First days in Meghalaya

The weather forecast is not right all the time. It does not rain that much, than it’s predicted. At the morning of friday, 25th, I leave the hotel. And I am very happy about the decision.
Arriving at Byrnihat I have to get one village back by tuktuk, to stay for the night. At the hotel reception I am so inpatient, always these questions about the Corona issues….puh.

Just on the way the next morning, coming into the state of Meghalaya I get stopped from some officials. I have to make a Corona test. The police brings me to the Corona test center. Totally uncoordinated organising…. during the whole process I have the feeling, that I showed my passport more than 10 times, in fact it was maybe just 5 or 6 times. Because of that, and mostly when I did not expect it again, just putting the papers back in my bag, ‚Can I see you passport again‘ I really cant believe it. Is this here a patient/inpatient training center. Looking at it, in myself there is something inpatiently waiting to open up, and I am also so impatient about it its so uncomfortable, so it manifests in this chaotic outside Corona test center. Anyway, the result is negative. ‚You can go‘. Backpack sorted, on my back, leaving the area, someone says…. ‚Ohhh, please come back, can I see your passport again?’….. All together it took 3h.
The road is going upwards. I have to do 450 elevation meters today. A heavy shower for half an hour. The river is brown and full. It has washed some small shacks away. The jungle looks amazing. And the redbrown soil is fascinating me. Beautiful colour games between water, soil, sky, sun…. I have to cross a little pass. On my map I see a hotel on top, perfect place to stay for maybe two? nights? A mistake in the map….. ‚After 5 km you will find something in ‚Nongpoh’…. Its already dark because of the 3h Corona test. But… there is no place to stay in Nongpoh…., people start to sent me from here to there, one person even says again ‚I think in 5km, there is….‘ No, I dont walk any further. I end up at the police station. They have one empty room, a broken sofa and some possibilities to fix my mosquito net. In the end I combine the sofa with the net, and I sleep much better, than I expected. I feel even relaxed next morning, more calm in my body, as since weeks not anymore. Is it already the hill atmosphere?

Before Umsning I have some kind of lunch in a very litte cosy light colour painted shack with very nice female family stuff. So only thing without meat is just plain rice. But… they have a very nice sort of rice, which makes my stomach so comfortable. Because I am so hungry, and there is only chicken and fish offered, but also cooked eggs… I have all together 5 eggs, the first eggs since 1 year and 9 mounth. They give me enough strength for the last actions of the day. Again complications to find a rest place. The marked hotel is booked from the government, only health workers… The owner lady sent me to another place, its a rural floral and plant training center. Its sunday, so the office is not open. Finally the director want to welcome me…. but his colleges, with whom he has to recheck in this pandemic don’t agree…. That means for me….another five km to the next police station. Negociating with the in charge police officer, I realise, my inpatients has transformed into some calmness, what a release and success. The police officer in charge is somehow searching for a solution, somehow helpless. At a lot of police stations it looks like a car parking, partly like a car cemetery. If there has been a car accident at the street, damaged cars in India get parked at the police station. Also, if owners have to pay a fee, and they can’t, police likes to take the motorbike or car. Part of the penalty can be also the confession of the vehicle for some time. Anyway, the solution is today, to sleep in a truck. This is the first night in month, that I need a blanket at the early morning hours. Luckly the owner left a little dirty looking like cover there. Warm. Nice.

Here and there are little land slides, workers are active with mashines to carry the redbrown sand, with only some big rocks in it, to better locations. Somehow, most of the rain is coming always in the night.
This day I am so early, it’s just 2pm, to look for a nice accommodation at a huge water reservoir. The lake looks gorgeous. First place is about 5000 Rupies (60€). That so superexpensiv for India. And for my donation pocket. Second is about the same price, but the whole resort again booked by the government as a quarantine place. The stuff tries to help me…. I look around by myself… Finally I deside to move on, walking towards Shillong (15 more km, it’s already 4pm and the sun goes down at 5.30pm.) A couple stops by. The lady shows me there cross ‚We are Christians, you can trust us, we are going to Shillong, we can give you a lift.‘ After some minutes I agree. Sure, they can’t take me to there house… Corona… but get me to Police Bazar, center of Shillong. But the hotels are not allowed to take me, first I have to check with the Police. Meghalaya is very strict with rules. The officer shows me a list of five or six hotels where I can stay. But there is no hotel for a peace pilgrim budget included. ‚Thats a bit like kidnapping… first you tell me, where I have to go, and then you ask for money, which I do not have‘ He gets a bit angry, and then finds another cheaper solution after some phone calls. Thanks.
After checking in I went to the market. Wow. I am in the mountains. I can breathe again. My mind can open a bit more up. Away from the tight plain areas. Closer to the sky.
The room in Hotel Meghalaya has no window. And first time in month my coloured socks cover my feet. Its fresh. The hotel crew tells me – no mosquitoes in Shilling. I am surprised ‚is Shillong that high already?‘
As soon as I cover myself up with the blanket – my nose closes up and I start to sneeze. The blanket is a bit mouldy….

Meghalaya is at least partly very Christian. So many churches I have seen at the road. For example the Kashi tripe (this area) is to 97,5 % Christian. There are no cows on the street anymore. There is a different other order in the atmosphere. People dont chew and spit tabak here, but they smoke. Also, they eat a lot of meat with every meal. Nearly no vegetarian meals anymore.

After two nights I have to change the room towards a window and a room with natural light and air. Because of the smoky people, my room has a smoke flavour…. Every morning, day by day better, I wake up with smoke im my nose….
After being so many month in the heat, I cant wash myself here with the cold water. Brrr. Today, after 5 days, this was first possible (I am so lucky about that, so refreshing). Because Monsoon is not totally gone here, temperature is low and clouds are present, sun is only sometimes out.

People here speak good English. So nice. Conversation is possible and people are also interested more, besides ‚Where is your home, where do you go‘

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

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