|There are a lot of shops in Darjeeling with posters or photographs showing this hill-station at its best; usually there will be some women in the foreground picking tea on one of the many estates with the snow-capped Himalayas in the background sitting under a clear blue sky. Unfortunately the reality during monsoon season is very different: the cloudy grey skies hide the mountains, the threat of rain hangs over the hills and the air is constantly damp. So not the best time to be here then.
There is a noticeable change in people though, that northern-Indian mentality of "me first" and "money, money, money" are thankfully not as prevalent here. Its possble to have a conversation with an Indian and the conversation doesn't end with a suggestion to visit some family relatives shop or an offer to be a guide (for a fee of course).
The threat of rain hung over my entire time in Darjeeling, so I was a bit slow at getting out and about. One of my visits was to the excellent Darjeeling zoo which has more than its fair share of rare animals such as the extremely rare snow leopard, clouded leopards, red pandas, and of course the tiger. Its only a small zoo but for this part of the world the animals appear to be well-cared for.
I spent some evenings at Joey's Pub which has some rather eccentric staff and swapped stories with a few fellow travellers.