Not a lot here, except that awesome city name — much the reason why I came. Itanagar. Tolkienesque.
Crazy fog. I’m finally going up into the ‘proper’ Himalayas and I can barely see my hands in front of me. Driving so carefully — then a crazy Sumo (jeep) flies out from behind a curve. No luck braking on the wet road. Wheel slipped, I took a bad fall. Bastard didn’t even stop.
Poor Nemo. Maan, that bike took such a beating on these roads already. And me, also.
Up to the Mountains
I’ve gone above the mountain tops, above the clouds. And the song of the day is Pink Floyd’s Learning to Fly.
Got an excited grin under my khau trang and I’m a long way from Hanoi.
And there are vividly colourful, moss-covered meadows all around and the strangest looking cows..? Yaks? Mithuns? No idea what it is — something between a cow and a bear. But big. Elephant-big. And furry.
DAYS 193 - 199
7 Days in ‘Tibet’
Got to Tawang. I know I’m surrounded by mountains I’ve longed to see, yet all I see is this crazy thick fog. Days go by, never-ending fog remains, rain isn’t heavy but there’s no clear end in sight.
But I got a great morning paratha shop (always followed by the diabetically (diabolically?) sweet gulab jamun); I got this aging man in an old fashioned, hand-knit sweater waiting for me with a veg thali dinner and the most genuine smile each evening and I got hot water and a soft bed with thick blankets at my remarkably cosy guesthouse — a total boost of life when the temperature here commonly drops pretty low.
And seven years since its initial conception — I have completed a first strong draft of Cripple Crows, my epic, new screenplay. It’s been a journey within a journey.
Assam’s Tezpur. Thanks to Indian (Sikh, to be precise) creativity in customizing rare bike parts which otherwise aren’t available in India, Nemo’s got new sprockets, a new chain, a new air filter, new gauge cords and new oil. (And I’ve got an empty wallet.) Feels like a new bike.
Whoa. Lao’s Gibbon Experience meets Dao Anh Khanh’s Studio in the middle of the Assamese jungle. There’s a monkey on the roof, I’m told to watch out for snakes and occasional tigers coming to visit from Meghalaya — what an awesome place I get to stay at for those next few days.
An interplanetary diversion
A planetarium in North East India? Why not. At 30 rupees a ticket it’s not quite Chicago’s Adler Planetarium where I used to hang out in college, but I just love flying through the stars.
Getting dark and I found a quiet, completely secluded spot to camp, halfway on my drive to Sikkim. But… those people… they just appear out of thin air.
A guy — drunken off his mind — won’t leave me alone for 20 minutes. Eventually got rid of him, but I just know it’s not the end of it. It’s a pitch-black middle of nowhere and sure enough, 15 minutes later an entire friggin’ village congregates around. A delegation of elders surrounds me; three generations of women and children looking on from the road.
And they’re intent on me moving — who knows why? My negotiation attempts fall flat, I’m not happy at all and they’re not interested in leaving without me. So without much of a choice, I leave my camp behind and follow a pack of complete strangers who-knows-where though a pitch-black forest illuminated only (in different circumstances quite romantically) by fireflies. I feel vulnerable and this once, I do hope they’re just merely being overbearing Indians.
For more on Matt’s films and travels, check out the Etherium Sky Production Blog at etheriumsky.com/prodblog