Friday, May 4, 2012

From mountains to... chaos?

Our time in the mountains will come to end after one more bu-bu-bu-mpy jeep ride back to flat land.  It should be 4-5 hours, depending whether our driver decides to leave us crammed in the vehicle while he eats and smokes...  This is nothing compared to the 20 hours we've spent bouncing around inside a jeep the past three days.  Exploring northern Sikkim and God's teeth - the Himalayas - we struck upon a new personal high: most dangerous road traveled in a vehicle.  Landslides impeding our path every few kilometers, on occasion we had to stop to see if the stones bouncing and skipping down the slopes would accumulates into something more avalanche-ish, one time even having to throw the jeep madly into reverse, just in case.  If the threat of landslides wasn't enough, then the precipitous drops lurking just to the side of the jeep were more hair-raising.  Poking one's head out the window, only to look straight down hundreds, hundreds of yards/meters is unnerving to say the least...

Gangtok, Sikkim's capital, is an interesting, multi-ethnic place.  At the cross roads of India, Bhutan, Tibet, China, Nepal, and all the sub-groups between, walking the streets and sampling the culture is a variegated experience.  Momos to masala, the food's been great.  But we will say goodbye early tomorrow morning, catching a night train to Varanasi after that last jeep ride.  Forewarned of its colorful chaos, we'll survive Varanasi, or not... Stay tuned in to find out.

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