Welcome to Darjeeling. Now please get out of here!

Siliguri Travel Blog

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Smooth check in at Cindrella Hotel.
We find ourselves in Siliguri after an impromptu drive from Darjeeling. Due to a hastily called strike and very little notice, there was a MASS EXODUS of tourists from Darjeeling. People were stacked in and on top of buses, getting out whatever way they could. Anyone who doesn’t get out tonight might be trapped without a ride at all!

We ended up with the same driver we had had all day, in a Toyota SUV. We were so comfortable by comparison to the other vehicles we saw, it made me feel guilty. People were trying to wave us down for a ride (there were many people on the side of the road with their luggage. To add to the drama, it was pouring rain), but it was clear our driver was stopping for no one.
We are lucky to have it.
Then he got a call, and drove noticeably faster. Soon we stopped at an area with several stores, and people with luggage…he turned around and said, “my friend…can he ride?” We felt so happy to help even one person, and this guy ( a tour guide in Siliguri) ended up being a great companion for our ride. His English was excellent, and he was very well versed in the political situation, so he filled us in on everything. The town of Darjeeling is on strike indefinitely, which will hurt the local residents greatly, since Darjeeling is a huge tourist destination. The idea is that the government will finally take notice, since there will be a huge tax loss. Residents have also been told to stock up on food for the long haul, as the stores will be closed indefinitely. Seems like the citizens of Darjeeling will be making a huge sacrifice for statehood, and I am really interested to see how this all plays out.

In the meantime, here we are in Siliguri, at the Cindrella Hotel. We are lucky to have the room, since many have been turned away. But one note: when someone from India tells you that a hotel is “very, very nice,” be very skeptical! “Very, very nice” seems to translate roughly to “like at Motel 6 in the states.”

Tomorrow, we have a short drive to the airport. We will go early since it’s bound to be mayhem. Then we are off to Delhi, then onward to Agra. It will be a long travel day!  

cmgervais says:
Hey stranger - you are back! Nice to hear from you, hope all is well on Team Yellow.
Posted on: Jun 25, 2008
abuglio says:
Wow, I am glad to be catching up on the blog and hear all this drama! Wow!
Posted on: Jun 25, 2008
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Smooth check in at Cindrella Hotel.
Smooth check in at Cindrella Hotel.
We are lucky to have it.
We are lucky to have it.
Siliguri
photo by: cmgervais