Monday, 7 May 2012

Shimla - One day it will all slide down the hill

The staff are paying some attention, though it's a bit late in the afternoon to be starting.  He's been doing washing and housework and processing photos ready for his book (and working). It's a holiday you idiot why were you working? (I dunno.) Anyway here's a lovely picture he processed.  It's in Jaipur where we went to a long time before we went to Shimla, the place I'll be talking about to-day, so forgive him the out of order posting. (It was only a week.) A week is long time when you're only inexperienced like me.
He's had to do a lot of jiggery pokery in Photoshop to get the verticals straight, but those really were the colours. Isn't it a beautiful place? It's called the Palace of the Winds, and in olden times the ladies of the harem used to look out of the windows on the world going by.  It's hard to get a picture because of the busy road in front, and this was taken with a very wide angle lens.  If you want to see any more views you'll have to go to his website. Right I'm bored with techie things let's get back to my story.

So, back to Shimla and the country round about.  You will recall we travelled on the world's slowest train up to the hills where we were going to stay for three nights.  We were in a very swish hotel indeed - the Oberoi Cecil.  Our room had a balcony on the outside, though we didn't use it in case the monkeys got in and kidnapped me.
Here I am just outside our room sitting on a post on the balcony on the inside of the hotel.  The space below had the bar and some soft seating.  It's just as well that I have cloth ears because there was a grand piano down there. It was out of tune and the pianist was, how shall I put it, of limited ability, but he manfully played on two of the nights were were there. The Staff and Ann didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  (We did both, but it was lovely when he finished for the evening. It all added to the charm of the place.)

By risking life and limb, I was able to shuffle my bot back enough so that I could share the post with Lily.  We smiled though we were worried we'd fall over the edge and it was a long way down for a wee bear.  (Two wee bears. You were OK.) All very well for you to say, it wasn't you perched on the edge of a veritable precipice.  Next time I want danger money or ropes and pitons please. No I don't, I want danger money and ropes and pitons. (Oh don't be so dramatic you were quite safe.) Well maybe and at least I was spared a hot bot.

All the staff at the hotel were very friendly and the ladies wore beautiful saris.  I got seen several times and had to come out and be cooed over and patted.

We went down for a beer before dinner and it was all very pleasant apart from the ear bashing.  I just loved the spicy nuts as did the staff of course, and the beer tasted just nice after a long day on trains. Dinner was held downstairs, and though it was two floors down we still had a lovely view over the mountains. Here's the hotel and you can see it's on a steep hill.

Dinner was very, very tasty indeed. Ann had something fishy, nice but fishy, but Alan had something called burgh dhauladhari.  It was worth getting your teeth around the name because the dish was exceptional.  It had chicken in it and lots of spices, (tomatoes and chilli and garlic and ginger and cardamom and stuff) but what made it different were  the pomegranate seeds. Yes that's right, pomegranate, and it was scrumptious - so good that Ann had it the next night and Alan had it again the last night.  

We settled down and had a lovely sleep with no wake up call.  Next day after brekkers we set off on a wee tour of the town. Sadly it wasn't a good day but we didn't let that dampen our spirits. Here I am at the old Vice-Regal Lodge. (Note a cool bot this time.) In colonial times India was ruled from here for six months every year - because it's cooler in Shimla than down on the plains.  (It certainly was - we had jumpers and raincoats on.) Now it's an institute of higher education. It was the Presidential Lodge for a while, but then one president said that it should be better used, so it became an institute instead.

It stayed dry while we wandered around the gardens  and everybody's heart leapt when we got round the back of the Lodge because we could see the Himalayas.  It was quite hazy but even so they were there and lovely too.  Just so you, know they are 200 miles away so a bit of haze is not too surprising! Sadly, we only briefly saw them again and not at all the next day when we went out to look for them - but that's another story for another day.

When we'd finally looked all around the Lodge and seen all the boring photos of old people from long ago we went into the town. (Don't knock exhibitions they're very educational, but among the interesting photos there were some duds too.) There see, even you found some of them boring.

 By this time it was raining pretty hard so I only peeked out now and again. This picture shows how steep the hillsides are and we were convinced that one good storm and the houses would end up in the valley.

Anyway we wended our way back to the hotel and spent a lot of time just chilling out.

The next day we had another adventure and I'll tell you about that another time. (Next weekend I'm afraid as I'm off to London working for the next few days.) What! You slacker, I'm going to be in a huff for the rest of the week, so just don't expect me to be friendly. (Oh alright then I'll leave you at home shall I?) Well ..... I'll be a bit friendly, but you'd better behave.

Bye for now,

Grumpy   JOCK


  1. Oh Jock, you do have to put up with a lot, don't you? Or should I say "the" lot of them. It seems that Mr. Alan likes to put words in your mouth - don't let him, he is just trying to get into "your" limelight.

    I enjoyed the tour and certainly you and Lily do need to be paid lots of "danger money", don't accept checks, just cold, hard cash. Giggle.

    Hugs ♥

    Not to worry, he wouldn't dare leave you behind, much too dangerous for him. (o:

  2. The readers should get danger money for all the font changes o.O Still, have fun in London, we'll be there next bank holiday weekend...



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