We said goodbye to Sam's parents at the Tea Estate in the morning before they drove off to the airport and the mood was of mutual sadness, it doens't feel like they've been here for very long. We sat and sulked for a little while in our room before the daughter of the family, Dipika came to ask if we'd like some tea. We sat in the dining room and enjoyed sugary Darjeeling tea and a chat about what we do. Dipika is studying history at colege in Darjeeling before she goes to Kolkata to do an MA.
The morning was spent sat on the step outside our room writing our diaries and watching Dipikas 2 younger cousins play fighting and the boy drwaing on his biceps saying "superman" and the girl playing with an empty foundation container, patting the remnants of white powder onto her cheeks and looking at herself in the mirror. As soon as we got the camera out they came running over, they wanted their photo taking and, that done, they wanted to take some photos of their own. We gave the girl the camera and she took over 150 photos of Sam, Me and the boy cousin (and also some of her own face). We had a delicious lunch then threw on our walking shoes and headed off into the tea fields to hopefully see some tea-pickers at work. Sadly we had no such luck as it is Sunday but we came across a lane leading down through the tea bushes so followed it for a while. We saw a tunnel spider in a tea plant and I tried to take a photo of a yelow and black caterpillar on macro but when I got close the first time he attacked the camera lea dn the second time it lanched itself at my leg! The views of the valley down below us were lovely as it had turned into a clear afternoon. We walked down for several hours, traversed the hillside a little then after pondering over a Hindu grave (as we thought Hindus were cremated) we headed back up to the road. Although the road was not busy we decided that it was much nicer walking in the fields so we took a path down back in the direction of our homestay. We fought our way through the overgrown tea bushes and reached the path which led through the forest back- I looked down and what did I see, a leech! One of the 'searching' leeches with a really long body and one end streches out and searches for something to stick to! I saw one on my shoe so we stopped to get it off and then I saw 2 on my other shoe trying to get through the mesh. I took one shoe off and Sam de-leeched it and I did the other one then we headed straight back to the road. When we arrived at the house, Shila (the mother) made us tea and it started to rain so we sat in our room and wrote our diaries and planned the next potential section of our trip to the NE states. There was a powercut so we wrote by candlelight for a little while before giving up and getting into bed.
(Note to self- always put moquito net up if in doubt as I was pestered by the little critters buzzing past my ears all night!)