Another day and even more traveling. My
next destination was Shillong in Meghalaya. As soon as we left Anurachal
Pradesh the landscape changed again to flat plains. Roads were much
better quality but the monotonous sound of the engine put me to sleep
again, I woke up whilst we were crossing the mighty Bramaputhra. Not
much later we entered the highway and I managed to sleep once more. At
one point we had to swap cars… There were state selections in
Meghalaya so it was wiser to drive a car with local license plates…
Meghalaya was once again a
very hilly state and it also officially houses the place on earth with
highest annual rainfall. I noticed we were close as during lunch I had
to move from the terrace to a table inside, as if Meghalaya wanted to
make it’s point. We passed a beautiful lake on our way to Shillong and
of course made a stop a viewpoint. I could not decide what was the best,
the view or all the Indians posing for the countless selfies.
Shillong was the first
place on my trip I could not connect with. Houses were cramped on the
slopes of the hills and the traffic was horrendous. Perhaps it was the
slight rainfall that made the city less attractive, maybe it was the
abundance of grey, I could not really point a finger at it.
I checked in at my hotel
just after four after which there was not really a lot to do and the
last thing I had on my mind was a stroll through the city centre. Wifi
wasn’t working, sorry Sir, so instead I enjoyed a black masala tea
whilst updating my journal and had a late afternoon nap before dinner at
the basil & thyme fine dining restaurant. The name sounded much
posher than the place deserved but what’s in a name.
Later that evening I
returned to the restaurant and made my choice from the menu. Once again
the first couple of items of my liking were not available. What is the
use of having an extended menu if half of the items are unavailable.
Neither was the Sprite, in spite of the fact that I was told earlier
that was the only cold drink available. Ok, a fresh lemon soda then.
Sorry Sir… at that time I lost my temper for the first time during my
stay in India, told the waiter to cancel my order and left.
Fortunately I found the
trendy LightOp Cafe nearby and enjoyed some fried wantans and Singapore
Noodles with pork. It was extremely popular with youngsters and I could
see how many of them were engaged with their telephones instead of their
friends at the same table. How many selfies can one have on your phone?
For the girls apparently never enough. With my stomach filled I
returned to my room. It was only eight o’clock but as there was nothing
else to do…
After breakfast I
discussed the program with Rubul and he told me there was right now not
really a big point of going to Cherrapunjee, the wettest place on earth.
It’s a 75 km drive one way but the place only really shows is
magnificence during the rainy season. 150 kilometers (at Indian speed)
just for the sake of having been there was a bit over the top. So I
proposed to skip Cherrapunjee and instead visit the Kamakhya Mandir
Hindhu temple once we were in Guwahati. And so we did.
But as we drove all the
way to Shillong we visited the Shilong peak first. It was a long and
winding way but finally we made it till the entrance of an Indian
Airforce Base that we had to cross to get to the peak. We had to wait
another 15 minutes before the gates opened after which we were told…
“Sorry sir, no foreigners allowed, new regulations as of September the
first”. Rubul was embarrassed but I could only laugh, these things
And off we went to the
elephant falls, first backtrack the long winding road and then a couple
of kilometers further on we arrived at the falls. They were named after a
piece of rock that resembled an elephant but unfortunately it was
damaged during a 19th century earthquake.
The rock vanished, the
cascading falls remained but being there in dry season was not the best
time. Still it gave me an opportunity to mess around with my camera
settings as I usually do at waterfalls.
But somehow Meghalaya did
not have the appeal to me I had hoped for. Maybe my stay was just to
short, maybe it was not my thing. Whatever the case, I was not sad to
return to Guwahati for my last sightseeing from this part of the tour…
Continue to the Assam Experience