Travel Drama in Meghalaya and Assam (Northeast India)
I’m back in Cherrapunjee for the second time and will stay here for a week or so.
Cherrapunjee is called the “wettest place on earth” because it rains a lot here.
It’s a very small village but there’s a lot to see here (or around the area) and the nature is gorgeous.
The first time I was here a week or so ago I went to see the Mawsjmai cave and to me it wasn’t anything spectacular really (more of a tourist thing), but they had coffee there (not real coffee though) so that was a plus!
Here in Meghalaya they drink mostly tea so it’s not easy to find coffee unless you visit the cities.
Other things I did was visiting the Sohra market, which wasn’t anything special either (I’m used to farmers markets since I live in Spain and we have them weekly) but then I did a day-trip to the Double Decker Living Root Bridge and that was something special.
Really recommend it, will post pics soon on Facebook!
I also went to see the Nohkalikai waterfalls and it was beautiful (it’s the tallest plunge waterfall in India).
There are so many waterfalls here that I’ve lost count of how many I’ve seen, really special nature here 🙂
Travel Drama number 1
After Sohra (my first time here in Cherrapunjee) I went to a village near Bangladesh border but that turned out to be an unnecessary detour on my India travel.
I knew something would happen on my journey that day because I ignored the signs I was given (and I got them immediately when I woke up in the morning).
I really, really needed to get online (and I didn’t have internet access in Cherrapunjee) because I had some important website stuff I absolutely had to attend to so I said to myself that whatever mistake I might be doing I’m willing to take the chance and risk.
The signs began the same morning when I woke up and there were three signs in total.
The first sign was that as soon as I woke up I had a Boyzone-type of song in my head and the only sentence from the lyrics I heard was “.. and I made a stupid mistake, a stupid mistake“.
So I asked within what kind of ‘stupid mistake’ do I need to not do (what do I need to pay attention to in order to not make the mistake) and the thought came to me that I should not travel that day because it’s Sunday.
But I ignored that thinking that I have never had any issues traveling on Sundays in India before, everything is always ‘open’ here, traffic runs like any other day etc etc.
I know what the thought means though because in Scandinavia for example usually many shops are closed on Sundays and there’s less buses going and so on.
But I thought that that’s not happening in India.
Okay, so that was clue number two.
Sign number three came when I sat in the Jeep and we were all waiting for the car to be filled so that we could leave.
The thought came to me that I should ask for my money back and leave (and not travel on a Sunday!).
That’s when I said to myself that I’m willing to take the risk of making a mistake because I really had to do some critical updates on my website that I already was late in doing and I just couldn’t wait any longer.
So I took the chance, hoping the warning would not be about a car accident or something serious.
After a while (don’t remember how long the journey took as I have been traveling so much lately here and there) I arrived to a tiny little village just one kilometer from the Bangladesh border and from where I was suppose to take another shared Jeep for ten more kilometers to the village that was my final destination (Shnong Pdeng).
But what I found out as soon as I left the Jeep was that there weren’t any cars going anywhere that day.. because it was Sunday!
That’s when I knew what my ‘stupid mistake’ was.
The village people weren’t t very friendly, they were more like hillbilly type of people and they laughed at me when I stood there not knowing what to do and no one could help me (unless I paid them lots of rupees as they saw the opportunity to take advantage of my situation).
There were no places to stay, no guesthouses or anything so I said that “okay then, then I have to go back to Shillong” and asked them to show me where the Jeep to Shillong goes from and they again all laughed at me saying that there’s no more Jeeps going anywhere, .. it never does on a Sunday.
Gaah! There I was, not knowing where to go or what to do.
Okay, so this was my mistake I thought. Great.
Anyway, after a while two boys offered to drive me to the village if I paid them and so I gave them the money they wanted and finally arrived to the village, and there was nothing there!
A river, a few huts/houses, and a guesthouse type of place (I saw two guesthouses there) so I went and asked for a room.
They wanted 1000 rs for it! For a very basic dirty hut in the jungle, with holes in the walls etc (and no electricity and shared public toilet and shower with only cold water outside).
I manged to bargain the price down to 300 rs and stayed there for the night and then in the morning I left as soon as I possibly could.
Thankfully the mistake wasn’t bigger than that (no car accident or anything like that, phew!) and that all went well.
I can laugh at it now, it’s kind of comical how I made that completely unnecessary detour.
Here’s another post about when you go against your better knowing, I think you might like it: mariaerving.com/when-you-go-against-your-instincts
I went to Shillong from there and stayed there for a couple of days so that I could finally do some work on my website and catch up on emails etc.
What followed after that was a few days of challenges again with my traveling and that’s why I decided to go back to Cherrapunjee and catch my breath.
I hadn’t been able to sleep much in Shillong due to some party folks staying in the room next to mine and the walls were made of bamboo and very thin so I heard their loud laughter and talking all night long.
From Shillong I then decided to go to a place called Barpeta (in a different state called Assam) because it sounded like a nice place from the little research I had had time to do while in Shillong (not sure where I read that though now after I’ve been there).
This brings me to the..
Second Travel Drama
It took me 8 hours to get to Barpeta and once I got there I thought to myself that I can’t stay there, it’s really dirty, people didn’t speak any English (literally no English at all) and the food places, yuck..!
I didn’t dare eating dinner there because everything was really dirty and there were flies everywhere so I had some Indian bread, bananas and potatoes chips instead.
I was not willing to take any health risks especially since my travel insurance has expired.
After some walking around I found a “hotel” that was livable for one night but it was disgusting, absolutely disgusting.
The next morning at 5:30 I left the hotel and had to bang on several doors to wake up the management because they had locked me into the building even if I said that I would leave early in the morning.
Finally when I was able to leave the hotel I went to what I had understood was the “bus and Jeep stand”, hoping it would be the right place so that I could leave the town.
But in reality I had no clue because I couldn’t communicate with the people there and most of them looked like they had never seen a tourist before.
I felt I had to leave the hotel early in the morning just to make sure that I don’t miss any shared Jeeps should there only leave a few per day.
At 6:15 am I found a minivan that would go to Guwahait and I was extremely happy about that and found a seat where there weren’t any disgusting spit on the floor.
There are sometimes signs inside cars and buses that says it’s not allowed to spit inside and it’s just incredible to think about that you actually have to say that, that it’s not obvious to people.
Anyways, the minivan was quickly filled with people and we took off.
Then suddenly, about halfway to Guwahati (an hour/hour and a half later) we drove into a small village and that’s when it got really dramatic!
We were met with a group of around 50-60 really angry people and they were attacking the car, screaming and hitting the doors and windows, telling people to get out; there was a huge drama and commotion!
I could feel my heart pounding as I felt danger and thought to myself that I’m not getting out of the car, no effing way I’m getting out so I didn’t look any of the people in the eye and just sat there but then when the next person that would have to leave the car was me my instincts told me to get further into the van, into a safer corner where there were no doors.
So I crawled over the seats and managed to get to the safe spot and then the driver managed to drive away from there and we were on the road again (in the opposite direction, away from the angry mob).
When we left Guwahati we were around 15 people in the minivan (it was packed, we almost sat in each others laps) but when we left the angry crowd we were only around 9 people left in the car.
What happened to the other people I have no clue and what was alarming was that when I got to Cherrapunjee and chatted with my sister and told her about what had happened she did a quick Google search and told me that some days earlier there had been a terrorist attack in Sikkim where they had attacked a Jeep or bus and shot 5 people and two people were missing..!
I’ve heard about safety issues while traveling in Assam but didn’t take it very seriously, but apparently these things happen there.
I’m not ever going back to Assam other than for when I have to catch my train back to West Bengal from Guwahati (which is a big city).
It took me ten hours to get back to Cherrapunjee from Barpeta and I’m staying here for a week or so now.
No more travel drama for me, it’s enough now! 🙂