As the crow flies, Pelling is about 12 miles from Gangtok but it was a 5 hour long drive up and down the sides of mountains. It was quite a dramatic drive looking down those cliffs. On top of the cliffs and mountains, our car got rear-ended on the road. In India this is handled, by an argument and exchange of money. The offer started at 300 rupees and the matter was resolved at 700 rupees (about $14) for a broken bumper. Then we were back on the road.
The entire day it was raining and cold and we spent the day huddling in our hotel waiting for it to stop raining. We decided to grab a bite at the hotel. While there was chicken on the menu, they were not serving it due to what we think they said were reasons related to bird flu (I really hope we didn’t understand that correctly). So we spent that time being vegetarians, as we did many times in India.
We went into our room and it was so dirty and small that we honestly considered eating the cost and finding another hotel. I would say, “What can you expect for $12/night?” but we stayed in some okay rooms for about that price. We decided to suck it up since we were just staying one night. Unfortunately, our electricity went out that night so we just sat in the room with a candle. We both slept fully clothed so our bodies touched the dirty bedding as little as possible.
Also, we just decided to skip the shower there and waiting for our next hotel. There was a window in the bathroom and you could see right in with no shower curtain to cover up or anything.
In the morning, I set the alarm for about 5 to peek out the window to check if we might be able to see the sunrise and the mountains. Unfortunately, no… And as I was laying back down I hit my face on the corner of the TV stand. It hurt my eye really bad and I actually had scrapes on my eyelid. It hurt and I like to think I got a little black eye from it but Sean wasn’t too impressed with my wound.
We had a car picking us up at 8:30. We were awake so early we decided to walk up the hill to the monestary at the top. Even with the clouds and fog, we wanted to check it out. As we reached the top after a steep climb, a child ran out of a house and yelled, “Tourists!” He couldn’t have been but 5 or so and he came out and followed us around while eating a snack out a plastic bag. He kept acting silly and trying to show us things at the monestary that he thought were neat to see.
There was a dog up there who decided to bite me and I was terrified. He was trying to get food from me, I realized in retrospect. The little boy had offered me some food and I pretended to take some and eat it. The dog grabbed my scarf and I reached and grabbed to get it back from him. Then he bit my coat and I pushed him away. Then he bit my arm and my leg. His teeth didn’t break through my jeans or coat, but he did scrape my skin and leave a huge bruise on my elbow. Sean was far away and I was screaming for him. I am all about kindness to animals but I kicked the crud out of that dog to get him off me. Then the little boy threw his food at the dog and we ran off into the monastery and shut the gate. I guess I am just used to domesticated dogs…
After I recovered, we got some beautiful views of the area, even if it wasn’t of the snowy mountains. The clouds made for some beautiful pictures. And I got that story about the dog… Overall, our trip to Pelling was kind of pointless…