10th - 23rd May

Darjeeling Travel Blog

 › entry 14 of 26 › view all entries

Monday 10th May – Friday 21st May


Been a little under the weather this week, everyone seems to have a fever and a cough of some description, but hopefully bananas will cure all!

Managed to finally get the paints for our mural, so will get started on it next week which will be ace, since we’ve been waiting AGES for it all to come together lol.

This weekend (15th May) there was a Gurkaland strike all across the hill area (Kurseong, Kalimpong and Darjeeling) but I wasn’t told about it until I was well on my way to Darjeeling to see people and get my permit for Sikkim. It was ok though as we all stocked up on food on the Friday and booked into a hotel for the weekend. Didn’t manage to get my permit for Sikkim because apparently the magistrate’s office is on a indeffinate strike, so I will have to go to Gangtok via Rangpo rather than straight to Pelling, but heyho!

Darjeeling was super quiet, no cars honking or people rushing about, was really nice. We found a nice park near the Red Cross building in Darjeeling and spent the day sun bathing and running about with random kids – was super fun, if a little sun burny! We met an American traveler on Friday called Scott who’d been volunteering with an NGO in Rajasthan for 2 months before traveling around India, he was interesting but seemed rather lost.* Food wasn’t that scarce as we managed to sneak into a few places through the back doors! On Sunday we watch the 20twenty world cup final (We won!!) with an Aussie, a French dude, a guy called Oscar from Sweden and a British guy called Hanesh. They were cool enough, and we spent the evening in Silver Cascade all chatting and jamming – was a little boring at times, but maybe I was just tired!

Was also Rachel’s birthday weekend and we met her parents and had cake from the Cake Lady – YUMMY! Rachel was kind of ill though, which wasn’t so cool, and because her parents were about we didn’t see all that much of her, but she had a BATH at the Mayfair (JEALOUS) and a nice birthday dinner with the Takdah crew =)


Monday 17th Onwards


Kate white washed the wall of the really dingy corridor in the upstairs part of the school whilst I was in Darj this weekend, and we’ve decided that we’re going to make a mural of all the children’s hands going across it, so it’s their art as much as it is ours. Across the top we’ve painted “B.D.E.B.S. 2010, hands of the future…who will yours help?” and it’s looking really cool and all the kids have been super into it, all pointing out their hands as they go past. Was great fun for Kate and I also, slopping paint on kids hands and lifting the little ones up so that they could get a really high print! Have also sketched out our “this little light of mine” mural on the wall in class 8. Made me realize how much I miss doing art and getting into creating something from a blank canvas!

Monday was also the day of the Spell Bee competition at school that we only found about at lunch time and were then expected to be the question posers!! Each house (red, yellow, green and blue) put forward 2 teams (4 kids from class 1/2 and 4 kids from class 3/4) and we had to call outs words from a list of 50 and they had to stand up in front of everyone and spell them out. It was quite good fun, but utterly unorganized and no one quite knew the rules or how/why points were awarded!!

We’ve had loads of power cuts this week, often daily and lasting for hours. We this it’s a knock on effect from cyclone Laila that’s hit Bengal recently and has been causing many storms and big gusts of wind. One of the roofs of a house next to the school was whipped clean away by a big gust!! It has however meant that the weather has been much cooler that last week, which is really nice. We’ve also finally finished framing al the photos of the children at Regal academy and will hopefully get them up on the wall next week! Should look cool =)

Wednesday was results day for all the former class 10 students who took the ICIS exams last December. Blue Diamond has 3 students who got firsts and 2 students who got seconds, so we had a special assembly on Thursday to celebrate and they came back to give the current students some wise words and encouragement. After it was announced that Friday and Saturday would be a holiday in their honor, bizarre that they celebrate the educational achievement of some by stopping others from learning, but heyho! After the assembly the teachers had a small party, which basically consisted of nibbles, chats and the female teachers sitting together in silence and then leaving! There was talk of how a boarder had been seen smoking by a neighbor and a complaint had been made, and Alpen (the teacher who we live with) and the Principle managed to get quite drunk of a tiny amount of alcohol (2bottles of whiskey and 3beers between about 14 of us!) in a stupidly short amount of time! They all started dancing about like loonies, falling over, and Alpen even asked Kate to dance! We have some priceless videos and pictures, and they are definitely going online asap. By 5 Mr Thapa took them home to Thindharia, and Kate and I were left in fits of hysterics and nearly wetting ourselves!

Friday we left early for Kalimpong. Rode on the back of a truck with bricks in it to Kurseong (the driver refused payment woo) it was AWESOME!! Bobbing along through all the mist and fog, waving and having chats with everyone who went by. We then booked our taxi to Kalimpong (1pm) and went to find some tinternet. However, after about 20mins we were told we had to leave because all the shops were shutting because of Gurkaland! So we were left with 3hours to kill and nothing to do – we ended up sitting down and reading which was pleasant. We later found out that it was due to a Gurka party leader had been stabbed to death at 9.30am in Darjeeling by a masked gang! Apparently there were riots in Darj and it’s been closed to tourists! Pretty scary stuff, and no-ones quite sure what affect it’ll have on the 3 hill areas (Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong). They’re also threatening a 10day strike from the 10th June, which would be majorly inconvenient for all of us as we need to all be in Siliguri for around the 18th to get on with our travels, guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens!

Eventually we got to Kalimpong, met up with Rach, Efl, Fab and Cas and headed to Pedong to see Ed, Jon, Olivia, Martha and Ed’s mate Kez (who I know through Ruth bizarrely enough!!) Also got a call from Clara which was super cool and awesome. We spent the evening jamming and sleeping and being squashed (4beds and 9people!!)


Saturday 22nd May 23, 2010


Went “white” (brown) water rafting today for Rs 500 (like 7pounds) down the river Tista (despite the fact that 3people died on Friday doing it!!) which was AWESOME fun. Took us all a while to get our shit together (as usual) but it all worked out in the end! We had some pretty big rapids, drank loads of water, saw some beautiful views (Tista divides Kalimpong and Sikkim!) and got somewhat burnt! I’m anticipating many peeling arms and freckly faces =) Had momo’s in a cute little local café and sipped chai while chatting in the sun =) has been beautiful weather! Did some shopping (got some AWESOME flip flops lol and found Irn Bru!) we found a little hotel, which after a lot of persuading and nepali/English confusion we managed to get a room for 10 of us for Rs1000 (rs 100 each…but only 4beds!!) so have another very squished night, but it’s all good, we’ve all become rather accustomed to being squashed and sleeping very close to other people/sharing covers/having feet in your face for most of the night!


Sunday 23rd May


Didn’t manage to get to go paragliding today =( because the cloud base is too low and the take off site is covered in cloud, but had a nice chat with the Swedish guy who runs it about strikes and Gurkaland, and hay it’s a nice day in Kalimpong will just jam and enjoy it =) and….I still have the rs 2150 I would have spent on it – so probably a good thing it didn’t happen since I’m rapidly running out of money!!



Well, no idea what’s going on with it! Elf’s aunt said it’s a no go – and so do STA atm, but if STA say it’s ok to go I’m going to go – will be too expensive to change our flights and shiz. Kew is off there in a few days anywho, so it can’t be that bad! Will be an adventure, so long as we can get out!! Have emailed STA to talk about other possibilities, maybe Cambodia or Malaysia…who knows we will see eh! LA!!!


Books for Regal

So mum has said that Grasmere have some books that they need to get rid of and suggested that she sends them our to Regal Academy (the less well off of the 2 schools we teach at) but I’m caught in two minds as to whether it’s worth it. The few books they do have have been wrecked in the space of about 2 weeks by the children. The teachers also don’t seem to care and don’t encourage the kids to respect the books at all so they’re all ripped and crumpled and will be unreadable in about a month or so! So do I send the books on the basis that they’ll get some use, even if they are ripped up within 2 weeks, or do I not bother and send them to people who’ll respect them, or do I suggest that Grasmere just sell them at a jumble sale and use the money to go towards their own funds/betterment?


* Travelers  

Travelers are interesting and it’s really nice to meet new people and hear what they’ve done and how they’ve found India. But it’s often a little bit disheartening as many of them just seem to be out to get drunk and buy cheap weed, which is readily available throughout India. Many of them also seem a little lost and confused, perhaps from too many late nights partying and not enough focus in their minds as to what they’re doing and why, especially if they’re just traveling and not working/volunteering. Maybe this opinion will change, but at present I often find them a little tiring and repetitive, maybe that’s just the travelers that end up in Darj =) Well excited to be proven wrong when I travel more!

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
photo by: philippe84