Early August, 2010
From Kalimpong, Jonathan and I did indeed venture on to Sikkim. We took a jeep to Pelling – a little town nestled in the hills. There we ventured to the Pemayangtse Monastery and then stopped at a very fancy hotel just to have a look. We ended up getting cornered by one of the owner/managers – an interesting man from Australia who had a very colonial flavor to him. Jon and I listened politely but with some discomfort to his ramblings about Bengalis and Nepalis – the price I guess we paid for our hot chocolates, or perhaps they were lattes, that were on the house.
The Monastery itself was beautiful, but there wasn’t really any in to learn more about the history or the lives of the monks.
We also found ourselves up at a smaller monastery where a funeral for a woman who had committed suicide was taking place. The woman’s widower asked to have his photograph taken with us, and we complied. Our foreignness alone was enough to make us photo-worthy, but our ability to speak Nepali and speak it well often gave us almost-celebrity status in the Darjeeling hills, Sikkim and parts of Nepal.