03
Mar
12

Sikkim part2

In Ravangla I woke up in a chilly morning as the place was covered with clouds and the air was filled with moisture. Progress at the beginning was fast, all way down passing numerous villages, from the turnoff to Tashiding it was more downhill till a bridge crosses the river in that cramped valley. The treasured ascent from the day before was destroyed in less than 2 hours only to discover that the last 13km to Tashiding was all uphill again. The dogs were quiet aggressive in this area, many attacks which were defended due to the fast speed down the hill, but one bastard chased me for more than one kilometer till he finally recognized that I am to fast for him and gave up. And sudden the ascent started again some schoolchildren appeared and had their fun with me while they tear and pull at everything that dangled on my bike which made me quiet furious but that didn´t help at all only to give them cheeky rascals loud laughter at me. The climb went incredible steep, somehow it reminded to Laos, where the ascents were also long and steep and the descents short and fast (but at least here in Sikkim they know switchbacks which are in Laos almost unknown). The road followed forests releasing a sweet smell of the flora and the lovely songs of birds could be heard too. This must be a paradise for botanist and bird watchers, but I am neither of that two so I concentrated on that piece of tarmac in front of my nose and enjoyed the scenery around me. The villages along the way got more and more rugged and still had to deal with the dogs which seemed to take their task to defend their territory very seriously but shouts and stones are working well to keep them in distance. I arrived in Tashiding early around noon, found a cheap room in a very basic nice and cozy guesthouse and called it a day, being lazy for the rest of the day. Tashiding is home to the oldest monastery in Sikkim, but even to visit this place I felt to exhausted to climb up the mountain were it is placed. While I was sitting downstairs at my guesthouse, smoked a Bidi (Indian kind of cigarette rolled in some sort of leaf) one guy stepped out of that restaurant which also operated as a bar as he was obviously drunk for ten and walked like being on a ship in a storm. As he stepped down on the road he couldn´t keep his balance turned around 360degrees feel down and hit his head loudly on the floor. It seemed he is used to things like that and he was gone faster than I could react to help him. Poor guy, sure he wont remember which caused his headache (hope he will give the booze the blame and thinks about his drinking habit). Full drunk people sadly are common in Sikkim, it has one of the highest rate of alcoholism in all of India, as they have loose restrictions about selling whiskey and beer. Late at night rain started again and I hoped for a bright and sunny day. But one cannot be lucky at all of the time and in the morning it was still pouring dogs and cats. Thought about a rest day but went on after breakfast while the rain got less. The road climbed up for the first km and my mind was preparing for another hard day but it came out that this day I enjoyed much despite the limited view through the fog and deep hanging clouds. I felt very cold especially during the downhill parts additional I felt I´m getting a common cold which worried me a little bit. I bypassed Yuksom and wanted to go to Khecheoparli Lake straight. There were many signs leading up to that holy lake but only on trekking routes which are not suitable for bicycles. After a while I thought I missed the turn off up to the lake but suddenly it appeared and a long 10km ascent with some more brutal steep sections were waiting. At the lake, or better to say at the taxi driver stand in front of the lake it was not so easy to find the responsible person for that only lodge there but somehow someone opened the door and rent me a room which I was desperately looking for. The rain only stopped partly and I was wet all over with is not a pleasant feeling with the really cold and humid air. In a nearby tea shop I tried to warm myself with lots of teas and soups and also met some other tourists there including an American who told me the same things over and over.I checked out the lake hidden in a nearby forest (the lake holds the legend that birds collecting all leaves fallen on it to keep it clean and sacred, for real I didn´t spot a single one on it). I lit some butter-lamps in the prayer-hall in front of the lake for my beloved ones and enjoyed the scenery or at least that was visible through the thick fog. I climbed up to the view point but by no question there was no view today. I really had a big issue with the humidity as all my cloth were wet either from the rain or from the massive sweat I produced. I changed into my spare ones and tried to get that other stuff dry, but simply had no idea how as the air was filled with moisture too (till morning most was reasonable dry as I put all that wet things between the mattress and the blanket using my Therm a Rest and sleeping bag on top). Still I prayed for a clear sky next morning as it cannot be raining the whole time.

to be continued…


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