Author of Madam, Have You Ever Really Been Happy? An Intimate Journey through Africa and Asia


It has only been two days since I left Maplewood, NJ, but what a two days this has been! Never mind the five plus hours to London, the layover at Heathrow, the ten hours to Delhi and the two hours to Bagdogra. Try adding another five hours driving to Gangtok over winding mountain roads that resembled dried river beds,  being held up  for one hour by a traffic jam (the only stretch of road being resurfaced, so far as I could see) and twenty minutes  to let two trains go by, and you can imagine the condition my body was in upon arrival.  But I’m not complaining. After only one day of roaming around this hilly town, visiting the Do-Drul Chorten Monastery, and poking around side streets and a main bazaar lining a modern pedestrian mall, my daughters, Cary and Martha, and I were once again immersed in the contradictions of modern India. You could see new buildings going up in rudimentary fashion next to shacks soon to be destroyed. Garbage and debris flowed in the gutters as you looked down several stories between buildings. Music blared, people swarmed in happy crowds, and children in crisp uniforms scampered to school. It is amazing how the cars careen over the hills with no guardrails, no policemen, and no traffic lights, and somehow manage not to run us down or take the sides off their cars.

We also visited the Sikkim Renewable Energy Development Association and learned of their work in solar energy and biogas production and will be visiting a rural biogas digester on our way to the Rumtek Monastery tomorrow.

It’s now Friday night and there’s a band playing down in the street. I won’t tell you it’s in tune, but it sounds as if they’re having fun! They then had a parade with people with placards demonstrating on behalf of the rights of the disabled. That’s the first time I’ve seen this in India. I’ve always felt that the sign of a progressive country is how it treats its people…all of them.

Time to go eat at A Taste of Tibet, and walk up the mountain to our hotel. And go to work on my jet lag. I want to be in good shape for the climb1

It’s great to get back to Asia. There are so many things here that remind me of Myanmar and Ladakh everywhere I look. I feel right at home….






  1. Hee, love to you all!
    Have a great time!
    love Trees (and Joris)

  2. Wow, The incredible three made it after losing a whole 24 hours sleep. But oh how I envy you wandering down the bazaars with the rich smells of Indian (Sikkim style) cooking and the wailing music. I would imagine I was back in the bazaars of Secunderbad, Hyderbad and Kerala. Stay well and absorbe the fun !
    Love to all
    God bless

  3. Wow, you’re on an odyssy for sure . .. I was in Heathrow same time as you??? didn’t see ya . . of course, I was heading to Orlando . . . vera

  4. Paul Sharar

    Hi Meg, Martha & Cary,
    Sounds like you are off to your usual peripatetic start to a great adventure. I’ll be interested to hear about the energy conservation programs you are seeing in Sikkim.
    All the leaves are down on my “Christmas oak” out front, so I guess we are in for a really cold winter. Happy treking. Paul

  5. Gullvi Eriksson

    Hi Meg,
    waiting to hear from you. In 10 days I am leaving. Hoping to catch up with you at Wongdhen House in Delhi.
    Love Gullvi

© 2024 Meg Noble Peterson