Before lunch, from Kaziranga to Dimapur, we’d been travelling along smooth, wide roads; the national or state highway. There was very little traffic but lots of rain, and no view through the bus windows because of the condensation. One of us occupied themselves with crochet, the other with music. We crossed two police checkpoints without problems, but starting to see people with guns. Lots of guns. Everyone appeared to be carrying them, including children and youths, something we would have to try and get used to in Nagaland.
After lunch, the rain had dried up and though the roads from Dimapur to Kohima were smooth, they were very winding and not conducive to crochet (though the music was unaffected). Anyway, the windows had cleared and it was interesting to stare out of the window, reading the signs, noting what was familiar and what was different. There were lots of pots of flowers outside the shops and homes, and lots of ‘educational’ signs about earthquakes, about the dangers of smoking, about HIV/AIDS.
We approached Kohima late in the afternoon towards sunset. Lovely mountains. Clouds. Evening light. Kohima spread across the peaks and pooled in the dip between. It looked shiny and white in the sun and from a distance, but the buildings are actually rather colourful and tightly packed on steep roads. The churches are huge and numerous.
Our hotel, The Orchid Boutique Hotel, was down a very narrow winding street and seemed very urban and unwelcoming. The rooms, and the staff, however, were very pleasant. Our room had a bathroom bigger than many hotel rooms we’ve stayed in, and our balcony had a spectacular view over the city.
We drank a smuggled beer on the balcony and listened to a Christian rock group rehearsing nearby.
“One way, Jesus, you’re the only one that I believe for…”
They didn’t have a big repertoire, so we were soon more familiar than we really wanted to be with ‘one-way Jesus’. Drums okay, guitars almost there, vocals less so.