Right well i know i am currently about 5 months behind with this blog but with a new year bring totally unfounded optimism that i will be dedicated and keep it totally up to date so here goes.
I have now finally reached India country number 23 (i think!) of the trip so far, a few months later than originally anticipated but Nepal was just so incredible i didn't feel any need to leave. so after a great deal of queuing at the India embassy in Kathmandu and stops at Lumbini (the birth place of lord Budda) and Janakpur (the birthplace of a lot of dirty street children and also allegedly the marriage site of one of Shivas incarnations ) i finally crossed the border in the far east of Nepal and entered india and West Bengal. as with most border crossings the border town of Kakarbhitta was very uneventful and looked more like one big bus stop but for all my moaning the border its self was quick and easy (nothing like the 14 hours to cross between Russia and Mongolia). After a brief stop at the first town over the border called Siliguri i caught a jeep bound for Darjeeling. i also experienced my first rain since the end of the monsoon in Nepal back in September, so as i arrived in Darjeeling a town know the world over for its incredible mountain backdrop with the centrepeace being Khangchenzonga the third highest mountain in the world (8598m) straddling the Nepal - India border the visibility was about 50m (no mountains for me!)
it was with much sadness that once i had found a hotel the first bit of news i heard was the death of sir Edmond Hillary, in all my treks in Nepal but specifically around everest you can't move for pictures of sir Edmond many of which are taken at the various schools and other important institutions he has opened in and around the everest region he had opened 47 schools in the region and i saw more than 1 picture in which he was referred to as the king of the sherpa people and even the second Dali Lama (or should that be the 15th) what made the news even more meaningful was that Darjeeling was the home of Tenzing Norgay (Hillarys co climber on the first everest assent) and the site of his grave is on the edge of town within the Himalayan institute.
I have spent the last week visiting sites in and around Darjeeling visiting many buddhist Gompas, drinking far too much Darjeeling tea as well as taking in some amazing views such as watching the sun rise over the Himalaya from tiger hill, the weather has improved a bit since my first day although most of the days have been cloudy i think it just means that when the clouds do clear the views just take your breath away even more than if you got to see everything all day.
well tomorrow i leave for Sikkim after getting my permit for the region so with a bit of luck and my new found optimism you will be reading about my adventures over the next few days. but for know over and out