(Shillong-Scotland of the East):
Neeraj was quick to respond and an arrangement for the bike to be picked up and repaired was made by him through the local Royal Enfield Service Centre. After handing over the bike, I left to explore Shillong. I was put up in a nice hotel in the main area of Shillong called Police Bazaar. I took a local cab, since my bike was getting ready for the road ahead. The day trip in Shillong consisted of certain places of importance. The first place I went to was the Shillong Peak also known as the Shillong Viewpoint. It is just a normal spot from where the entire capital city of Shillong is visible, In one glance. The peculiarity of this place is that it is located inside the Army Cantonment area, so there is thorough frisking of the travellers before entering. Also ensure that you have a photo identification proof ready for perusal. Next was the Elephant falls which is the shining star of Shillong. Divided into 3 separate areas of water flow, one has to descend a flight of around 50 steps for each area. It was just mesmerising. Some photographs and a steady climb up from the base area of the waterfall took me to the parking area. Then I set off to visit a lovely lake called the Ward's lake. This lake has it all. A big waterbody, clean grass all around, some beautiful flowers and above it all, a stunning silence. A silence in which you could hear yourself. Perks of travelling alone, ain't it? Moving on we halted at a zoo-park called the Lady Hydari park. Some unhappy Black Himalayan Bears and chirpy Geese was all that I could see. They were inside unclean enclosures. I hope that the entry fee that we pay, eventually is used for the actual development of these areas. The visit to the Cathedral Church followed. The silence and the serenity of the holy place was enough to freshen up and setup some really good vibes. It was now time to visit the Shillong Golf Links. This is a large area of lush green natural turf, where apparently golf is played on weekends by the locals. On seeing this place I was reminded of Khajjiar in Dalhousie and how Khajjiar is known as the Mini Switzerland of India. The Golf Course in Shillong was so much more clean than Khajjiar, which has now become a purely commercial place with lots of crap around. It clearly struck to me that Shillong is such an underrated hill station. It has a beautiful waterfall, a very calm lake, some lush green outfields, and a viewpoint just like any other hill station. Definitely Shillong doesn't receive the attention of a tourist like any other mainstream hill station in the north. I returned back to my room after having a light meal. Lots of good cafés around the Police Bazaar area, if you want to have an experience of the local culture. After walking down to another market area called the Barra Bazaar, I came back to my room and ensured that I get a good night's sleep before the drive next day to Mawlynnong-Asia's cleanest village.