Sikkim Part 2

            Today was quite an interesting day. There was sun! It was the first morning that there was blue skies since I’ve been here. I jumped out of bed, and tried to put the shower on. The blanket smelled a little like wet dog, and it was fine for sleeping in, but a shower was a must in the morning. I did all that I could to find the hot water. It’s been cold, super cold, as in I sleep with my jacket and hat on even under the blankets. To no avail, the water turned a little warmer than freezing, I dived in, showered and as I opened the door a man from the hotel was outside my room flicking on a switch. He tells me, “hot water,” and I show him my wet hair, smile, and run to the sun. I hadn’t heard from Karan, my new local friend so I decided, to hell with it, and got a ticket to a bus to Pelling. One friend said I’d hate it, another one said it’s pretty. As of now, it was the only place I knew I didn’t really need a permit to go anywhere. The jeep was leaving at 12: 30, so I went back to my new café and sat down for breakfast. On the way there I met the guy from the Tibetan restaurant. We shook hands, I told him I was leaving, and he said happy travels. It was really nice.

            At the new café, the owner recognized me, the guy who I spoke with the day before walks in with a big hickey on his neck and smiles at me. We have a couple good laughs. He speaks in Hindi faster than I speak in English. I couldn’t understand much of what he was saying, like the night before, but high fives and laugher persisted.

            Between writing and drawing, I took in a bit more of Sikkim. Everything is cleaner here. There was even a man who rinsed of the dust bins. There are dust bins in the first place!

            After a yummy muffin and cappuccino, I walked up to the highest nearest point I could to take in the rest of the view. It was awesome. Not wanting to risk missing my bus, I went back to the hotel, got my bags, and went to the bus stop. I ended up next to Vladimir, a Russian guy who has been traveling for the past seven years. This is his fifth time in India. It was nice to have a travel buddy for the ride. The friend of the girl sitting next to me (who stayed in Gangtok) studied in Pune for a few years. Small world. The ride to Pelling was long, longer than I think it should have been, but it was definitely beautiful. Vladimir had ripped out pages of a Lonely Planet so we kept looking on that to see where we were. The drive was hot when we finally descended a mountain, and then cold once we got back up. The roads were either great or absolutely horrible.

When we got here, finding the cheapest place from the guide book, we plopped in and met Liam, a guy from New Zealand who is traveling around for a while. He’s into Buddhism and will go spend some time in Dharamshala and study Buddhism. He also did vispassana there.

 

            On traveling alone:

            A beginner alone traveler must always remember to keep his/her sanity when things don’t work out. I write this for myself. Two days ago I thought of just booking a flight to go back home. Who wants to spend their last few days alone anyway right? I got past that moment and it came again this morning. I need to be here, and I need to challenge my comfort level. Everyone should do that really. You have to accept the reality in which your living. The other option would be to be miserable, and that would just be stupid.

 

            Planning has been most difficult. I have no one to bounce off ideas – this does not count the numerous amounts of harassing messages and phone calls to Manoj who only allows me to speak and does not provide his full opinion (rightly as he should because then it wouldn’t be my trip). He lets me vent and tell my ideas. Thanks! Every decision is my responsibility. Every plan I make changes a million times. This prevented me from doing anything in Gangtok. It’s frustrating, but a part of the journey. It’s good for me I think. Can’t be bad.

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