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Old 8th April 2010, 11:16   #121
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Problem with all these taxis - as SS has already pointed out - are unreliability, poor maintenance, reckless drivers and dangerous things like worn-out tyres. But, with this kind of monopoly situation imposed by the Govt of Sikkhim, what other choice do we have but to use these unsafe drivers. You saw what happened when SS made a hungama about the bad quality of the tyres.
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Old 8th April 2010, 11:21   #122
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Proxima View Post
Looks like it's to differentiate taxis from private cars. All taxis seem to have a yellow bonnet.
No Proxima, the Spacio also has T-board (Yellow & black); may to indicate that these are for foriegn tourists probably.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Problem with all these taxis - as SS has already pointed out - are unreliability, poor maintenance, reckless drivers and dangerous things like worn-out tyres.
Guess we need to hire a cab (probably paying higher & stating I'm a NRI) for good cabs.
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Old 8th April 2010, 12:08   #123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
The sumo looks good, but why a yellow paint or sticker on the bonnet? Hope there's some special reason to it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Proxima View Post
Looks like it's to differentiate taxis from private cars. All taxis seem to have a yellow bonnet.
All taxis (yellow plate passeger carriers) in Sikkim have their bonnets painted or stickered yellow.

... to continue ...

We come to a halt once again about 10 km later, this time for a good 2 hours. The reason: a massive landslide ahead, which is finally cleared after 6 pm. The storm has blown over, and it is freezing cold. Our extra layers of clothing are in Khatara.

Just a few photos as the light fails. Have tried to create a couple of panoramas.

Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-landslidek150.jpg

Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-panorama-traffic-jamk150.jpg

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Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-landslide-stop-6.jpg

We return to the hotel after 8:30 pm, tired, chilled to the bone, but happy. Khatara also returns from the trip. Tomorrow we go to the Kecheopalri Lake and Pelling. This time it is going to be the Bolero we saw earlier.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 8th April 2010 at 12:10.
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Old 8th April 2010, 12:15   #124
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I see a moron on sumo jumping the queue in landslide-stop-2 picture

Last edited by aargee : 8th April 2010 at 12:16.
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Old 8th April 2010, 13:21   #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
All taxis (yellow plate passeger carriers) in Sikkim have their bonnets painted or stickered yellow.

... to continue ...

We come to a halt once again about 10 km later, this time for a good 2 hours. The reason: a massive landslide ahead, which is finally cleared after 6 pm. The storm has blown over, and it is freezing cold. Our extra layers of clothing are in Khatara.

Just a few photos as the light fails. Have tried to create a couple of panoramas.

Attachment 324924

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We return to the hotel after 8:30 pm, tired, chilled to the bone, but happy. Khatara also returns from the trip. Tomorrow we go to the Kecheopalri Lake and Pelling. This time it is going to be the Bolero we saw earlier.

Doc,
Wow chilling. Ponytail would have tested your patience to the limits.
Also you have all the ingridient for making a hindi movie
ponytail, khatara, waiting, landslide, breakdowns, hailstorm !

keep it coming.

v&v
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Old 8th April 2010, 14:28   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
I see a moron on sumo jumping the queue in landslide-stop-2 picture
That does happen occasionally, though the other drivers are accommodating enough to let them back into the queue. Traffic discipline in the mountains is far more stringent than on the plains - it's a matter of life or death there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by v&v View Post
Wow chilling.
...you have all the ingridient for making a hindi movie
You want to produce and direct it?

Sunday, 28th March, 2010:

Our destination today is the Khecheopalri Lake (pronounced kheh-choo-peree) near Pelling, and we would stay the night either close to the lake or at Pelling itself. Ponytail is back in the morning with the Bolero, and we have a simple but decent breakfast before our departure.

Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-kechoperi-0k80.jpg

Views along the way, as we cross the Rangit River and carry on to the other side.

Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-kechoperi-1k80.jpg

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This notice happens to be on the open road somewhere near Ravangla. If we comply with the notice, how would Green Sikkim happen???
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Old 8th April 2010, 14:58   #127
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Tea stop at Ravangla.
Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-kechoperi-10k80.jpg

Surprised to find a Mumbai travel agent's sticker at the restaurant.
Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-kechoperi-9k80.jpg

And the road carries on, with an incident-free run for us.
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The road narrows for the last few km to the Lake.
Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-kechoperi-20k80.jpg

People on the roof of a Maxx - never seen someone do that in the hills before.
Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-kechoperi-21k80.jpg

Locals working at road repair and widening under the NREGA scheme.
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And we are at Kecheopalri.
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Look out for the number of ways the name of the lake is spelt.
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Old 8th April 2010, 15:55   #128
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Khecheopalri Lake is a magical place to be. As soon as the engine is switched off, an utter calm and quiet descends on us, punctuated by the distant, shrill call of a bird somewhere in the forest.

The lake is accessed along a leaf-covered pathway leading away from a monastery. The five-minute walk is rejuvenating after being cooped up in the Bolero for so long. The first view of the placid lake is almost like a picture out of a fairy tale.

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Last edited by SS-Traveller : 8th April 2010 at 16:10.
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Old 8th April 2010, 16:48   #129
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Legend has it that the ducks swimming in the lake are prompt to remove any fallen leaves and debris from the water, and the lake always remains clear. A small altar for devotees to pray at, is seen on the shore of the lake. On a clear day, with the snow peaks of Kanchenjunga sparkling in the distance, this place is said to be even more magical.

Foreign tourists, mostly backpackers, seem to love this place, and you can find a number of them here at any time. We met a Canadian gentleman and a Slovak lady.

Enjoy more pics from the lake.

Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-ak80.jpg

Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-b5k80.jpg

Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-bk80.jpg

Standard offering to the fish in the lake is Marie or Parle-G biscuits. Looks like the fish thrive on them.
Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-ck80.jpg

Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-dk80.jpg

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Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-jk80.jpg

Beautiful flowers that I do not even know the names of, bloom near the lake.
Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-iik80.jpg

Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-ik80.jpg


This little house offers basic rooms (no TV, no carpeting) for about Rs.150 per night. Choice of food for your meals is also limited. But the view of Kanchejunga from the rooms on a clear day is not matched by any hotel in Pelling.

Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-kk80.jpg

Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-lk80.jpg

The family decided not to stay here, and be more comfortable in Pelling where there is a choice of over 80 hotels. So, as dusk settles on the horizon, we start off for Pelling.
Attached Thumbnails
Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-mk80.jpg  


Last edited by SS-Traveller : 8th April 2010 at 16:50.
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Old 8th April 2010, 16:57   #130
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Wow! Keep going SS, awesome narration and pics!
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Old 8th April 2010, 17:12   #131
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Proxima View Post
Wow! Keep going SS, awesome narration and pics!
At this rate, I suppose I'll be ruining your trip, because when you land up at these places, you'll be muttering I've already seen this, what am I doing here?
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Old 8th April 2010, 17:20   #132
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Not at all! Gives me an idea of what to expect from someone who has been there very recently and that's very very good. So keep going and complete it ASAP.
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Old 8th April 2010, 17:44   #133
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I would like to point out here that I would have personally loved to stay back at the lake rather than drive back to Pelling. But what is decided in a group cannot be changed by individual whims and fancies.

The road from Kecheopalri first enters lower Pelling, and the hotels here have better parking spaces and appear to be newer. However, Upper Pelling is where we find a hotel (most are empty anyway), and settle in for the night.
Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-pelling-0.jpg
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Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-pelling-4.jpg

In the time that it takes for us to hunt up a hotel, Ponytail decides to cross his limits. He speaks something unspeakable to the ladies, and that makes us promptly decide to part company with him. He is paid off, and a travel company across the hotel almost simultaneously offers us a Spacio for less money than we contracted to pay Ponytail. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Finally - I'm sure that makes you, dear reader, as happy as it did me.

Tomorrow morning, we'll wake up and smell the coffee, the tea, and the chowmine!!!
Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-pelling-3.jpg

A picture in the night
Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-pelling-6.jpg

...and some in the morning.
Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-pelling-7.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
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Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-pelling-15.jpg  

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Old 8th April 2010, 18:06   #134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
A picture in the night

...and some in the morning.
Seems to be foggy/rainy in the morning. Is that true for all mornings? I thought the weather is good in the morning and may get worse post lunch.
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Old 8th April 2010, 23:22   #135
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Proxima View Post
Seems to be foggy/rainy in the morning. Is that true for all mornings? I thought the weather is good in the morning and may get worse post lunch.
In general we've had foggy weather all along, except on the last day (31st March) at Darjeeling. And on a number of days it has rained in the evening as well as early in the morning. So, as I said before, do carry umbrellas.

Anyway, it is the morning of
Monday, 29th March, 2010:

We are on our way to Darjeeling today, and we have a new car and driver after Ponytail was unceremoniously dumped yesterday.

Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-pelling-16.jpg

But before we get on the road, a short 2.5km detour to visit the Pemayangtse Monastery near Pelling.

Visuals from there...

Gross Travelling Happiness - Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling-pelling-17.jpg

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It is a surprise to see that these pipes can fold up into a manageable size.

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