Siliguri Travel Blog

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This weekend everyone decided that it was time to get out of the hills and head to the heat of the planes for a little more hustle and bustle (and to try and get a tan!) Kate and I caught the bus from Thindaria straight down to Siliguri on Friday afternoon. After about an hours bus journey we were dropped off somewhere about 2km out of Siliguri and hopped on a Rickshaw to Hotel Chancellor. Nice hotel, run by a guy who’s brother is at Dali Gompa in Ghoom (James’ placement). Bit of a building site, but the rooms were clean and had fans – what more could you want!
We wandered about Siliguri, went on the internet, reveled in the liveliness of it all and tried to bear the heat. Also found a nice spot on the roof of the hotel to sit and gaze at stars which was incredible and so surreal! Fabienne managed to buy a violin for about 30pounds and we found many cool instruments to pretend to play and make horrid sounds with!
Kate found that she had conjunctivitis which wasn’t too cool, but managed to get some eye drops for rs.
150 from a walk in optician on the way to dinner! Luckily it seems to be clearing up and hopefully will be gone in 2 weeks. Not sure where she got it from – and we’re looking at all the children’s eyes to see if we can spot the source, but no luck as of yet.
Friday and Saturday evening were spent chatting and singing along to guitar played by Alex and Johns mate Sam (he’s doing some travelling with his mate Max after having spent 2months teaching football in Kerela).
We came back to Ghayabari on Sunday, the journey ended up taking about 3 hours because we got a flat tyre halfway through the journey and had to sit in sweltering heat for about an hour. But such things can only be expected when the roads are as bad as they are!
Eleanor and I managed to book our train tickets to Delhi (20th June), Mumbai (25th June), Varanasi (30th June) and Kolkata (8th July).
Not that we can read much of what’s written on the tickets! Managed to read the train numbers and found a website that lists all the stops and times of trains ( but how we’ll find our coach/seats is yet to be discovered! We got all our trains AC and on the days we wanted for about 80pounds. The only fly in the ointment is that we get into Mumbai at 4am!! Hopefully it’ll be ok – it’s a big city as opposed to a rural hill station and hopefully there will be things open or at least a taxi to take us to our hotel!! At any rate the guy who booked our tickets for us said that the train would probably be late anyway!
This week’s teaching has been good; we’re doing weather, season, time, wildlife and nature, so we’ve had plenty of topics to cover, especially with class 2 who we see 7 times a week! Regal has also been good, although I had to wait 2.
5hours for a vehicle to take me back to Ghayabari! Apparently a lot of drivers are refusing to drive due to a hike in the price of oil/petrol. Kate and I have decided that it’s not worth waiting for a bus so we’ve started walking the 6km back, which is a pleasant walk but very hot under the midday sun!
We had a slight annoyance this week when 2 of the mangos we bought from Siliguri went missing from the fridge. Mr and Mrs Thapa seemed to understand how annoying it was, given that we’d bought them because we don’t get enough fruit and veg here. However, nothing much has been done about it yet, but I’m sure it’ll be sorted out soon.
We had a ‘party’ on Monday evening for a boy called Punkaj who was 15. We sang happy birthday (with an extra verse about G-d blessing you) and had a 1cm2 piece of cake each and have a sweet. The girls then left the boys to ‘dance’ to some music. It was more like a mosh pit and a mess of arms and legs flailing towards everyone, but they seemed to enjoy it.
Kate and I have also been preparing party games as Jen and Katie are coming to visit this weekend. Although half the boarders are going home this weekend as Saturday (1st May) is a holiday! Hopefully enough kids will still be here to make it worthwhile!
This Friday was also the day a horridly disturbing event which plagued Kate as she walked back from Thindaria. It involves a wild dog, a young boy with mental disabilities and thing’s that no-one should be allowed to do.
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photo by: cmgervais