Progress has its pleasant side, too. Gangtok's main street, MG Road, is now closed to traffic. It has a nice new paved surface, and there is a wide granite road divider down the centre of the street, with benches placed on either side. The street was looking all festive for the International Flower Show. All of the town's residents seemed to have gathered at MG Road after dark on the inaugural evening of the Show. (The camera never came out of my bag for this reason!)We were told that they were waiting to receive 'VIP's. Not again! No, this time, we heard, they meant the Chief Minister and the Governor, and some bigwig from Delhi. When we saw that the crowds were growing, we decided we'd leave while we could.
Sikkim's people, we realized, are orderly in crowds. Nowhere in the region have I seen such large numbers of people move around without shouting, or shoving, or getting angry with one another. Before we could say 'All hail!’ the heavens opened. It was hailing! The crowds were still orderly, though in a hurry. We found shelter in a little tour operator's office and watched the hail turn the streets white in no time.
Oh, the beautiful flowers! What would become of them?
The next morning, to our relief, we found that Saramsa Garden had had only had a little rain, and no hail at all!
Among the attractions at the Flower Show were the performances by army bands, both at Saramsa Park, the venue of the flower show, and up at MG Road in Gangtok.