Saturday, April 19, 2008

Day 3: 17th March 2008

It is Dad's birthday today. We woke up at 4.00 am, had bath and wished him. As he completes 66 years, I told him this tour was for him combined with my club 5 holidays. He was happy about it.

We had tea and asked Nityanand to pack breakfast of bread, butter and jam to eat on the train. It chugged out of the station exactly at 6.45 am. We were on our way to New Jalpaiguri by the Kanchanganga Express. Rather it should be spelt as Kanchanzonga as the locals say. As we left Kolkata we passed through lush green paddy fields with mud huts scattered in between. I stood at the door to take in the fresh air and enjoy the soothing of the vast expanse.

After 3 hrs the train halted at Shantiniketan, a family travelling with us recommended that next time we are in Kolkata we must go there for an overnight stay. Yes I decided for my love of Rabindranath Tagore.

Around 12.00 noon the train crossed borders and we were in Bihar, my cell switched service provider. The journey through Bihar lasted about 4-5 hrs, through fertile plains and the famous mango orchards of Malda. At Malda the engine was changed to a diesel one.

We were running late by 2.0 hrs and have entered West Bengal again and there are atleast 7-8 sms telling me what to do to have an interrupted service on the cell.

We finally reached NJP at 7.30 pm. It was dark yet the station was a busy one. There were 2 representatives from Heat Flexi Holidays. They led us to the car and surprised us by putting the Khada around our necks! That was sure a warm welcome.

On the way to Siliguri we passed through small markets, where vendors sold there wares in oil lamp light. It was a sultry weather and I was actually craving for the cool weather had we were soon to enjoy.

Hotel Apollo reception was alright but the room was crowded and there was no view, the bathroom was not welcoming at all. I started worrying about would this continue in the upcoming days. The hotel service was pathetic. The room had psyched me much and I did not expect good food so ordered for a standard Thali of Kofta curry, Moong dal fry, Mixed veggies and the paraphernalia.

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