Greetings from Pelling, India

may 8 (3)

Greetings from Pelling, India. A gorgeous morning. Temperature is 21 degrees Celsius.

Yesterday was more problematic. I arrived at Bagdogra airport from New Delhi with no problems. Ms. Chandra, St. Xavier’s Principal, was there to meet me to be sure that everything went well. I got my inner line permit which allows people going into Sikkim Province to visit. And then she left to drive the 6-7 hours to Tikjuk.

However, Bagdogra and Pelling weather was iffy. My helicopter took off for the 35-40 minute flight, but after 15 minutes turned back because of bad weather heading towards us. The helicopter by the way sat six: two for the pilot and co-pilot and four passengers. However, I was the only passenger along with one staff person.

When we came back, I went back to the helicopter office run by the Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation. If we were going to make another try at it, not only did the weather have to cooperate, but the helicopter schedule did as well.

The weather people said that in about 90 minutes there would be another window of opportunity. The helicopter folks said that was the time for a regular trip to Gangtok to the east of Pelling about the same distance Bagdogra is to the south. First, order of business was to get the agreement with the two people who were going to Gangtok to allow me to travel with them, and for them to allow me to get off first. They did. The second issue was that I had to agree to go to Gangtok if the weather would not allow us to land in Pelling. We all agreed.

The flight was a short 35 minutes to Pelling with no problems. At the landing pad were about 30 people who found out that the helicopter was going to land and had come out to experience the excitement. I jumped out and said hello to everyone. Ms. Chandra’s brother was there along with someone else whose identity was never made clear to me.

They took me to the hotel where I am staying, Hotel Dubdi. It is a friendly place but a bit rudimentary, i.e. no heat. It gets quite chilly here at night. When I tried to take a shower in the morning, no hot water. But that was my fault. I did not know that I had to turn a switch to turn on the hot water heater.

Outside my window is a view of Mount Kangchungjanga (or something like that), the third highest peak in the Himalayas. It is quite beautiful here.

This morning we drive over to St. Xavier’s School in Tikjuk. I am excited to finally see the place.