Day 8 in Shimla

Sounds easy; not so fast. 

Today we transferred from the Oberoi Cecil to the Oberoi Wildflower a distance of 15km.....but in the wisdom of our Organizers they made it a 125 km trip so we could do some rallying between the two hotels. 

The day started out in glorious sunlight and we proceeded down the mountain to our first Regularity Stage. We did poorly again because our measuring equipment, a Monit 100 has been set up to receive GPS signals. On these mountain roads we need to have the system work on a wheel sensor; we’ll try to get the change-over done tomorrow or we’re never going to be competitive. 

Notwithstanding the competitive problems, the drive was beautiful; pine forests; lot of monkeys; relatively good roads and a lot less traffic. 

Our lunch stop was at The Palace. A beautiful home built in 1889 by the Maharaja of Punjab, a fellow named Patel or Pabel. He was the Indian ruler in this part of the country. One day he was in the town of Shimla and met and fell in love with the daughter of the highest British Official in these parts. At this time it was unthinkable for a white British girl to marry an Indian, no matter his wealth or status. But the couple got married and the British banned the Maharaja from ever entering the town of Shimla. So the Maharaja bought this adjoining hill/mountain, which was higher than the mountain where Shimla sits and built his bride this lovely Palace designed in Victorian architecture. He also built a cricket ground which is the highest cricket ground (in terms of altitude) in the world. The spot in Shimla where they met and fell in love is to this day referred to by the locals as Scandal Point. 

The rest of the day’s drive was weather-related. We had one more Stage, but out of nowhere it began to hail. Again the rain and hail came down with a vengeance. While we had only 30 km to drive to our hotel, it was a miserable drive. 

This hotel, like our previous one, is from the Oberoi chain. It is fabulous; proper bar; billiards room; card room; spa; pool; and lovely shops......a far cry from my $8 room last week.