Tuesday, July 22, 2014

We have made it to our new home for the next few months.  La Villa Bethany in Mussoorie India.  We have the top floor of this bed and breakfast which includes 3 bedrooms and a lounge, there is also a conservatory (a patio) and a library used by us and other guests.  We have a lead on an apartment for January, but we will look into that later.

The monsoon has started and it is raining today, but we arrived to sunshine.  The drive from Dehra Dun was spectacular.  As we neared our current altitued of 7,500 ft, the clouds were like sheets of mist reaching out to touch parts of the hills.  The driving in India is always an adventure.  I've traveled in India a few time, but for those who haven't been here, I will attempt to convey what it is like.

I'll begin in Delhi at the train station.  As soon as our van pulled into the exit, yes exit, signs are only a suggestion, like their roundabouts that some drivers use as shortcut by driving counerclockwise instead of the suggested clockwise.  As soon as our van pulled into the exit the porters who wear red shirts started running.  Our guide said he would take care of the bargaining as foreigners are always chared 2 to 3 times the rate as Indians.  Bargaining didn't go well, the porters wanted around $7 per bag, so we bagan the movement of bags pausing twice more to bargain again, but not getting any better deal, which surprises me.  Usually walking away drops the price while bargaining.  
To get into to train station, our bags had to go through a scanner like at the airport and we had to go though a detector.  However the line was not a line, and we kept our handheld bags setting of the detector, but the guard waved us through.  Rules, like signs, are only a suggestion.  Elbows were important while getting onto the train, but once in the first class car (assigned seats and air conditioning), the press of people evaporated.

Six hour train ride.  India is not all people, there is green.  We saw rice patties, and I think sugar cane, trees, and houses.  7 stops later (I will try to get one of the kids to describe the trainride), we arrived in Dehradun.  There were porters wanting to help us, but we waited for our guide who had already hired a half dozen (did I mention we have 10 large suitcases, and 6 carryon suitcases, and our backpacks).  They loaded our suitcases to the roof of the van and we were off.  The horn in India is a means of communication.  The center line is only a suggestion.  Cows and dogs roam on the roads.  Dogs move, but the cows go where they please.  There are tuk tuks (3 wheel taxis), scooters, cars, trucks all competing for space.  The horn is used to say I'm here behind you wanting to move around.  The drivers all work together and somehow make it work.

Since he last time I drove up the hillside, there have been mudslides and road improvements.  There are now a lot more guard rails on the twisty narrow road, but also more piles of rocks.  The kids did get a bit queasy with all the twists and the change in elevation, but nothing to worry about.  Once in Mussoorie, there were a few times we had to wait for a scooter to be moved so the van could squeeze through the narrow corridor of shops.

1 comment:

  1. I can picture clearly - such an imprinted memory from a 15 year old girl still vivid over 25 years later. And with all that luggage on top - yikes!