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Backpacking across North-East India
April 8: Howrah Railway Station> Salt Lake City> Arjun and Joie and their kid, ArjoeBack to land of my forefathers | to the gracious and happy hosts | to Pom Pom, the dog | to the heat of the city of joy | to Vodka and talks on the terrace | Drunken Weed induced conversations | Ghosts of the tall trees | pranik healing | eunuch shamshans | the sanitary pad gimmick | motherhood | The Mill on the Floss | April 9 and 10: Salt Lake City, Calcutta It all started with two beers | And talks about the nobel gene and noir movies | We meet one of Arjoe's four girlfriends | Then we go fetch more Millers | Pinku comes by | We drive to his house to smoke a chillum | We have rum | He plays the keyboard | We rush back | Arjun plays the guitar | I make terrible sounds which I pretend is singing | Joie sings | Her sister and a friend joins in |We smoke up more grass |They got white rum |We gulp down more | Pinku gives me contacts for Shillong |I can't figure out how to type | Then Arjun forgets the number | Punjabi songs are played |Joie and Lillian dance like happy lambs for an hour | Arjun plays | Lillian passes out on the couch | Joie keeps staring at the painting on the wall till 6 in the morning | We miss the morning train | We leave for NJP in 10 minutes by bus | April 11: 7 PM | Bus to Siliguri After 18 hours of traffic-laced bus ride through the potholed roads of Bengal | On the way a policeman gets up to video record all the passengers and ask really inappropriate questions of couples in the sleeper berth | April 12: Midday | Shared Auto Rickshaw to New Jalpaiguri Railway Station April 12: 6:30 PM | Train to Guwahati (Second Seating | Kanchanjunga Express) After 10 hours of train travel | including an incident of a thief snatching a woman's bag | Lillian sleeping through | we reach the dusty Guwahati | April 13: Early Morning | Guwahati Only few designated hotels allow foreign tourists | Hotel Surya | 1680 INR | Inner line permit for Indian Citizens | Mizoram House + Nagaland House | Beer night | Fancy hotel room fridge | April 14: 8 Am | Connecting bus from Palton Bazaar (on the other side of the Guwahati Railway Station) to ISBT | Bus to Gohpur (Violina's village) | April 14- April 17: Gohpur | Evening During Bihu | kids in Meghala Chador | Bihu courtyard dance | ducks | goats | cows | catching fishes | drinking rice beers | visiting the tribes | the Bodo | the Mising |the Karbi | the bamboo and mud houses |ponds | Tejpur | temples | the mighty Brahmaputra | Guptkashi | Security checks | Sunset | old structures |walking through villages | And Emon, the kid obsessed with earth movers and my sleeping bag | April 17: 7:30 PM | Night bus to GuwahatiApril 18: morning | Guwahati | Shared Tata Sumo (Maxi Cab) to Shillong | 2 hours to Shillong April 18: Shillong | Police Bazaar | Marwari Basa Hotel | 600 INR No bar for ladies | smuggling beers into the hotel | drinking with precaution | feels like conjugal visit | very small room | very small beds | possible bed bugs in blankets | Meghalaya, the abode of clouds | bought a book of Khasi folklore | April 19: early morning | Maxi cab to Cherapunjee | traditional name: SohraTraffic jam | Khasi Procession |the rooster flag | fog | the driver says even the sun takes rest on a Sunday April 19: afternoon | main market to lower Sohra by Maruti 800 cab | By the Way Guest-house | 250 INR per personLost among clouds | rain | a heart towards the east | the Shire of IndiaApril 19: Sohra Walk to the Seven Sisters' Falls | through smoggy fumes of the open coal mines | Eco park: head of the Seven Sisters' Falls | green small rolling hills and pastures | meet two Indian backpackers travelling for the last 8 months across India and Bhutan | April 20: bus to Mawshamok village Arrive in fog | walk into the valley | 700 metres steep into the valley | innumerable stairs | Nongriat | the land of the living roots bridges | single bridge | skinny dipping in the river | double decker bridge | rice and 'little' sabzi | jumping into the waterfall pond | REST HOUSE near the bridge | no other guests | no running water | April 21: Nongriat Sweaty and challenging climb to the foggy village head April 21: market day | walk from lower Sohra to upper Sohra April 22: SohraWalk to Mawasmai Caves | strike called by Khasi Students Union against BJP president's upcoming visit to Shillong | no tickets at the gate | no light in the main caves | walk into the sacred forests of the Khasi | No internet | April 23: shared Maxi cab to Shillong Leaving an emotional and slightly drunk and love lorn Heprit, our host at "By the Way" April 23: Shillong Back to Marwari Basa Hotel | slightly bigger room | a sick German Sheppard | I buy 'Look Back in Anger' and 'Gitanjali' | smuggle in beer | April 24: Shillong Long walk to the Don Bosco Museum | 7 floors of tribal artefacts and informations | inaugurated by Smt....