All my savviness from the day before went out the window by the time we hauled up the cold mountains of Kohima. A shared jeep took 7 hours (supposedly a 3 hour ride) to reach the mountain town center only to arrive and get stuck in the evening traffic. They offloaded me on the roadside and continued on. It was freezinggggg and no taxi wanted to stop. Shops start shutting at 4pm in this region because of the cold. Finally one stopped and it took me to the address I gave.
Arriving at the nice, warm heritage house, their room rates started from way over my budget. For this I can get much better. Exact words in my head. For the next 1 hour, crawling in traffic the cab took me from one place to another. I don’t know whether it was the cold or what but my brain refused to think. Finally I decided to go back to the original place I wanted to stay in. By now most rooms were taken except of one – I didn’t argue. Did I mention everything shuts at 5pm? That includes restaurants. They scrapped some fried rice for me. By the time my head hit the pillow, I was gone.
Waking up the next morning, I thought the worst was over. Little did I know this was just the beginning. The day before Airtel made me run around all over Imphal for a SIM card which I abandoned in the end. Thought I could do it in Kohima.
But Kohima is like the Labasa of Vanua Levu. It’s it but you can’t get anything done there. Kohima is the capital of Nagaland state. Nagaland is considered one of the most remote and isolated states in India. And while I maybe on Indian soil, nothing about Nagaland seems Indian. Nagaland is home to 16 major tribes whose cultures and ways are slowly on the verge to dying out and I guess just to get a glance of it before it completely wipes out, is what brings me here.
Before I continued further up into the state, I just wanted to stay put for a couple of days and unwind. After last week getting up to the Burmese border, I thought Kohima’s hill station would be the perfect place of little unwind for a couple of days.
Instead it’s turvy roads, freezing temperatures, language barriers, food and lack of information ended up stressing me out. In hindsight I mistook Nagaland to be same as mainland India.
Nothing here is familiar. And the next coming days were going to teach me that. The hard way.