– ODO- 14981 – 15083km
– Location- Imphal, Manipur, India
– Weather- 28-33
Yesterday was Sunday in Nagaland – one of the eastern-most states of India beside Arunachal Predesh and Manipur. Similar to Goa state the Hindu temples gave way to bright white churches lit on the hillsides in the rising sun. The roadside regularly split between bible verse, motivational messages and HIV warnings.
I climbed and climbed the rough and broken road. Stopping for lunch at the Nagaland state capital Kohima. Being Sunday all but two small rice hotels were open for me so I settled on the second one I came across. My nose had started to run earlier in the day and as I began to eat my stomach refused to digest. The telltale signs of a cold. I resisted the feelings and the impulse to stop in this hilltop town thinking it could be the dust and fumes I’d been breathing all day. I now have only 22 days before my flight leaves Laos for my holiday to see my family in Europe. That gives me a mean schedule to cover three new countries in the summer heat.
The road continued up and down and I began to listen to my body. Rounding a bend a driver shouted “Rain” at me. I had my jacket on so no bother. When the rain hit the winds shook the trees and stopped me dead in my tracks. The road surface became a river and cars and trucks pulled off the road. At that opportune moment a tin roofed hut appeared next to the road and I sheltered underneath as gusts ripped at the tin. Some young friends were sheltering there and offered me some homemade rice beer in a plastic jug. With the full tingling of a stinking cold coming on I declined. When they left I camped then and there under the roof sleeping so deeply that I barely shifted when some people turned up and started hanging and playing music somewhere nearby. The torches played with silhouettes on the Goretex. I simply rolled over.
This morning my cold was well and truly stuck. One nostril was completely blocked and the other ear felt all sticky. I’d forced my hand yesterday though by continuing. The next big city was Imphal, the capital of the next state Manipur. The road was mostly down hill so I took some pain killers for the stomach cramps and headache and started the roll. At 5-30am I crossed into Manipur. The churches were similar to Nagaland. The main different was heavily armed troops at ever turn. In columns on the road. In huts in the towns. In trucks passing by. On entering the state I was registered and received a stamp to continue – my first experience with a border state. The rest of the ride was uneventfull if misserable with my head thumping and my nose dribbling. I made it to town and stopped at the first hotel I saw, paying over the odds in the process. I’m hoping after some sleep and I’ll feel up to the climb to the border tomorrow.