We have had a great few days here in the state of Sikkim, India. It is the second mallest state in India, and like Darjeeling, it is a town precariously balanced on a hillside in the himalayas. It is amazing how these multi-story buildings literally balance on steep hillsides.
Today we took a taxi out to one of the monestaries in the area and then walked the 14 kms to another one. It was a beautiful walk, through the mountains/jungle, passing through a few little villages and seeing lots of schoolkids doing the same walk, only a bit shorter for them, and in school uniforms, giggling at the sight of us!
Then, we took another taxi back to Gangtok, and let's just start by saying that these roads are windy, steep, and not well maintained. Many of the drivers drive uphill, but turn off the engines and coast down these perilious roads. Our particular taxi had the squeakiest brakes ever, convincing Rahima and I that they were about to give out and send us over the edge at any moment. Picking up speed as you roll downhill in a minivan, careening around turns and honking (if your horn works while the engine is off) and attempting to avoid other cars (even though the roads are really only wide enough for one), potholes (aka small craters) and pedestrians. (FYI, if the choice is pothole or pedestrian, hit the pedestrian).
But we made it and will start the day to two-day process of crossing into Nepal tomorrow. That means staring with about a 3 to 5 hour jeep ride, downhill, probably mostly coasting...