Published: January 25th 2006January 24th 2006
Special offer today - Buy a pair of lungs with spinal column attached and we'll give you a free set of hooves and a raffle ticket to win the head too!
This bloody travel blog thing doesn't even have a category (again) for the whole district I've just been to so I've put it in the title (again).
I arrived in Shillong on the afternoon of the 18th having randomly deciding to leave a day early just because I happened to walk past the place where the Sumo's (looks like a landrover or something except cheap and nasty with no 4WD) leave from.
Pretty much as soon as I stepped out of the car in the usual initial disorientated 'which way is up' fashion a western girl (mid 20's) befriended me and walked me to my hotel. She was an anthropologist studying the tribal culture in Meghalaya over the next year and it would have been really interesting to find out what she knew but I never saw her after that.
As before there is a steady influx of Indian tourists here but a lack of western tourists. I suppose the attraction of coming somewhere where there is no westerners is that you are far more likely to meet local people and they are far more friendly towards you - this can of course also be a disadvantage when
I took these pics while in a bad mood at one point. It's not the best place I've stayed but at the end of the day you do only sleep there so who cares.
you've had too much of it.
The day after I arrived was the big market day in Shillong held at Bara Bazar and known as Lew Duh. It's the biggest market in the northeast so I made the effort to get up early to go and see it. It was pretty big I have to admit and had all the usual things going on. I knew I had arrived when I saw a taxi next to me pop his boot to reveal two half carcasses shoved loosely in the boot on top of the spare tyre etc. They were hauled out and put onto a couple of guys backs to be carried in the usual way - with a piece of rope that goes around whatever you're carrying and then around your forehead, which supports all the weight!
After I tired of that I went for a walk to see if I could check out the archery stakes that go on here every day where loads of people fire arrows at a pole and take bets on how many will stick. People as far away as Kolkata take bets on it. It never happened while I was hanging
I don't normally have a view like this but rubbish like this collects EVERYWHERE in India.
around but I did spend a lazy afternoon lying in the sun and wondering around the stadium. There is a whole bunch of other things in Shillong to see but as nice as they are they are quite literally not worth writing home about.
When I left shillong and caught a sumo back to Guwahati I met my first Jaintia family (mother and son only) who were going to visit the daughter in hospital. They are extremely hospitable and bought me lunch and a drink despite me trying to tell them I wasn't going to eat because I wasn't hungry. As usual we exchanged contact details and I think I will look them up if I ever come back...
I also learnt a lot here, as in other places, about the history and culture and while there is no point in me extending my already too lengthly essays to talk about the history for those who are interested I thought I would mention that Shillong was originally where the British based their capital in India and they called it the scotland of the east. It was quickly relocated though due to bad weather! This whole of the northeast of India has an incredibly dense and diverse tribal population with three main groups in Meghalaya - Khasi, Jaintia and Garo. The population is also now 90% which one of the 'successes' of the british here.
I was based in Shillong from the 18th-24th.