Back in Siliguri, flying to Kolkata tomorrow

21 Oct

Yesterday I went to the jeep stand in Kalimpong to see when share jeeps left for Siliguri, a two and a half hour ride.  The people running the stand told me to just come back on Sunday and that jeeps would be leaving every half hour.

We checked out of our hotel at 10:00 a.m. and went to the nearest Internet cafe to book our flight to Kolkata as there are no trains available because of the end of Durga Puja.  After booking our flight, we went to the jeep stand to find it closed.  Yes, closed.  In fact the whole transportation hub was a ghost town.  Our only option was to take the four hour mini bus to Siliguri. 

Now when I say mini-bus, I REALLY mean mini bus.  In fact the seats were so small that Astrid and I could not fit into them.  I got off the bus in a hurry and tried to purchase two more seats, I could only get one :(.  So here we are getting ready for a four hour bus trip Astrid in one set of seats and me crammed into a seat with the Indian version of Cheech Marin, (you know, from Cheech and Chong,) bushy mustache and all who is not giving up an inch of room.  My knees are hitting the seat in front of me and I can’t stretch my legs out beacuse there is a large metal bar that is preventing me from doing so.  Then, once the seats filled, people started standing in the aisles.  There were probably seats for 25 and there were another 25 standing in the aisle.  Old men, babies, women in saris, there might even have been a chicken, I’m not sure…

Anyway, arrived safely in Siliguri and we are going to go enjoy the festival to mark the end of Durga Puja where intricately painted idols are being dunked in the river. 

See you in Kolkata.

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