Guwahati was intense with the hustle and bustle of a tightly populated city, and after three nights getting back to full strength, ultimately rejuvenating. A couple of short rides first to Jagiroad where the change from flat to hilly terrain emerged, and then on to Nagaon saw changes in the appearance of the people, too: the genes were clearly more of Asian than Indian origin, which may explain the more relaxed temperament of the people.
From Nagaon to Lumding I was stalked along the flat by motorcycles through regular towns and villages, the road gradually becoming lined with thick forest and continually undulating with large sections incomplete. The motorcycles and cars thinned out leaving only groups of road workers digging drainage ditches and lining them with rocks held in place with cement by hand! It looked like a laborious, long-term project through an area that felt remote and eery.
Lumding was clearly not a place exposed to many Westerners and even fewer of the Lycra clad cycling variety. Each stop for directions towards a guesthouse brought tens of people out of the woodwork to find out from where I had come, and to take pictures. On finding a hotel, another resident invited himself into my room, while I was shuttling the bags and bike up the stairs, to introduce himself and quiz me about everything and anything that sprung to mind. ‘Yes, yes, very good, but it’s time for you to leave now.’ – awkward! My yoga session was then interrupted by a cold-caller knocking at the door who appeared to have wandered in of the street, found out my room number then to tried pitch me on something or other. ‘Can we discuss this later? I’m in the middle of something.’ Dressed in only pants and a tee shirt, dripping in sweat – I never saw him again.
A Media Interview, Extremists and Police Escorts – Just Another Day On The Road
I’ll let the videos tell the story from Lumding to Dimapur and I’ll interject to correct my garble.
The first twenty-five miles to Diphu were hot and slow over rough ground, through deep muddy pools of water constantly ascending and descending over short tight peaks. The gentleman at the hotel that had directed me to the road also warned me that it was rough and bumpy but that I might find it exciting! At the time I thought it an odd choice of words, little did I know what was to follow….
The interview didn’t show up anywhere but my mug shot turned up on this Facebook page: Karbi Anglong
The cycle to Manju was a ten mile detour to join the highway east towards Dimapur, which was encouraged by those who gave me directions in Diphu. The road I had intended to take, although shorter, was not recommended.
I eventually reached Dimapur (not Bimapur!!) as it was getting dark.
I’m now in Imphal for the next couple of days before heading to Myanmar on the 14th of September.