Darjeeling and Around

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Had a glorious weekend with comrade Tom, setting off from Darjeeling on a pair of rented motorcycles for a self-led two day tour through the foot hills of the Sikkim Himalayas. Spent two days navigating the steep, windy, often over-crowded, pot-hole littered – and many times far too small for two-way traffic – (despite the many trucks and buses) mountain roads. Fortunately Tom happens to be a filmmaker, GoPro vids soon to come!

Day 1: We’ve just left the shop after having a new footpeg welded onto Tom’s bike (the tour operator seemed to think we only needed 1!) and an old woman has decided to cross the road directly in front of Tom, causing the first wreckage of the day. 20 minutes later my bike is making popping noises, come to find a thick piece of metal (picture a giant paper clip) lodged in my tire. Fortunately, the tube wasn’t punctured. To end our day, made it 1/3rd as far as we had hoped after hours of backtracking, rereading maps and asking locals for directions!

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Day 2: Decided on an early start to make up for lost time. Even if we hauled ass beginning at 6am, getting to our destination point and then back to Darjeeling was going to be a stretch! Isn’t that what adventures are for? Made it up several mountain passes to find ourselves in the lovely town of Pelling. Ate lunch, took in the sights and headed back down the mountain towards Darjeeling. Ran into a bit of trouble at the border crossing, it seemed the border was closed! As it was, we had two hours of daylight left, and a two hour tour ahead of us. Even then we were cutting it close. The diversion suggested by the police would add an additional 3 hours to our journey. After attempted bribery, calling our tour operator, and completing our fair share of arguing, we were on our way along the diverted route. Hard-headed buggers! Made it back into Darjeeling around 8.30pm, making for a 14 hour day (plus some change). Nothing but smiles, terrific adventure. Only downside is the 100 quid Tom wound up paying for broken parts, I suppose that’ll teach him to not crash so much!

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Tour of Darjeeling, a walk to the Temple, Zoo, and market, then an evening spent reading and attempting to get over this damn cold. I suppose for the next motorcycle tour through the dark I’ll bring a real jacket to avoid catching cold!

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