greetings from gangtok! the commercial and something or other capital of sikkim. the views from here are pretty great, even if the clouds are still blocking the major himalayan peaks.
we arrived yesterday, promptly found some other travellers, and got drunk. today was a bit of shut up monastery and walking up steep hills and krrish, a movie you should see if you're anywhere near a theatre that's playing it. (ny kids, i'm looking at you here.)
the rain will not hold us back, we will trudge on through the mud. and the leeches. tomorrow we go up to some valley with some dudes and trek around. it sounds like a lot more driving and staying in hotels than trekkking, but if you could see the kind of rain that's coming down right now, you'd be OK with that, too. pray for clear skies.
i've finally realized that there is a minimum of three cups of chai a day, and this is if you refuse upwards of five offers of it. what's more, it's usually poffered by some adorable child who looks at you with gigantic brown eyes and a dazzling smile and has this cute metal basket that holds glasses that he or she is delightedly swinging back and forth in anticipation of bringing you a hot glass, and sweetly says "chai?" you've said "two please," before you even know what happened.
hey, HBO has commercials on it here. isn't that weird? i suppose that might be the least weird thing i've seen here, but i still get a kick out of it. i'm surprised at how many hotels have had tellys. even the bare bones place we stayed in siliguri had one. we do not have one here and it's a nice change of pace.
this town apparently has a city-wide wake up policy that requires some dude to roam the streets at some ungodly hour banging on a gong and yelling something in one of about four options of languages, a la "bring out your dead". who knows, maybe that's what he's saying.
gangtok is the source for "alpine gouda cheese". what else do you want from me?
chow mein is very popular here. i've enjoyed it myself. it is more like what is called lo mein in the states, but with thinner noodles. also popular here is chewing on red stuff and spewing a geyser of red saliva all over the place. these dudes are way into that.
a spring roll has nothing to do with anything you've ever seen before. it's basically a chow mein omlette. yep, that's what i said, and that's what i meant.
per usual, it is loud, chaotic, confusing and beautiful. and the water is rather unreliable.