Once again, thank you for your emails and prayers! We arrived in Darjeeling yesterday after an 8 hour train ride followed by a three hour jeep ride with 10 other people. The Calcutta train station was pretty interesting. When Kim and I arrived, we didn't have a clue what to do and the only thing we had heard was that people like to steal your things if you aren't extremely vigilant. So Kim and I had our backs to the wall with our suitcases in front of us and tickets in hand trying to figure everything out. Pretty soon a crowd of people stated to gather around us because we looked confused and maybe easy to steal from. A couple of guys were taking several pictures of us and did not seem to be ashmed that we obviously noticed. Then a crazy/drunk woman came up to us and was yelling something that made no sense at all. Finally we thought she was telling us that we werent' at the airport. As the crowd around us grew to about 30 people, we decided to walk around to try to find our train. When we finally found our platform, train, and cabin, we felt a lot better. The man in the same cabin as us was also very nice. He talked to us a lot and explained what was going on and how the beds and luggage storage worked. Eventually, Kim and I fell asleep, despite the cabin being very full and having little roaches all over. (You would have been proud of us!)
The next morning when we arrived at NJP station (at the bottom of the mountain that Darjeeling is on) and got in a jeep with 10 other people for our three hour ride up the mountain. I was remembering my 1999 trip to Ecuador as I struggled not to vomit the whole way. The jeep was driving as fast as he could, cutting in front of cars, not slowing down for curves, and honking all of the way. There was also a smell typical of India that filled the jeep, mixed with cigarette smoke and piles of trash that we passed. At one point I really thought I was going to vomit, but Kim helped me through it with a little lamaze breathing and distraction technique.
When we got to the hotel, I started to get flu-sick. After lunch we tried to go on a walk, but I cut it short and went back to the hotel to sleep. My temperature got up to 101 F, but by morning I was feeling much better. So we went shopping. The prices were pretty good compared to Calcutta, so we got a few things that we had been reluctant to buy there because of price.
After shopping, we decided to hike into a residential neighborhood. We probably walked a mile downhill trying to find a tea garded that someone had told us about until someone told us that it was about 2km more so we decided to turn around (it was much harder on the way back up)! Back at the hotel, we went up on the hotel's roof, which was really neat. They have a viewing platform up there where you can see the Himalayan mountains for almost 360 degrees! The only problem is we are here at the wrong time of year, so everythign is really cloudy and we can only see about 1 or 2 mountains away. So please pray that one day we'll get to see the beautiful view!
So thank you again everyone for your emails and prayers! I really appreciate all of you and hope you're having a wonderful day!
God bless you all!
Love and prayers,