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Woke up to grey skies. It rained intermittently throughout the day but the cloud cover stayed throughout.

Visited “Menchukha Emporium” after some more digging around for local weaves. They did have some garments and the quality of the weaving was decent but the stitching not so much. I bought one “gaaley” and one scarf-like item ( scarf-like to me ), which the women use here to carry their babies on their backs. They only had these two items in a decent colour combination – had they had more stock, I’d have picked all of it up.

The Emporium did have wooden side-tables and trays that are more “in-demand” than garments but I wasn’t sure how I would carry any of those back with me to Delhi. The Emporium is Govt. run and was in an abysmal state. Dark small rooms and if a group of trousists decended on the “store”, they’d have nothing to choose from.

Menchukha has a “festival” sometime in September / October, when hordes of tourists decend on this little valley and I’m guessing maybe that’s the time all local artisans plan around to make sales. Apparently, this part of the Arunachal Pradesh is called, “Rest Of Arunachal Pradesh” ( in terms of official census and jurisdiction by the Indian Govt. ). As if they don’t deem it fit enough to be a part of the actual state.

The other interesting thing that happened today was that in the middle of a meal, I suddenly wanted to scratch my legs with a fork. The itch was unbearable and eventually I rolled up my innrer thermal-wear and my trousers to find ugly, red, bite marks on both my legs. Each bite-mark was also swollen and my leg looked misshapen. Everyone’s guess is that I was bitten by one of the ginormous mosquitoes that are common in Menchukha. These buggers are about an inch long and wingspan can be much larger. I don’t even want to know how long their proboscis must be. The insect bit me through TWO layers of clothing.

The simplest way to counter an itch on a bite from a non-poisonous insect is to apply tons of vaseline or moisturizer, ideally with no chemicals in it. This reduces the itchy sensation – the skin does not dry while the swelling subsides on its own as the body deals with it naturally. Super itchy yo!

Drove down to what is called the “Dorjeeling Bridge”, which is used by vehicles to cross the river to ther other side of Menchukha. There are a few other walkway bridges across the river but these sway and the wood is rotting. Most locals simply walkk across the river after they’ve rolled up their trousers. I wouldn’t recommend doing that unless you’re also prepared for hypothermia.

Since there is no Airtel mobile network in Menchukha, I keep forgetting to take photos with my phone. I’m making these daily “dear diary” entries on my tablet and try to take at least 5-6 mobile photos to accompany each piece. I will eventually publish these entries on the blog once I’m back in Delhi but I intend ot use only mobile phone photos for each. With the photographs I produce on the DSLR, I intend to do one comprehensive photo story with focus on the visuals.

Ending the day hoping the weather might not be rain and grey clouds tomorrow!

#EyesForArunachal

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