India’s North East is extremely different from the rest of the country.Neighboring China, Myanmar, Bhutan and Bangladesh the seven sisters states are countries among themselves. In the last two months I have cycled through 5 of the states and have witnessed pagan festivals, mobs of tribal Christians, and miles of tea estates. Though part of India, the majority of people here don’t look Indian and trace their ancestry back to the Mongolians. This is where India becomes South East Asia!
Local Pan Shop. The NE States, especially Nagaland and Manipur have very good Paan (Areca nut wrapped inside of a betel leaf). Here is a picture of my favorite recipe called “Gua”. Areca nut, coconut, loose tobacco, raisins, cloves and lime paste wrapped into a betel leaf. It has a very refreshing taste that is both slightly stimulating and mildly psychoactive.
I am back in the jungles of south east Asia. Rats, fried cockroaches and bats are again sold on the road side and Christmas songs echo from distant churches. Its been a hard 7 days of cycling through mountains and long valleys, and am now in the city of Imphal the capital of Manipur state. Cities in the North East are awful, and filled with trash, exhaust and dust. But the mix in culture makes things interesting. Tomorrow I departure to America, and am looking forward to breathing clean air. Hope to see you all when I return!