Meghalaya and Assam

Sometimes there is only one millimeter, a second, or an act of grace that separates you from danger in India.   Landslides, mountain roads teetering on the edge of abyss, drugged truck drivers, dangerous ferryboats, contaminated water, and all manner of lethal creepy crawlies threaten.  But risk you do to get to the beauty of it all…

(I can still hear my mother’s exclamations on one dangerous mountain road.  They advanced from “Jesus” to “Jesus, Mary and Joseph” to “Jesus, Mary, Joseph and Ganesh”.  I think she would have added “Mohammed” had the drive not ended.)

I took the kids on one last big India adventure last month.  We traveled through the states of Meghalaya and Assam.  This is the area on the other side of the thin neck of India in the northeast.  Meghalaya borders Bangladesh and Assam sits close to Burma and China.

Our travels included overnights in primitive villages as well as luxurious tea estates.  My children barely noticed the difference even though not much as changed in a century in some Indian villages.  People cook over open fires, water flows from iron hand pumps and sunrise and sunset bookend a day.

We read by candlelight at bedtime;  George and Eddie ran freely and played soccer with the local children;  we ate  duck eggs for breakfast and watched a chicken meet its fate for our lunch table.

The pictures tell the rest and confirm that we made it safely through mountain and jungle and over river and range:


For readers of  my last post:  Italy has returned the sailors to India…


And I am heading to Rome this week to look for an apartment and to check out the schools.   How can it be that four years ago I did the same here in Delhi?

3 thoughts on “Meghalaya and Assam”

  1. Theo, dear daughter,

    Despite the Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Ganesh moments, this trip was simply magnificent! Thank you for taking me along, and for being confident that I could handle the somewhat challenging conditions. I would not have missed it for all the tea in Assam!


  2. Glad you had a good visit, but please don’t put photos up of these places. Having seen what increased tourism did to the once-untouched Parvati valley in Himachal (used syringes littering the trail where I once hiked as a 10 year old with my parents), I would like those living bridges to not be “discovered” by backpackers. The North-east is the last unspoilt part of India and I hope the special permit regime lasts forever for tourists.

    1. The threat in Meghalaya isn’t tourism, it’s growth. The drive from Guwahati to Shillong is a 150-km-long quarry and coal mines to the east are devastating the landscape. Industry is raping the land and there are no regulatory bodies to control how resources are extracted. It is worth noting that I was impressed with the collaboration between locals and tour companies to support eco-tourism in the untouched pockets of the state.

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