( I’d written this entry on 15th April but am publishing it today because back in network area only today! )
Sitting in my room at Aalo ( also known as Aalong / Aalon ), I’m wondering why I’m so thrilled after a grueling eight hour drive from Likabali in Assam to this room here. And I choose to believe it is because the room has a fabulous view – mountains, setting Sun, over the Siyom / Sion River. I got so excited on arriving here that I completely forgot about my spinning head and a bit of motion sickness and immediately unpacked my camera, tripod and speedlight and headed to the deck above the river for a bit of self-portraiture.
( CREDITS : Jacket by BIAS, dress Atorsa from Amazon Fashion, shoes by GUSH Accessories, socks Moja Club, scarf Abraham & Thakore, photography & post-production by me. )
Nothing gets me going like photography. Especially if I have the freedom to do exactly what I would like to try. And I love trying out new things – for example, this was the first time I tried to photograph some #CoverUp against a beautiful setting Sun, in Arunachal Pradesh. So many firsts, my head’s spinning a little just now thinking about that. Phew! I wasn’t photographing a complete series for a #CoverUp feature but I wanted to see if I could pull it off. It worked!
I also just had the most amazing cold coffee. ( I couldn’t possibly qualify why it was the best cold coffee ever but it felt like it. )
It was a shit drive. The road must have felt really bad in its relationship with Arunachal Pradesh because it just upped and left. Basically. There is NO road. It’s just a string of holes in the mud. The drive more like the pitching and rolling of a small boat in choppy seas than a drive on a four-wheeled vehicle. The only saving grace was that I did not have to drive.
The sides of the driving-track were populated by insane greenery. Fern “trees” that were several feet taller than I am. Lots of bamboo and hundreds of “palm fronds”, that are used by the local residents to cover the roofs of their houses to let the rainwater wash right off. I have some photographs on my DSLR but those I’ll edit and share only once I’m back in Delhi.
We started from Likabali at 0815, stopped at Garu for a 20 minute break, crossed Basar where I was able to get a bit of a mobile signal for a couple of kilometers while on the road and then stopped at Bam for lunch, then reached Aalong by about 1645. The Bam to Aalong stretch was the WORST. ( Likabali is in Assam, the rest of the places I mentioned are all in Arunachal Pradesh. )
Aalong is a fairly large town with a dedicated market and three gas stations / petrol pumps that I saw with my own eyes – there could be more. Mobile towers also exist, which is why I was able to blog this as well as yesterday’s journey. Apparently, tomorrow’s journey is going to be similar to today’s – bad roads and just as long. We considered haning out at Aalong for an additional night but after I heard confirmed reports that Menchuka is like the Switzerland of the Indian North East, I cannot wait to get there and go mad with the self-portraits!
The rooms ar Aalog have quite a view and we might stay here for a couple of nights when we’re headed back from Menchuka.
In terms of temperature, Delhi was of course the hottest. Dibrugarh was much cooler than Delhi and had rain. Likabali had way more rain than anything I’ve experienced personally – we couldn’t leave our rooms. Bu temeprature wise it was colder than Dibrugarh. Aalong is warmer than even Dibrugarh. And today we’ve been lucky – no rain. While doing that spot of self-portraiture, I was sweating like a pig! The town is located in a valley and a river flows through it – it’s hot and humid in April.