Friday, 10 October 2008

Monday 5 November 2001

At 0200 hours, (2030 hours GMT) my flight arrived at Delhi and once I had cleared Immigration and retrieved my baggage I was met by a representative of Rimo Expeditions, KE’s agents in India. This was one of my concerns as I had phoned KE from Aberdeen to advise them that my flight had been cancelled. They assured me that I would be met in Delhi so I was pleased to see the representative and that KE had been very efficient in traking my movements. The Rimo Represntative showed me to an old Westminster taxi, with silk curtains and took me to the Imperial Hotel in Delhi. At the Hotel the receptionist had been instructioned that on my arrival to wake the trek leader, Rex Munro, an Australian.

Rex arrived a few minutes later and after introductions he explained that the majority of the party was delayed and that only two others, Drew Lambie and Gill Griffin who had travelled by Gulf Air, were at the Hotel. He advised me that breakfast was at 0700 hours and he would see me then. I changed money at the reception and was shown to my room where after a while I managed to grab a couple of hours sleep.

At 0700 hours I met Rex in the Hotel garden for breakfast where we were joined by Drew and Gill. Drew originated from Edinburgh but was now staying down south. A discussion took place as to what I wanted to do as I had missed the day’s tour of Delhi which Drew and Gill had done the previous day. I decided just to go with them on our next part of the expedition, which was to Darjeeling.

After breakfast we were taken to the airport where Rex and the Rimo representative booked us onto the flight to Bagdogra. They then left to go to the International arrivals to meet the rest of the group on the delayed London flight in the hope that they could be transferred in time to catch the Bogdogra flight, which only went once a day. However the flight to Bagdogra took off on time without the rest of the group.

The flight to Bagdogra went via Guwahati where some passengers left and others joined. We arrived in Bagdogra at 1340 hours and were transferred to a jeep, which took us to Darjeeling, which lies at 2307 metres up a long steep climb of several hours. En-route we stopped at a café for a bite to eat.

At Darjeeling we were taken to the Windamere Hotel arriving there around 1805 hours and shown to our rooms. It was a very old fashioned hotel with a coal fire in my room, which I didn't want lit. This was a mistake as a short time later it became a lot colder so I had to go and arrange for it to be lit. I declined the hot water bottle though. Dinner consisted of four courses with a pot of tea before retiring to my room to read and watch television. The bed was very hard but I had a reasonable sleep till about 0400 hours when I found the bed very uncomfortable.