Nick’s good childhood friends, Kuldeep and Charu are in Haflong (Assam) and we decided it would be awesome to go see them as we had met the whole Ambala crew. We mapped out our route and decided that on the way to Haflong we’d visit Nagaland. This time we were able to do our reseach beforehand and to our delight was a list of stuff to see in Kohima, the capitol of Nagaland. All the website we went to had loads of info! We got to Kohima and found no hotel with good parking. The only one was the “5-star” close to the war cemetery that all the VIPs and diplomats stayed at…kinda like The Centaur in Srinagar…overrated, old, and overpriced.
We decided to bounce but ran into an interesting guy. He was from Nagaland and had played soccer for Indian clubs like Nick did. Due to an injury he had to stop playing but his passion did not die. Along with other soccer lovers he helped form a Northeast league. His passion and motivation felt very genuine and commendable especially to Nick. He also ended up suggesting us a hotel that had good parking. It worked out good except for the fact that the bell boys kept calling their friends to show off the bike and kept taking the cover off and putting it on the wrong way. Some may call us uptight about the bike but look…it’s a heavy bike…if someone not used it gets on it and tries to get off and drop it in the process (which has happened) they can easily run off and leave our bike on the ground and we’re left to deal with the (expensive) damage. Nick had to let the guys have it and dropped a few choice words for them to leave the bike alone. That day we hadn’t done our bike routine…basically after taking the panniers off and take them up to our room, Nick goes back down and lets people take the pictures they want and ask all their questions. Then we put the cover back on and kindly tell them we’ll be leaving tomorrow so they can take their pics tomorrow.
After calling some Nagaland friends…we found out that there was nothing to do in Kohima! And everyone asked us why we didn’t come for the Hornbill Festival, which usually runs the first week of December where all the tribes of Nagaland come to represent. Apparently Dimapur is where’s its at (the commercial capitol of Nagaland). So the next day we went to the war memorial and to the site of the Hornbill Festival where they have all the tribes individual houses built. Nice place…can imagine it’d be great fun during the festival! I didn’t realize but during WWII the Japanese had made it into Nagaland and onto the Kohima-Imphal Highway. There was a 64 day battle that led to the Japanese defeat and further advance into India. Interesting huh?
So we took our asses back to Dimapur (had passed it on the way to Kohima the day before) and met up Nick’s friend Aylong who kindly booked us a room. We had heard there was stuff to see in Dimapur but then everyone in Dimapur said there was nothing…! With nothing else to do, the party started at 4:30pm and ended at around 2am. It was a blur of scotches and pig’s feet in fermented soybean and chili (not our cup of tea) and fried chicken (oh so good!). We have respect for pork and bacon but we definitely felt a little weak at the thought of pork now. We knew we had a long ride ahead to Haflong the next day but in the morning my head was pounding. The room smelled like pig’s feet and I could swear I smelled like it all day long…ugh….it was going to be a long day…