After breakfast, Natalie and I stepped outside of our hotel’s restaurant to a procession of monks and lay people descending Tibet Road in celebration of Buddha’s birthday. We made our way to Mahatma Gandhi Marg, the pedestrian-only road which marks the center of city life (at least as far as tourists are concerned). The quiet road was a much-appreciated oasis after the incessant honking jeeps of Darjeeling.
Clouds began to approach in the early afternoon so we took shelter in Bakers Cafe, which had all the hallmarks of a western-styled cafe (including a tasty cappuccino, my first in months). We used the time to get to know each other a little better. I admired Natalie’s willingness to take on long term travel in India (and unexpectedly, Nepal) as a single woman.
When the rain let up, we made our way back to the hotel restaurant where Cameron was hanging out (we had planned to meet him there sometime that afternoon). We began to discuss the sightseeing options along with Dave (Australian) whom Natalie and I had met earlier. I wanted to see Tsomgo Lake which sat at an altitude of 3,800 meters. I was sold by two factors, reaching a new high in terms of altitude and the chance to go for a yak ride. Natalie was eager to seen snow-capped mountains and thus wanted to do a multi-day jeep tour of the north.
We found a tour agency on the pedestrian road that afternoon which managed to obtain our permits for the lake trip on short notice, thus allowing us to head there the next day. We also shared our intention to book a 3-day/2-night jeep tour of the north through them for the day after. Our plans settled, we enjoyed a cozy dinner at Tangerine, overlooking the Himalaya at sunset.