Tales of fellow travelers met in Darjeeling

October 20, 2010

While I was walking here I was already thinking on how I would start this blog post: “I’m sitting on the terrace of my hotel, drinking coffee and enjoying the view on the hills around Darjeeling”. Instead I’m sitting in the lounge with other travelers, from the window you can’t see absolutely nothing due to a thick fog, and they brought me tea instead of coffee.

Nevermind. Yesterday morning was very stressfull. All because I was trying to buy a train ticket to Kolkata. I started at 8 am at the train station (there is only one train that leaves from here, the Toy Train, working since 1881, the true train station is at 3 hours drive from here, or at 7 hours of Toy Train), where I was told there were no tickets available until October 21. I hoped to be able to leave yesterday or today at maximum, so I wanted to check internet, because sometimes the train stations can only sell a certain amount of tickets, and you can find more on the web. But the website was not working, so after an hour I went back to the station and I bought a ticket for the 21. Then I went back again because I forgot to buy the ticket to Kurseong, so I’ll try this famous toy train, and from Kurseong I can get on a jeep to the station of NJP. In the meantime I also stopped at the Post office because the packet that I had wrapped the previous day for some reason couldn’t be sent the same day, and I was asked to go back the next day between 9 and 9.30 am. They guy arrived at 10.30, “Sorry I’m late”. Yes, thank you. The office was open and 9, but there was nobody. The first clerk arrived at 9.15. The other emplyees between 9.30 and 10. Can’t really complain about how things work in Italy…

So, as an Australian girl (with a strange name that I can’t remember) made me realise yesterday, it’s interesting how the travelers days are busy when you have silly things to sort out, like buying a train ticket, go to the post office, get a visa.


Two nights ago, when I was trying to read, a 60 yo Indian man started to talk to me and didn’t stop for a few hours. He had some interesting stories to tell, but he was drank and after two hours he started to repeat the same stories and making the same questions. A former gurkha soldier, now retired; he says gurkha are renown for their respect towards their senior, for their obedience, honesty and for being good fighters. Every tribe has their own army. He his Hindu and his wife was Catholic. She died 11 years ago. He never forgave her the attachment to her family, that ruined her. She suicided for the dishonor of her brothers that couldn’t pay some debts they had. He has two daughters that he hasn’t seen for 5 years because they fled with two men. In his culture the fianc? should introduce himself to the father of the girl and ask for permission to see the daughter. There’s surely more that he won’t tell me, but surely he was sad. And it’s not surprising that he always carries with him a bottle of whiskey and one of gin (that he offered to me too).

The Australian girl, that has been in India for about one month, told me about the sexual obsessions of some Indian men. They always find a way to touch or brush against you, your butt and tits, even in an empty room. She was traveling in a train when the guy selling chai did some indecent gestures; one night she woke up and saw the man on the bunk opposite hers that was masturbating looking at her. It made me laugh, but it must be disgusting. Marco told me that they have some perversions, but I thought he was exagerating, as he got sick of this country. I was expecting long looks and brushes, but not like this. The Australian girl talked to an Indian girl, and she replied that with them it’s the same. But Indians can shout something in Hindi and put them in a difficult position, while if a foreign shouts in English few people would understand. Well, we shall see what I will witness.

Today I’ve decided to do absolutely nothing. I exchanged “The forgotten garden” with a novel by Irvine Welsh, “Filth”. I was curious, it’s the first novel I read by this author. But I don’t like it. First of all it’s written in the Edinburgh slang, that I don’t understand. Second, the descriptions are too strong, they make my stomach ache. I am going to exchange it again as soon as I find something better (the good thing about these backpackers places is that often they have small libraries where you can exchange books).

There’s a Belgian guy who bought a motorbike for 300 euro in Delhi. He’s driving around India with that. Then he’ll fly to China, where he’s buying another motorbike that he wants to drive to Europe. Apparently a foreigner can’t take a motorbike outside of India, so he has to go to China. It must be an amazing experience, to drive across all these countries.

Michelle, from South Africa, was also with us last night. I was fascinated by her way of talking. How she articulated. Like with Jay, the Dutch model, my attention was caught by the movement of her lips. She gave me the name of a yoga school that with a month course gives you the opportunity to teach yoga all over the world. At “only” 2,000 USD. Only? I was actually hoping to spend a fraction of that. No yoga school for me I’m afraid.

I’m getting into local habits. This is the forth day I’m wearing the same tshirt. Because I can’t wash my clothes, I’d rather not get them dirty (=not wash). I don’t think I’m stinking anyway. Or maybe I’m getting used to my smell. In a few days I’ll start blowing my nose in my scarf! Last night I dreamt I was home for two days and I realised I could use the washing machine. What a nice feeling…

This morning I took everyone to the small restaurant for some potatoes and fried bread.