Afternoon Tea in Darjeeling

As you’ve probably seen from our domination of the live text message board, we arrived in Darjeeling on Thursday 11th January in time for afternoon tea. And what a place to finish… The 60km road up to Darjeeling is the most spectacular mountain road I’ve ever driven. Tom couldn’t have picked a better finishing point. Darjeeling is perched on a ridge some 2200 metres above sea level in the Himalayas. A far cry from Cochin, some 3700km away (as our route took us), this place is cold.

Twisty road up to Darjeeling

We’d separated from the main convoy several days previously when we took our Rickshaw in for it’s 2000km service. This was pretty much essential as our brakes were useless. The only way they were effective was by driving with the handbrake on a few clicks. Despite some early morning starts and minimal faffing (unavoidable in large convoys) we were unable to catch Tom and Shanti Shanti. In fact we gave up hope after we spent a day in one of the National Parks. A nice experience that we shared with the film crew who we kept bumping into in random places. No tigers or elephants though.

Expecting to roll into Darjeeling alone, the day before we encountered both The Beagle Babies from New Zealand and The Boondogglers while we ate bananas at the side of the road. First pulled up the Kiwi’s and just as we were pulling away, the Boondogglers appeared. We set of in convoy but due to numerous lorries and pot holes this didn’t last so long. Despite breaking up, we all rolled into Darjeeling within an hour of each other.


Making our way up the hill, we suddenly encountered Rich of the film crew (again), who had been watching us come up the hill for some time. We were surprised to learn that Bombay the Hard Way and A Nice Cup of Tea were actually behind us when we thought they were a day ahead. After a lot of posing for the camera and set up driving shots, they managed to catch us for the last 15km drive to the finish.

Nick, Tim, Harriot, Espe and Andy

Arriving in Darjeeling with two of the teams we’d spent a lot of time with and being cheered in by the other 4 teams of the original convoy was a great experience. The only problem was the general fatigue which left me feeling rather empty.

The following day Tom and Dan had arranged a procession of all the Rickshaws (27 of the 34 have made it so far) through the town accompanied by a brass marching band. This was followed by the finishing ceremony in one of the schools before we got beaten 7-3 in a game of football with the locals. This was followed by an evening on the beers meeting other teams and swapping stories. I feel the Boondogglers deserve a special mention. Benji, Robbie and “Roger” currently work for NGO’s in Bombay and are all top fellows. Hopefully we’ll be able to meet up with them in Bombay in a couple of weeks.

Finish Ceremony

After a few days of celebration, rest, and over eating I’m finally in a state where I can get online and write something comprehensible. Apologies for the lack of updates while on the road. There just wasn’t time. I’ll try to make up for that over the next couple of days with a series of posts designed to give you a feel of our experiences on the run.

Off road parking

7 thoughts on “Afternoon Tea in Darjeeling”

  1. Well done guys, what a journey!!! Looking forward to some pics. Thought you were supposed to play cricket and eat cake when you arrived, not football??!! Anyway, glad you arrived ok cabrones!!

  2. good work guys but in hell did you let them beat you at football, cricket i could understand. whole trip sounded ace very jealous sat at my pc in dark london town. see you soon

  3. Great job Andy!! Thanks for taking the time to put stuff up on your site.

    It was so very difficult for Susan and me to leave the event…yet we had to, no choice really. I’m so happy so many folks made it, really am. My Dad’s memorial service was nice but on the whole I think a procession of beat-up rickshaws lead by a brass band would have cheered me just as much. Maybe more. :o) Again, good on you both for finishing!

  4. Hi Guys

    Hope your well, so good to meet you both and what great couple of weeks !!!! We just chilling in the Beach in Goa alright. Dont leave till 20 so penty of time for party drinking and ………. Have an azaming trip and get in touch soon x o x o PS Andy, my face hair is looking pretty good now

  5. Thanks for all the comments people. It’s really heart warming to hear the words of support… and abuse. Believe it or not this post was ready to go, spell checked with photos, but then in the internet cafe I was in, the “server went down”. I’m attempting to rectify this now. And the reason for the delay? I’ve spent the last 3 days in a remote village in the Himilayas with one of the Mercy Corps teams. A fantastic experience. More to follow on that soon…

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