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Yesterday was not good . My son had his phone and bank cards robbed on the 18 hour sleeper train from Varanasi to Darjeeling . He’d fallen asleep listening to music and some thief had spotted an opportunity . Really put a downer on what’s been an amazing trip so far.

We finally made it up into the mountains to Darjeeling late last night . What a place ! Totally different, and a nice relief to be honest, from the madness of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur ..haven’t heard a horn beep all day !

Unfortunately, because of the robbery , Dan had to spend most of the day blocking bank cards and recovering his work contacts for when he goes back to Sydney .

I wondered off into town . Great vibes. The air is clear and the atmosphere calm and relaxing. The people have a different look here. From what I can gather they are Gorkha Indians ( not to be confused with the Gurkhas of Nepal ) but are Nepali speaking Indian citizens . There is an increasing people’s movement for this area to have its own statehood away from West Bengal .

I wondered into Chawrasta public square and found a space at the foot of some steps leading to a big screen and bandstand . Turns out the whole community came out to watch the World Cup on the big screen last year.

Plonking the jumpers down I waved a few folk over for a game...after about 5 minutes, Akshal Rai, Gourav Poudhan, Milan Baxaiky and the marvellously musically named Nawang Tamang joined me for a game . They were all 17 year old art students at Rama Kishna School .A couple of little guys were hanging around and they went in the goals for each team, Enock Subba and Masuring Risa . I helped Masuring in nets because he was so tiny .

Nawang and Gourav were on our side . They had an immediate chemistry ..quick one-twos and plenty of flicks and tricks on show. We took a 2-0 lead. Akshal was a cracking player for them..bamboozaling body movements opening up space to draw his team level .

Enoch in their goals had found his confidence and was diving about like De Gea....saving the impossible and getting rounds of applause from the gathering spectators .

For all our flurries, strikes and body blows , the two teams ended the game at 5-5 like evenly matched boxers.

Talking to the chaps after , they all wanted to join the army after leaving school. It seems to be a really well respected and honourable thing to do here . They all regarded themselves as Indian Gorkhas and were very proud of the fact . They were also the first people I’d met in India who preferred football to cricket !

Beautiful place , warm and welcoming people and the best post boxes in the world 😁❤️🇮🇳⚽️

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