Today was a bit of a continuation of yesterday on several fronts: we clocked another 12+ kms on foot; we made a few discoveries about Barnes’ story – some we wanted and some we did not; we watched more monkeys – and this time ran from a few and we enjoyed the Indian world in which we find ourselves.
Here we go:
The morning was spent mapping out the next steps of the journey as they have changed somewhat based upon discoveries and such here in Shimla. Ritika arrived at the hotel last night – it is with she and Joshi (the owner) that we burned the midnight oil last night – and she jumped in to help us navigate the Indian booking systems. If only the VISA payment was as easy …
From there we trundled down the hill to Annadale – the polo field and golf club to which Barnes attended. Lovely stroll if a bit long and a bit downhill. There were all sorts of interesting views to salt our chat on solving the world’s problems…
At Annadale we enjoyed the military museum – a very well put together affair.
Inside the museum were various historical points including this one about birds in India that the birders in the group might appreciate. Given the date, size of India and quantity of birds, I am impressed by Jerdon’s accomplishment.
There were a few flaws in the presentation. Can you see the one here?
Not wanting to climb the hill back up, we hitched a ride with a friendly chap who brought us halfway up the slope and we then slowly strolled the rest of the way. As we neared the top, there was a real commotion of monkeys on the roadway and we followed the locals’ lead and gave a very wide berth. Monkeys are down right scary when they are riled!
The pace of the stroll afforded us ample time to absorb our surroundings.
Almost back in town, we stopped at a bank to convert some of the now illegal money to “accepted” money. This was a curious process involving the bank manager, sharing a chair with two soldiers, writing down serial numbers of the bills returned, offering a photocopied passport and taking receipt of 20 100s where once you had 4 500s.
Back up top, we had tea in a rooftop restaurant terrace. Now you have to know that there are LOTS and LOTS of monkeys in town. They swing, climb, trot , sit, screech, and – at times – menace. No matter where you look you will see them. Roof tops. Tree branches. Garbage cans. Window frames. Plumbing pipes. Electric wires. Car tops. EVERYWHERE. Well, our rooftop terrace was clearly the highway from above to below and it was … exhilarating and frightening all at once. Monkeys passed mere inches away from our seats for the entire time we were there. When one large male jumped onto the table of the lady in front of us and stole her bread, she lept into the air with a gurgled scream and scrambled almost as fast as the escaping monkey. It was easier for us to giggle in the moment than it was for her…
We made our way back home where Joshi invited us to join he and Ritika for dinner. The meal was amazing with dishes made from recipes inspired by our host.
And so ends our 5th day of chasing Barnes 🙂
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