Sunday, 13 May 2012

Out and about on the hilltops

I'm sitting in full public view, near a hot cup of coffee, on a train - again. Honestly, there's not time to draw breath and I haven't finished telling you about the holiday (We'll catch up this week.) That's what you said last week, so you'd better get on with it.  (Enough already, now that I've finally given Katy your bearthing fees there's no going back.) Ha, that's what you think. I can still jump ship if you don't behave. (I think I have the whip hand there, as I can leave you at home if you don't behave.) You wouldn't do that would you?  I mean I'm really quite a nice bear.  I just have forthright views.  (Let's get going shall we?)

We left our intrepid explorer enjoying the beer and chilling in the Oberoi Cecil Hotel and not an early start in sight.  After another lovely meal we had a good night's kip, though Ann was coughing like anything.  (Yes poor thing, she had caught my chesty cold and it's not yet completely gone!) 

We had an excursion planned for the next day in the hills around Shimla, close in and then into the hills.  
First stop was the Monkey Temple, built where Hanuman rested when he was taking the mountain back to Ram in Lanka to help save Ram's brother, who'd been shot with an arrow by the ten headed demons on Lanka.  Quite how a mountain could cure him I don't understand. (Well, he didn't really need the whole mountain.  You see, when he started to fly from southern India to the Himalayas he'd been told to bring back a magic plant which could only be found on one mountain. Silly fellow he forgot what the plant was so he thought that taking the mountain itself would be easier than searching for ages and talking the wrong plant.)
Whatever. They built a temple to Hanuman and it's simply inundated with monkeys - Rhesus macaques - and they're very cheeky indeed.  He and she had to take their glasses off in case they got stole and hold a big stick in case the monkeys got too aggressive.  The monkeys have learnt that by doing that they can get food. So Alan stumbled about and guessed where he was pointing his camera. (I could make out where I was going but couldn't see the details, but you're partly right about the guesswork.  Thank goodness for autofocus I say.) I snuggled down out of the way and only came out for a moment to get the picture above. Ann held on tight which is just as well, as no sooner had I appeared than the three desperadoes above appeared.  I've never been so glad to get back in that bag!

Soon I heard the pleasant sound of car engines and I knew were back on the move, but boy was it bumpy and twisty!  So much so that I was very glad of the stops.  My eyes were spinning, but when they stopped and I came out again I found I was looking at these monsters.  Haven't they got big horns? In case you don't know they're yaks, and they were there for people to greet them and even get on their backs, except I only got to say hello.  Still they were nice, and I think one of them even winked at me.
We travelled out along the bumsty roads (bumsty?) Yes a mix of bumpy and twisty. As I was saying - we travelled out along the bumsty roads until where we came to a point where we were supposed to see the Himalayas, but we couldn't see anything.  It was very high at (2,700m that's 8,750ft for those of you who can't read metric) and people had to walk a way out to see what could be seen. Some of them got very out of breath indeed, but Alan really enjoyed it.  Anyway we got a really good view, but it would have been nice to see the Himalayas.  Here I am being held up by the other Alan so I could get my photo taken.  
Ann and Alan also held me up so I got lots of pictures of me, and you can see that they were there too.

We went back bumpstily to Shimla and had our lunch in an interesting hotel and then we made our way back to the hotel where we were staying.

Sadly it was tipping down with rain and I didn't want wet fur so we just went straight back to the hotel instead of walking about in the town.  On the way back though Alan saw a picture he wanted to take so on our last day we went out so he could get it.  The next shots are what he saw and wanted pictures of. They're interesting and scary too.

Here I am sitting on a wall with the town behind me and below is fantastic picture of the town climbing up the hillside.  He let me sit there all alone with a HUGE drop behind me. If I'd fallen off I'd still be rolling down hill. At least there was no hot bot.  (I was very careful as usual and you were alright.) One day I won't be and then we'll all be sorry. 

Alan tells me he lost count of the levels after 35.  Me, I haven't got that many paws so after I counted to 4 it was just many. (I haven't got that many paws either, I can just count, but even I had to say, "Lots" after a while.) 

He got his great big lens out and took some closer in pictures.  This is a nice green house isn't it.  You can just see it at the bottom left of the other picture. Isn't it a long way up or down depending on your point of view?
After we'd had a good look at the view we went back up to the top of the town and the Mall where we had a very interesting walk seeing lots of things.

The next picture is of Lily and me at Scandal Point.  This is where Lord Kitchener's daughter and the local Maharajah's son eloped from a long long time ago.  Neither family was too happy about it and they were returned to Mummy and Daddy.  

The upshot was that Kitchener moved out of town and built a little pad called Wildflower Hall, out along the bumsty road.  It's now a hotel and you open your curtains to a view of the Himalayas.  Very nice - Alan and Ann want to go there. Next week?  (No, sorry little bear maybe in few years.) Oh shucks.

We walked on a bit from there and found out that nothing in Shimla gets delivered by road, well by van I suppose I should say.  Instead everything gets delivered by porter.  Can you see the man with the huge load in the next picture?  

Shimla has lots of sets of stairs you can see a lady just coming up some stairs just behind the porter.  Well, one person on our tour saw a porter coming up a set of steep stone stairs carrying a fridge freezer on his back,  Cor, that's amazing. (Yes Jock we are very lucky aren't we living such an easy life.)

We were so worn out we just walked backed to our hotel and flopped.  We just had time for a last beer before we had to clamber into our car and get taken all the way down the hill to Kalka to catch the train back to Delhi.

I'll tell you all about our journey to see the tigers next time I can beat the staff into action. (Ha!)




  1. "bumsty" I knew exactly what that meant, bumpy & twisty.

    Jock, this was a wonderful "tour" except for the "annoying voice" that kept interrupting you (grr, humans).

    Those Yaks, wow they are huge. Bet Lily was terrified to even take a peek at them - but not you.

    Can't wait to hear and see photos of the tigers.


  2. Well bumpsty was perfectly logical, silly man! Although you should think yourself lucky, herself puts me on cliff edges over the Atlantic Ocean! Shame you didn't get a ride on the yaks, they look like fun, although probably quite bumpy too...



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