08.05.2007 0 °F
cool, crisp mountain air. a respite so fulfilling after weeks of baking in 40C heat that i nearly forget that glorious feeling of the first sweat of the day. though, those bad dreams of sticky, sweaty heat still linger in my mind.
darjeeling was the first stop on my himalayan tour, not too memorable a place given the fog which blanketed the town for the duration of my stay. its famous tea did not delight, but the combination of beer and the world cup of cricket was pleasant.
making my way north, i entered into sikkim, which is technically part of india, though should be its own country if my questionnaire was valid. it consisted of the following:
Q: where is your family from? usual answer: "nepal" or "tibet"
Q: do you like india? why or why not? usual answer: smirk, head shake and an audible "no, india bad country"
if my efforts were indeed objective and thorough, and i obviously think they were, then "democracy" is failing once again. the virgin territory in the far north of this Buddhist area is still heavily protected, but the southern half of sikkim, the area which i visited, is prone to indian and western tourists tossing trash anywhere but the proper receptacle. despite much effort from the sikkim tourist office, the number of tourists is still relatively low so the rubbish issue hasn't gone too far, yet.
on the flip side, the views of the snow-capped himalayas, which form part of the border with nepal, are absolutely breathtaking. the first morning i awoke for sunset i was greeted with more clouds, but later, during a spectacular jeep ride, i was able to see the white crystals in the distance. a bit of a tease, but still grand. after a few days mulling around sikkim's capital, gangkok, i spent a few hours (20) on various different buses and arrived in kathmandu. the city is full of friendly people, hindus and buddhists alike, some monkeys, and heaps of japanese restaurants. i still can't bring myself to order sushi outside of the motherland, nihon. more trekking stories will follow in the coming weeks, in addition to (hopefully) more photos depending on the internet connections in the mighty kingdom (people's republic) of nepal.