Arrived in India several days ago, but Internet access is dial up only and spotty at best. I came down the mountain from Mirik this morning to Siliguri to get a visa to visit the state of Sikkim. Plan to go to Gyaltsab Monastery for some ceremonies for the three-year retreatants that get out on September 9, tomorrow.
So I'm enjoying a wireless connection at the Hotel Cindrella, arranged by my friend Ngodup. Not to mention the air conditioning. It's very warm down here compared to Mirik. Will be headed back to Mirik in a few hours.
Had a good trip from Kathmandu to Mirik via the small airport at Bhadrapur. Hired a taxi that we shared with a Nepali gentleman who lived about halfway to the Indian border. Got out and walked through both sets of Nepali and Indian customs/immigration and then hired an Indian taxi to take us to Mirik. A fun trip, complete with flat tire. See the picture. But we arrived safely after a 4 and one half hour journey.
The weather in Mirik is better than I expected. It's the tail end of monsoon, but it hasn't rained very much and yesterday was very sunny and no rain. So far no rain today, and I hope it holds for our journey back up the mountain. During a 90 minute car ride we go from about 300 feet in altitude to a little over 5,500 feet. It gives "up" a new meaning.
There will be ceremonies starting about 6:00 AM tomorrow morning for the end of the 3-year retreat. Then on the 13th we will go to Gyaltsab Rinpoche's monastery at Ralang in Sikkim. Will return to Mirik on the 15th and then go to Sonada monastery near Darjiling, to celebrate Kalu Rinpoche's birthday and enthronement on the 17th. Caren returns home the following day in Michael Conklin's care. She's been great to travel with. Traveling in this part of the world requires a lot of flexibility and the ability to just go with the flow when things don't go as planned. Caren has been fun to be with.