Today: 543km | Total: 1,523km
Leaving Meghalaya behind – Back to Assam (day 5, 243km)
This day was not such a great day. I left Meghalaya behind me and headed back to Assam – sadly unavoidable unless i go back to West Bengal via Bangladesh. At least some nice views of Umiam lake to say goodbye to this amazing state (my personal favourite so far).
From there mainly motorway to entertain the speed addiction 😈, but eventually some villages on country roads and a long bridge to cross the Brahmaputra into Tezpur.
Streetlife vs. Streetdeath
First two bits that failed on the bike – the tachometer (don’t look at me) and a part of the luggage rack (bad roads). Fine!
Sad reality is that once you leave Meghalaya, the dirty towns of Assam take over. No judgement, but plainly obvious. The countryside is actually nice be it flat as a pancake (eg not as interesting for bikers as the hills of Meghalaya).
Roads were lets say average. Mix of tarmac and sand. I helped a bunch of locals to move a truck that was stuck in the sand – a little payback for the help i received in Sicily last year.
Driving here remains an on the edge thing – driving in the wrong direction on a two lane motorway for bikes, cars and trucks is common and some car wrecks tell a horrible tale.
Not too late in the day i reached Tezpur (apparently the culture capital of Assam) and booked myself into an OYO. When i went there they told me they don’t accept foreigners. Hotel policy. Well, OYO website says different, but more importantly… try that in Europe and what will happen to you? Complete discrimination.
Don’t i just love india. Felt great yesterday and even amazing this morning (all folks dressed up nicely for easter and good friday)… And now i feel like escaping again. No interest in sightseeing. Just get me a cold lager please.
The caste system divides Hindus into strict hierarchical groups based on their karma (work) and dharma (duty). The lowest level is occupied by outcasts referred to as the untouchables.
There are about 3,000 castes in India and while discrimination based on caste is unconstitutional since the 1950s, it still plays a vital part in society (eg same caste marriage remains the norm) and wealth levels still correspond to caste affiliation in general.
Cruising in the Assam countryside (day 6, 300km)
Today i didn’t start overly early (for it was not only one beer in the evening). I left Tezpur on the national highway, but quickly maneuvered to ‘smaller’ roads. Meant off-road for many stretches. General direction west and Bhutan always on the right hand side.
Spitting is a bad and widespread habit in many parts of India. More developed states have put penalties on it (like Sikkim), but in most places it is very common.
I am no longer surprised to see a car in motion or stationary opening its door and someone (usually male) spitting on the road. And i am careful when overtaking 💦.
The reason is usually a red tobacco the indians chew and then get rid off. Its local name is Gutka. Disgusting 🤢.
Right message, wrong spelling 🤣😂
It was mostly a nice cruise today and i was listening to travel podcasts on the way (for German readers, the podcast is called Weltwach – thanks for the rec Lars).
Interesting today were several wooden bridges that i needed to cross albeit with a strange feeling for some. The bike is heavy afterall.
Just as i was on the homestretch for today, i got into a sudden thunderstorm with hail the size of table tennis balls. While i quickly put on rain gear, the impact of the ice hurt and prevented any progress. The helmet came really handy as i listened to sound of someone throwing ice cubes at me. All cars and trucks stopped. Wow!
Towards the afternoon some tea plantations reemerged and after 300km i eventually made it to Bongaigaon – a 100k inhabitant, industrial city and my last stop in Assam.