Thursday, August 16, 2007

Down to Kurseong

To say that yesterday was horrendous would be an understatement. It has nothing to do with India or Darjeeling. I suppose mourning isn't any fun no matter where you are. Today, I tied up some loose ends in Darjeeling and headed down the mountain to Kurseong (the home of Makaibari, Castleton, Goom, Ambootia, and numerous other tea estates). As I descended the mountain, the mist moved from the valleys and the steep hills below my feet to the sky above my head, I felt as if my world was being set upright again. Our stop at an ornately decorated and richly colored Buddhist monastary didn't hurt, either.

Early evening, I settled into my lovely "Old-World Style" hotel and immediately ordered a pot of tea from their extensive tea menu. (Oh, how I love India.) Natalia and I called Makaibari to set up a meeting time for tomorrow, looked out over the garden and nearby locals' houses, and then pampered ourselves with spa services (a massage for her, a green tea facial for me, both very relaxing). Afterward, we ate a meal of spicy wontons (Indo-Chinese food is my new favorite type of tasty, and completely different from American-style Chinese food), vegetable korma, rice, and (our OTHER India staple (besides tea)) bottled water. It's the first meal I've been able to enjoy since yesterday, so I really savored it. It seems that travel or this place or something is demanding accelerated healing. As emo as it sounds, I feel like my heart is being ripped out, torn up, sewn together, and shoved back in all at once. Ah, well. Nothing that a good cup of tea can't help, right? Tomorrow: the famed Makaibari Tea Estate.

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