usually sit. It was nowhere to be found. After a systematic search of the premises, I started an unsystematic search, and after that I randomly started to upheaval boxes, bedsheets, chairs, etc. After which I started throwing stuff around the apartment for no reason at all, accompanied by cries of desperation and anguish. After that I resumed the pillow, floor and wall pounding like before the call. 5, 10, 15 minutes had passed. 5 minutes to go. Still I hadn’t packed a thing, and still my passport was nowhere to be found. The stuff of nightmares and bad pulp-tv scripts. All rationality had left me. But then by accident, it flew loose from a bunch of documents and binders in my, by now totally disorganised, administration. Four minutes to go and nothing packed. Except my passport that is. 20 seconds later Jimi walked in. So we packed my stuff, quick-snap, and all went pretty smooth from there.
In the bus, underway it was a bit Jesus fucking cold since in the haste I didn’t pack anything warm in my hand-luggage. Held my pee for as long as I could, so my seat wouldn’t get stolen, which it did eventually. In a mere 19 hours I was at the border. No uncle was waiting for me. I wonder if there actually exists such an uncle. Then I discarded everything Nilam told me and went by my own compass. We both know that is not a smart thing for me to do, but miraculously I ended up in a very cosy and cheap Darjeeling hotel about eight hours later. 27 hours on the road, and a bit on the Jesus fucking tired side. I fell in with some fun backpackers straight away, and have been hanging around with them at night.
The day after I tried to get my stuff in order, and I noticed it is pretty hilly. Smart as I am I got a hotel on the top of a hill, so I’ve got a great view of the mist and I’m guaranteed to always march up and down it. Going down to get a sim-card. Going up to get my passport. Going down to get a sim-card. Going up to get a letter from my hostel that I’m living there… waiting for the owner to wake up. Planning to go down to get my sim-card. Going down to eat. And those hills are steep. Nice place for a Jogi-hash. Today I bought all I need for a month-long stay: wireless internet access, power-strip, soap, cutlery, etc.. Time to get some work done!
It’s a funny place here. It is basically little Nepal, but with the city on top of the hills for a change, in stead of in between. Strange with hardly any cars, just four-wheel drives. No bikes. No booze as well. No live music, no events. No fun. Or it would be the Christian festival on the big square close to my home. The rest is banned by the (somewhat forced in places) Ghorka independance movement; little Nepal. Last night we got rebellious and went hunting for booze. Turns out everyone sells booze under the counter. No fun at all.
In, what, two days there’s a four day strike against Ghorka-land not becoming a separate province, if I got it right. My buddies will try to flee before the lock-down, and I will be alone; little Nepal. Sniff!