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Published: January 30th 2006
You get a couple of these with every meal in India
I made friends with the guy on the left and promised to send him one of the photos I took. He seemed really pleased and proud that someone wanted to take photos of his stall - like I said no tourists here normally.
Summary: A bit boring I'm afraid I go on mostly about language, a posh english guy and how i'm accumulating so many phone numbers i can probably open a local telephone directory soon.
This place is 'off the beaten track' and recieves little to no foreign tourists - it does however get a steady flow of Indian tourists. Guwahati has a few mildly interesting sites but nothing amazing as yet - I haven't been to the Kamakyah sacraficial temple yet. It's importance comes as a central hub to the surrounding area and Indians arrange tours to National parks etc from here. It is however good to get a feel of a completely different type of India. People here are different and coupled with the lack of westerners this means you get a very different impression of the place. Things move a little slower and there is'nt the rip culture you get in places like Agra and Varanasi so it's a lot less hard work. Visiting local markets here has been one of my favourite things about the place.
I'm really starting to notice the difference in languages a lot more now - the local language here is Assamese (The
district is Assam). They don't really bother with using Hindi here as they have in other places I've been in India so far (that is aswell as the other regional languages spoken in each place). The regional languages seem an important part of peoples identity throughout the northeast and I think that has a lot to do with it but could be wrong... It's worth noting that there are literally hundreds of languages spoken throughout India many with several of their own dialects!
I saw two western people in my time here and made the effort to speak to them both. The first was a young woman working in a local hospital that I passed at a temple and the second was a very well spoken English guy (mid 30's) who was working here as a proffesional photographer and seemed to know rather a lot about the Royal family. He was the only one I really spoke to and I had dinner and a couple of drinks with him one night. I really like him and felt really sorry for him at one point when he told me he never really liked football at school as he was always
Naba Graha (Nine Planets) Temple
English was a problem here but the guy who looks after the place, shown here was kind enough to explain as much as he could and then of course give me the obligatory Puja (kind of a blessing).
the last one picked to be on the team. He had a really childlike manner and I wondered how someone like him was capable of surviving out here but he was suprisingly capable judging by the things he told me he had been doing. His trip here was paid for as a gift for looking after a friends farm in Kenya for a month or something and he has spent time here before photographing some of the tribes that live in the far northeast. We talked about the possibility of getting a car together and taking the weeks spectacular journey up to Tawang monastry as he knew how to get a permit quickly and seemed to have various contacts but nothing came of it in the end. Shame really as he was armed with all sorts of very very expensive equipment (none of it digital by the way) such as rangefinders and large format cameras which for me would have been great fun. It's funny how such a small meeting with someone can really stand out in your mind.
The local people I meet here all seem to be even more friendly than normal and if I speak to
Nothing special on the outside but look a bit deeper and you can find lots going on.
someone for more than a minute then that warrants exchanging contact details. As one man put it after trying to help me find a memory card reader to upload photos - 'it is such a rare occurrence you know'. They all offer their services if you need anything at all. I met several people one day at the market who all wanted to befriend me. One guy persisted in talking to me about politics (not my strongest subject to say the least!) and I kept nodding my head and trying to put in appropriate comments while the whole time thinking things like 'that would make a great photo' or 'what the hell is that!?'. At the same place I met an English teacher who said he would try to organise a visit and perhaps some voluntary work for me at the local school. All of the people, as a matter of course, gave me their details. I did however think better of doing a little conscience massaging and decided if I was going to do that it would be better at a place which really needed help.
As for Guwahati and the sights I've seen well I'll let the
There are a colony of these apparently extremely rare animals living on peacock island where umananda temple is
photos give a rough jist.
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