Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Himalayan Holiday - Jorepokhri

For reasons unknown John is keen for us to leave Rimbick as soon as possible. We have our breakfast on the lawn, pack up and leave. My trusty bamboo stick that has aided my ascent and descent is left leaning against our room door. We then climb into the waiting jeep and head off on the twisty roads to Jorepokhri. We pass some keen Western mountain bikers who have legs that appear more than adequate for these hills. At one point we stop to donate our spare tire to a stranded jeep. I assume that their is honour amongst drivers, and the tire will be returned at some point in the future.

Jorepokhri is one of those Indian tourist resorts that cater to the local population. They aren't really my thing. The centrepiece is a slightly worn, concrete, multi-headed cobra sitting in a lake of honking geese. Apparently there are splendid views of Kanchenjunga, but once more we see nothing but cloud. We have to wait for room service to prepare out room, so the mystery as to why we were in such a hurry to leave Rimbick deepens. On the positive side, the room is enormous. We have a very large bedroom and an adjoining lounge to ourselves. The room service is also excellent, and we are well looked after at meal times.

With not much else to do in the gloom we worry about our bags which we left in the Viceroy in Darjeeling before our trek. We are also running short on cash; I should have taken more before leaving our last ATM in Darjeeling. John walks down with me to the nearby Jorepokhri town. It is only a couple of kilometres away, but my legs are aching from yesterdays downhill section. Just before the town we pass a group of monkeys that are eating carrots that a benefactor has provided. Once in the town we wait in a taxi. It will not depart until sufficient passengers have crammed in. After about twenty minutes our driver is happy, and heads off towards Darjeeling. We leave the vehicle at Ghum, and I get some money from an ATM. John establishes mobile contact with our agent Paras, who is on his way to Jorepokhri with our luggage.

John and I return in another taxi. This one isn't shares, so we leave immediately. We are greeted by Paras at Jorepokhri. He tells me that I shouldn't have gone to Ghum, he would have lent me some cash. He is disappointed that we are not so fond of the resort. I suspect if the weather had been better, and we could see the mountains, I would have had a better opinion. Ever thoughtful he asks if I want anything to drink. On hearing that I have sampled various local concoctions he knows what to do. Paras and John head out, and return with two bottles of caramel coloured gloopy liquid. This time it is made from wheat. It tastes alright, and is not at all strong.


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