We visited a craft centre/college in Gangtok, shown above, and the next day the Gangtong paper making factory in Kalimpong. In the craft centre, we were walking around various rooms when we realised that a class was taking place.
Another visit was to a Hindu temple.
I knew it was a mistake to invite Fat Mac to the Brian Wilson concert, but I had extra tickets due to JD not being able to attend, and all of Shaun’s friends were out of town.
Fat Mac eventually arrived outside the venue (the Usher Hall) five minutes before the doors opened, drooling incontinently due to his afternoon’s session with some vino collapso, and demanded his ticket and more beer.
I got round that one by buying him, and myself, a rum & coke. He spilled most of his on the way to his seat, and then proceeded to complain that he wasn’t in the front row. We were in row ‘J’, which was fairly near the front. It was good enough for me however, and I very much enjoyed watching my hero, Brian Wilson, perform a variety of his superb songs. Matt Jardine did a great job of singing the high notes that 73-year-old Brian can no longer hit.
Anyway, to cut a long and boring story short, I would just like to say that the hand above, yes that one in the photo above which is mine, not only high fived Blondie Chaplin twice down the front of the concert, but also at the end of the concert, shook the hand of Al Jardine, who is one of the founder members of The Beach Boys (but you know that obviously).
We are fortunate beings, so we are.
The weather last weekend was mixed, but we enjoyed two days at the Kilvrecht Camp Site, close by the shores of Loch Rannoch. Rain prevented the planned walk taking place, so instead we hiked a six mile circular route from camp.
Mary Njoki goes on lots of these group walks. She has organised a trip up Mt Kenya later this summer, and is in training for that trip.
We visited two monasteries – Rumtek, and Zong Dhog Palri Fo Brang.
Rumtek is about an hour’s drive from Gangtok (the capital of Sikkim). Essentially you go down to the bottom of the valley, and then up the other side. Because it was cloudy and raining a bit, there was no view back to Gangtok when we were there.
Zong Dhog Palri Fo Brang is a short drive up the hill from Kalimpong.
At 23:09 in the above video, the monks at Zong Dhog Palri Fo Brang start a chant, with horns and cymbals.
At Samaden, after a 23km hike, I attempted to join in a game of cricket being played by the village boys and some of our horsemen.
I ended up leaving that ball for the wee boy at long off. I had no puff left.
As the sun went down, some lads were playing on a small flat piece of ground in Rimbik.
Some lads were playing below the Zong Dhog Palri Fo Brang Monastery above Kalimpong.
Our first campsite at Tonglu, on the Singalila Ridge
The barbed wire is not to keep the campers in! It marks the border post.
Mac didn’t want “Ony a’ they spicy food”, so mainly ate boiled vegetables and the above veg burger.
A nice mix at the Hasty Tasty restaurant, Darjeeling
The rest of us enjoyed all sorts of lovely Indian and Tibetan-style food.
The most interesting meal was at the Netuk Hotel, in Gangtok (the capital of Sikkim). After a drink of fermented millet, which was twice filled up with hot water, we enjoyed some nettle, some fern, some meat and bamboo & rice. The next evening, the meal was equally delicious.
On the ridge
The food on the 6-day Singalila Ridge trek was very good. Each day, one of the assistant cooks would catch up with us with our lunches. The first one was a packed lunch.
On subsequent days, for lunch we enjoyed soup, followed by different types of chapati and other dishes, and then fruit.
I tried to carry the lunch basket with a strap around the head. It was pretty heavy.
The cook even managed to bake a cake for the last evening of the trek.
The round white things at 1 o’clock in the above photo are used to ferment millet drinks. They have a little fern leaf on them.