Day 9: In the tea fieldsWe've reached Darjeeling, the worlds tea capital and for hours we've been driving with fields of tea on either side of us.
According to some sources, Darjeeling produces 10 million Kg of Tea. In the year 2000, exports of tea produced in Darjeeling earned the country more than USD 30 million. Tea production is the pride of Darjeeling, with nearly 50% of the inhabitants of the district engaged in some form or other with it's production.
This is the India me and Ivan wanted to see, not miles and miles of endless smooth tarmac, the NH5 and nothing but lorries. We've driven (or been driven) for days and seen very little of what we came to see. I don't think we've seen any temples, or at least we've not stopped and looked at any and it's occurred to me that, although we came to India to see the country we can only really go home with stories relating to the roads.
Nick is at the wheel again, despite his promises and he's still looking totally exhausted, even after my deliberate sabotage of his early wake up call this morning.
By mid-morning, Ivan and I had forced him to pull over so we could take a piss (yeah it's got to the point where he is even arguing about whether we should get out and take a piss, for fear of 'losing the race' - what a nutjob) and we went for a walk in the tea fields of Darjeeling.
For the first time in a long time, I must admit that I felt free and on holiday.
After making a stand against this crazy race, I finally felt like we were on a journey and not heading for a destination.
As Ivan and me walked through the tea plantation and Nick passed out by the side of the road, it dawned on me.
We had done this all wrong and I was partly to blame for backing the whole scheme in the first place. I hope Ivan finds it in himself to forgive me for backing that lunatic.