Today is a transit day as we make the 4 hour car journey from Shillong to Guwahati airport, followed by a 3 hour flight from Guwahati to Bangalore. As we climb our way back down the 100km’s of winding road, it seems unfathomable that just 2 days ago we did this very same route, ascending into Shillong in a Tuk Tuk. As we descend Kaitlyn points out some Tuk Tuk’s from the rally making their final ascent to the finish line. Carol recognises one of the teams and I keep my eyes peeled in the fortuitous event that we might spot ‘The White Tiger’. Mere moments pass and as the traffic progresses at a snails pace I see the hint of green emerge in the oncoming traffic, Benn at the helm with a mask of fabric protecting him from inhaling toxic exhaust fumes. We manage a high five out the car window as our paths cross for the last time on our Indian tour.
I observe the landscape one last time before the high pitched onslaught of horns amidst a traffic jam abruptly ends my nostalgic reflections. I never want to hear a damn horn again, it’s sending me troppo. 7 days and 2 major cities of horns to go.
We meet Rama at the airport, he is also heading to Bangalore, to visit his mother. He greets us with heartfelt, joyous sentiment and confesses to immediately engaging a masseur as soon as we returned from the root bridge hike. Good move. I’m feeling fine, but as a seasoned hiker I know it’s day 2 that gets you.
Guwahati airport has all the usual security checks that are all so familiar with everything from purchasing a local SIM card to checking into a hotel in India. Nothing is without an abundance of forms and passport/visa checks. Some processes even requiring your father or husbands name as part of your identification. As an unmarried woman in her mid 40’s, I don’t think my father would be of much use to the Indian government. In fact I’m not sure he’s of much use to anyone, I’ll confer with Rosie on that point.
I booked our airfares off the Internet some months ago with Indigo Air. I was a bit concerned about flying a budget airline in India, but as it turns out its been fine – much more civilised than Australia’s Jetstar or Tiger Airways – perhaps it’s just a better calibre of passenger.
We landed at Bangalore and made our way to our hotel. It’s dark, but from what I can see the city is much tidier and more orderly than the chaos I had envisaged. Lets see what tomorrow brings.