02 June 2013

8 Days on the Road from Darjeeling to Bhutan. With a Preschooler.

On Saturday night we returned from quite a road trip. Mike, Muffin and I flew to Bagdogra last Friday. From there we drove several hours to Darjeeling. A few days later we then drove to the Bhutan border and spent several days driving through Bhutan. Then we flew home.

Muffin is probably the best-behaved almost-three-year-old kid you could possibly ask to take on a road trip with you. That doesn't mean the trip will be easy; it means we are insane for even thinking about attempting it.

And maybe since we are insane, we had a mostly wonderful time when we relaxed and enjoyed the scenery.

Day One
We arrived in Bagdogra and I'd asked the hotel to send a private taxi. While it's easy to hire a share-taxi and the "thing to do" if you are super-cool is to take the train, when traveling with Muffin we've found it's better to just have a car waiting for us. We don't need the adventure of trying to hitch a ride up the mountain.

We are used to driving in India so the honking and the near-death experiences around corners don't really phase us anymore. I noted that more corners than usual had guardrails along them, which actually made me nervous thinking that there had been enough accidents to warrant them and people still weren't slowing down and being cautious.

I lost track of the time, but the drive took several hours. I surprisingly did not get car sick. Once we left the flat plains around the airport we could open the windows for cool, fresh(-ish) air.

We stopped a few times on the way up:

Putting on a sweatshirt 'cause it's so chilly.
We were booked at the Dekeling Resort. The driver dropped us off at Dekeling Hotel, but I didn't know it was the wrong place at the time. There was a huge walk up the side of the mountain. An ancient little man came up to the car, strapped a belt around his head, and piled all of our luggage onto his back, then started climbing the stairs. So we followed. Up about a zillion stairs. I handed over my reservation to the front desk. The guy furrowed his brow and made a phone call and told us we were at the wrong Dekeling. He had the driver's phone number and called him to come back and get us. Some other porters carried our suitcases back down all the stairs and we got back into the car.

I was so relieved when we arrived at our actual hotel. The first Dekeling we stopped at is in the middle of town, where it'ss convenient to walk around but surrounded by cars, honking, exhaust, people, dogs, and dirty city stuff. The second Dekeling is in a location known as Hawk's Nest, which is quite a little ways out and up. Clean, fresh air. No barking dogs. No honking horns. We settled in right away.

Well, we settled in nicely for a few minutes. It turns out that Dekeling Resort doesn't have a restaurant. If you want dinner there you have to place an order at breakfast time for the restaurant at Dekeling Hotel and they'll deliver it. Also, guest registration is at the Dekeling Hotel so we needed to go back there and register with our passports. 

It's about a ten-minute walk down the mountain from the resort to the hotel. The restaurant at the hotel smelled so good that we decided to go there for dinner and do our registration. It was nice to walk after the airplanes and cars all day. Some of the roads were quiet enough for Muffin to walk rather than be carried.

It was too early for the full dinner menu, which no one told us until we'd looked at the full menu and decided on dinner items that we wanted. We perused again and decided on some South Indian snack fare. We actually had some good dosas. 

While I lingered over my dosa and hot chocolate Mike and Muffin went up to the office to register. But Mike only had my passport; he'd forgotten his own. 

So on Day Two another trip to Dekeling Hotel would be in order.

We decided to walk back up the hill to Dekeling Resort rather than get back into another car. It was a long walk, especially for Mike carrying Muffin on his shoulders. But it certainly helped to tire us out for a good night's sleep.

Day Two, Coming Soon.

1 comment:

Vikash Kumar said...

Muffin is very cute and you gave a nice description