Day 34 : 24th October 2019
Need to tell about the hotel we stayed on Day 33. It’s called Kalpataru at Silchar and the front desk acted as if they had lots of business. We stayed here during our onward journey and we don’t know better hotels in this town. When enquired about the rooms, they said “no rooms available” and later started showing the costly ones to us. Business tactics and we negotiated with them to bring it down by a whopping 150 rupees per room (still costly for the quality of the rooms). Didn’t want to go out and went to their restaurant and the guy who attended us won’t survive for a day in Mumbai.
The restaurant was really dark and we asked him to increase the lighting (only 3 of us were there). He enlightened our table only and came back with the menu. Asked him what is good and he told only one item with baingan in it. We asked for other items and he went back to baingan or some paneer stuff. When we asked for “Mix veg”, he showed us a face as if we asked for “Pasta or Pizza”. His response was better than the reaction. “It has all the vegetables and won’t be good to have” and we went for it. Very ok dinner but an hungry stomach can’t demand much.
Went to sleep at 9 pm and somebody tried to open my room door (locked inside) and then banged it couple of times and then pressed the bell at 10 pm. Without getting up I asked “who is it” in Hindi and there was no response. After few minutes, the same thing happened and got up to see through the fisheye. Nobody was there and I thought it could be some bhoot or ghost. Went back to bed expecting more knocks or disturbance but slept immediately. In the morning, I was explaining the same to Naren and it happened to him as.well. The hotel guys were trying to deliver the bill or invoice for our stay and tried their luck to enter my room and deliver it personally.
Unfortunate for Naren, he got up and collected it. When I was leaving in the morning, they came after me and gave me a copy. Completely professional approach except the barging in attempt. Looks like India revolves around Tea (except the madrasis) and saw a tea shop open at 5:30 and had few customers as well. It was a makeshift shop and looks like a popular one or the only one in this area. Had our share of tea and started the day’s ride. It was cloudy and started drizzling and was worried about the rain. Didn’t want rain to happen and stop our progress to Guwahati. Cold morning, chill winds and empty roads (at 6 am) ensured a steady speed and reduced by the potholes frequently.
Still covered more than 50 kms in the first hour. Crossed Assam and entered Meghalaya. Whoever named this state as “Meghalaya” was a genius. The state is always covered by clouds and we witnessed this even during our onward journey. Meghalaya means “The abode of clouds” and the state starts and ends with ghats and clouds gives it a nice romantic feel. Beautiful and smooth roads and it was a pleasure to ride and enjoy the natural surroundings. It started raining moderately (not bad for riding but need an umbrella to cover you from becoming wet) and we continued our journey.
After few minutes, the roads and we both got completely wet and slowed our speed to less than 50 kms per hour. Ascending the mountains means “it becomes lot more colder” and accompanied by rains. Every inch of our riding gear and body was wet and I was trembling while riding. It became difficult after some time (my jacket comes with rain resistant and cold weather liners and I didn’t bring it). We wanted to reach Jowai for breakfast (160 kms from Silchar) and thank some friends who helped us with the Immigration issue.
We stopped multiple times and try to generate heat artificially. We reached Jowai and couldn’t feel my hands and my feet were floating inside the riding boots. Entered the restaurant and the girl sitting at the counter gave us a glass of hot water after seeing our condition (shivering and trembling). Instead of drinking, I was holding the glass with both the hands and that gave massive relief. It took more than 15 minutes inside the restaurant to become normal. Met 4 youngsters from Mumbai having food and started talking. Good to see the younger generation has started exploring places within the country and these guys had already visited Arunachal pradesh, assam and now spending time in meghalaya.
No girls in their group and they looked relaxed ( no offense and just fun). Our friends had arrived and they are busy completing the preparation for NH7 weekender event. I had mentioned about this earlier in Day 8 blog. Final preparations are happening (even when it is raining) and around 300 people are working on various activities (installing barricades, electrical work and stage creation etc.). You get to see heavy truck traffic in this area (because of sand stone and coal mining) and all of it would be stopped during the event (3 days during the first week of November). Ordered food (lunch at 11:30 am) and finished it along with discussions about the journey, immigration issue.
Thanked them for their help (got some colonel friend to call the customs officer) and promised the to visit again. Add Jowai to your visit list and a beautiful place with excellent weather. Another interesting thing to be shared. On the road, the communication with the truck drivers becomes interesting. When we want to overtake, we give them horn and notify our intention to overtake. They check the oncoming traffic and then wave their hands as their approval. When we cross, we raise our hands or show thumbs-up sign and receive a response horn as “thanks accepted” gesture. Love it and kept doing it again and again for overtaking and the communication as well.Another 2800 kms to be done in the next 6 days and let’s see how it takes shape.