Thursday, April 2, 2009

Day 21 - Siliguri to Pheuntsholing

March29 at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:GPS Geotagging

Plan was to get going and settle in Pheuntsholing early and check out the city. The next day get the permits and then move on.

But before that i wanted to do some updates and the Tata Indicom giving me hell of trouble and too me till 11.30 morning to upload a few small photographs. This update process is becoming a over head and loss of time. But if i dont do it then i will loose the accounts of the day. May be will keep the record offline if its going to be the same in the next state.

Just then i realized i have done absolutely no home work on Bhutan. I know nothing about the place, the currency the permit process,the food the language etc etc. I got this old sinking feeling used to get when i sometimes enter the exam hall without preparation! Made a few inquiries, Read a bit in lonely planet bhutan and thought would catchup the next day at phuentsholing. Time to ride and news, its 180kms and not 80 as i thought! Damn now i am in a hurry. Want to get across the border before sundown. Ask around a bit to get directions. But the roads got bad in sections and traffic in the narrow two lanes slowing me further. Plus the bike handling like crap. Thanks to the HH mechs at Kolkata, who fixed a perfectly working cone set! Its getting tight and bike is weaving around giving me nausea. Luckily HH service center at Jalpaiguri was on the bypass road and they reluctantly tried to fix it. Just loosened the cone set. I knew this was temporary fix as i had done that myself twice only for the problem to reappear again. But i got no time for detail check. Get the bike together and ride towards bhutan. Guvahati is also getting near. Cross Hashimara and take the deviation to Bhutan. As i am getting near the road got worse and worse but no less traffic. I start seeing vehicles with red number plates. Finally i make it to the colour full border gate by 5 PM to the get the praised international border crossing pic!

Not sure if i would be let in as the the offices are closed and can get permit only next day. The cops got curious at my odd presence. Checked my passport and license and told be to get in stay at phuentsholing till i get permit. Fair enough i wanted to stay in bhutan to get the feel of a different country. As soon as i get in, a big guy approaches inquiring about the panniers. Says he is part of local bullet club and suggests me hotel Paradise near by. First i thought to get room on a hill with a view and went in search for that negotiating the oneways and one out i thought its bettor stay in the city as it looked very attractive. Finding hotel paradise was a tough task thanks to the one way. I came to a crowded Y road 3 times. Was going round in circles. One way rules are very strict, even got busted once and was forgiven by a cop and told to go the other way. When i went to the same cop second time. He said your friend just went that side! LOL so for them we all look alike :D Finally finally i found the hotel paradise and settled in double as single was not available. Dumped the things and got out in a jiffy. Walking on the streets felt great. Went to the big guys restaurant who suggested a traditional bhutan dish. Boy O boy was it hot with chillies. To spoons and i lost sensation of taste! Now did not want to leave it and some home managed to finish the less hot rise and soup. Man no more bhutanese food :D They are full of chillies. The hotel i stayed had a Bar and restaurant of their own. Wow that is what i was looking for since i started. Some food and drink and went out for a walk. Boy it felt good walking high with no fear of getting mugged. Really loving the place. My entire ride in east coast, i was told not to be out late as its not safe and here it felt like i got freedom.

Gave myself a break from updating the dairy and watched a movie in the room and dozed of happily.

Nice old hotel Hillview at Siliguri. But i see no hills!

Siliguri streets.

Nice roads towards bhutan.

First time i see flat Tea estates!

There was some nature park. Looked tempting. But i was too scared of getting mugged! so turned back

Bhutan here i come..

But not a very good welcome. Very nicely done to cause irritation!

Those hills are Bhutan.

Yooohooo my first international border crossing on the bike!

The wall is actually border! i was trying to find a way to get into the shops visible there :D

The Bhutanese border gate at night.

Free streets at night...

1 comment:

Rajarajan said...

Sometime time ago I saw your blog, impressed a lot. Have no words, where are you trying to escape out?? I have never seen a guy going on a trip for more then a month .. Me too planning for a long trip next year, but not for two months !! I don't know Hindi, so I sure I will face problems, not bothered anyway. The amount of impression your blog made to me is not expressible here, believe me I am your fan now. Planning to read your Big escapade, three episodes (:-) per day. Have a great time there, Wishing you the best !!!!