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April 13th 2012
Published: June 12th 2012
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Chowrasta & Fountain in the morningChowrasta & Fountain in the morningChowrasta & Fountain in the morning

The dogs are worn out from barking all night!
The road from Sikkim to Darjeeling is very steep & winding. We leave Pelling on the Sikkim National Transport bus to Jorethang. There, we catch a share jeep to Darjeeling. Once we cross the border into West Bengal we climb steeply on an unpaved road. After we cross one high ridge we cross another river and begin another steep climb, this time on a paved road. Soon we are driving thru tea plantations, with the lady tea pluckers harvesting the "first flush" of the season. We keep climbing, thinking we will soon reach the top of this ridge, but we keep climbing and then we realize we are in Darjeeling. The motor stand where we get dropped off in very busy and crowded. After a few minutes to get oriented. we head off ,climbing on foot, for the chowrasta, a public space on top of the ridge. We get help from a friendly Nepali man and make it to the (New) Bellevue hotel. Here we get a very large room looking out on the Chowrasta.

Darjeeling, & the Bellevue Hotel, ends up being a very comfortable place to rest up and hang out. The Chowrasta, reminds me in ways of the plaza in Santa Fe. I think this is because like the Plaza in Santa Fe, it is a colonial urban pedestrian center in a beautiful setting. The place where we are staying is a very British feeling building, run by very friendly Tibetans. We like walking and people watching on the Chowrasta, getting good views of Khangchendzonga some mornings, going to the excellent Oxford bookstore, eating fruit & snacks from the food vendors. We visit some gompas, & meet some really sweet people. We end up staying 4 days in Darjeeling, & could stay longer, but we want to visit a few more places.

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