16th October. Zero km.
This is just a short and quick recollection of the day. If I get a chance I’ll add more detail later.
Main plan today was for our merry band of travellers to take two tuk-tuks out to the ‘City Centre Mall’ to catch the 12:50pm screening of ‘The Martian’ as this was showing in English. We arrived at the top-level cinema but were then instructed to go downstairs to the box office to buy our tickets, and when we got there we were told that the movie had stopped screening yesterday. What a fail.
With no movie to go see, Karen & Claire went off to do some window shopping whilst Aad, Mike, Emiel and myself went to a bar that Emiel had spotted the day earlier. Emiel and I enjoyed a refreshing beer each, whilst Aad and Mike had their cokes. Karen and Claire joined us and we all ordered a late lunch. My pepperoni pizza was very tasty. When the food and drink bill came out we were all a bit surprised as the alcoholic drinks had attracted a 27% tax on top of the usual taxes – VAT tax and a service tax, so that was a bit steep.
After leaving the bar the rest of the gang made their way back to the hotel, whilst Karen and I stayed back so she could go to a hair salon for some pampering. Two hours later we also caught a tuk-tuk back to the Hotel Rajdarbar, enjoying the crazy night ride through the dense Siliguri traffic.
I wasn’t sure if our tuk-tuk driver was a bit stoned, and he was spitting continually outside the tuk-tuk. Spitting is a big thing here in India – it’s such a common practice I don’t think any of the locals either notice it occurring or are bothered, but it’s not a pleasant sight. When we’re riding we often see passengers spitting great globs out the window of their buses or jeep taxis. So far however we’ve been fortunate enough to have dodged being spat on ….