Archive for March 5th, 2012

05
Mar
12

Sikkim part3

My prayers got heard as the rain stopped but the damp left. Had some problems to get up, but somehow I forced myself out of the warm sleeping bag packed up and searched for some breakfast in the very few restaurants squatted around the taxi stand. No one still served something only one guy offered me some fried rice, not exactly what I wanted to have in that early hours but better than nothing. Had to get the same road back which I came the day before and the descent was done quickly. Passing by many locals on their way to work or into the next liqueur shop. What I recognized the days before and today was more than apparently that golden colored rubber boots must be some kind of fashion here as almost everyone were wearing such boots, maybe I have to get one pair for me too if it still will rain as before. I arrived in Pelling and stayed there for the night. To find a room was not that difficult there, the main road, nor to say the only road, is flanked with dozens of hotels. I desperately was looking for a hot shower which warmed me a little bit. Strolled around town but the architecture was not that spectacular, hotels everywhere, the town is neither and in the afternoon it started to rain again, why not. I really choose the wrong time for a cycle trip in this part of the Himalaya, actually I expected cold weather only and not rain but fortunately the temperatures were not that cold, still above freezing point. The clouds are trapped in the close and deep valleys which might be the reason for day long rain. I called Sikkim sometimes the Vertical limit, as the roads are in sections impossible steep and flat terrain is nearly not present and if it is already occupied for some purpose. Don´t know who and how got the idea to built roads in that difficult terrain. While good views it must be more than demoralizing that the destination is only a stone throw away on the opposite ridge but the way results in a long detour down along the river crossing a bridge in a distant corner of the valley only to go the way up back on the other side. Next morning there was a festive atmosphere and the tables in the hotel owned restaurant were nicely decorated. I remember that it was Losar today, the Tibetan New Year. I got a Khattag (a white silk scarf for good luck, mostly given for a safe journey) and a butter tea in order to that celebration. Around 9am I was ready to leave and was optimistic with a huge downhill (that was what I´ve been told) all the way to Jorethang. Anyway the downhill wasn´t that long only 20km to Legship and from there it was an up and down further to Jorethang. Jorethang wasn´t appealing to me and Melli Bazaar the next town were accommodation was available was only 27km further. But somehow I missed the main part of Melli and found myself out of Sikkim with an exit stamp in my passport. I asked the official if it will be possible to reenter Sikkim in Rangpo again on the same permit, which might be no problem at all. So I rushed further to Rangpo another 19km as it was still early and I didn´t had the feeling to stop. At Rangpo the guy at the check post was quiet irritated about my exit stamp, talked to his boss, I explained the situation and they let me go. I ended up back in Singtam, same hotel, same room where I stayed before. This was a very long day with nearly 110km, never expected such a long day in the morning. Actually I thought about skipping Gangtok and go directly to Darjeeling but sometimes things are like that and I faced the huge climb up to Gangtok although my knee made some problems. The road from Singtam to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, only 28km was insane in many terms. Insane traffic according to that insane narrow road and all over insane steepness! And an insane amount of exhaust direct into my lung. By no means that was the steepest part all over, damned, if I had known that before, sure I had skipped it. Especially the last 10km from Ranipool was incredible steep such incredible and allover urbanized. Got crazy about cycling all the way along a township and still many km in front. More than one time I wanted to turn around and roll back the same way I came, but there is some thing I think is called ego… Finally I reached the real Gangtok and was looking for a rest as my knee was still paining as hell. I had the feeling to stop the trip here, decided not to go to Darjeeling instead going back to Nepal direct by bus, my mind was searching for more than one excuse to do so but there was no reason, to whom to excuse? To nobody expect me! I gave up, had no more enthusiasm to cycle, as to Darjeeling might be the same, I had to go back down and climb a steep and busy road again only to another hill station as many as I already visited in India. So at one morning jumped into a bus to Siliguri, from there cycled the 30km to the border, faced Immigrations and got a night bus back to Pokhara. 24Hours after I left Gangtok I reached home sweet home Pokhara. Ironically at Sikkim I saw the mighty snow capped mountains of the Himalaya only for a very short time and only very small in the distance and while the bus was approaching Pokhara at dawn the full Annapurna could be seen in its full glory…




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