– ODO- 14462-14592km
– Location- Guwahati, Assam, India
– Weather- 21-28 Storm in the morning, then overcast
After some good nights camping I felt like I needed a roof over my head for a night or two before heading into the mountains bordering Myanmar. I stopped early, around 4pm for a second lunch or early dinner of Dal, and asked for a nearby hotel. “500m on the left” was the response. What luck.
The road raised on a large embankment leading up to crossing the large Beki river which was filled from recent rains. To the left off the road there was a square lake, possibly an excavation or mine like the Norfolk broads that surround my home, now filled with water. In the middle there was a island with two yellow wooden turrets either side of the sloping drive connecting the island with the shore. Could this be the hotel?
I freewheeled down the pebble drive and pulled into the reception. The word hotel in India has lost its meaning, with anything from a chai stall to a sweet shop to the Sheraton using the title. I walked to the reception and asked for a room. I was lead to a colourful room with a bamboo bed painted in deep brown.
As I went to eat my dinner a man came to sit with me – something you have to get used to here. After going over the usual questions (where are you from, where are you going, do you have a wife) he revealed he was the owner of the place. The next question I wasn’t expecting. Did I want to go on a boat ride?
After a tour of the island we came to the back of the restaurant where there were two red and yellow pedal boats and a pedal swan. It had to be the swan. I jumped in as he held the swans head to stop it slipping from its mooring. I leaned to keep the boat from listing as he did the comical splits, on leg on the boat, one on the shore. Just in time he managed to shift his weight back to being the boat towards him. He joined me and took the rudder. By now it was pitch black. It had been dark for over an hour. We circled the lake. About 200m across with fish breaking the water to eat the flies rippling the surface. The highway towered above approaching the bridge. The horns and sweeping lights were our backdrop. As we reached the centre of the lake a train rumbled and roared across the other bank. Surrounded by sound, light and life of India.
We completed our circuit. I said thanks and went back to my lentils. My bed and my sleep.