Travelling Nagaland Part 2: Impressions Of Dimapur.
We finally arrived in Dimapur. The main commercial hub of Nagaland welcomed us with a big argument between the tuk-tuk drivers who were going to carry us from the train station to wherever. They didn’t know what we wanted, but chattering with and about tourists is a must I guess. We were tired of discussions and asked loud and clearly: “Who speaks English?” This silenced them a bit and an old bicycle Rickshaw driver got our attention. His English was better than average and he cycled his soul out to the main road where all of the better hotels were situated. He knew what we were looking for but the first hotel only had windowless rooms left, so that was no good. The next one called “Sarawati”, looked quiet impressive. We were positively surprised about the good standard that awaited us. We seemed to be the only guest, though…
I always have the feeling that if we can afford the most expensive hotel in a place, we’re really far away from home (though it was not really expensive, maybe 30 € a night – but I know, that’s a lot in India). We simply wanted to treat ourselves since we saved on our 3rd class train ride; the trip from Siliguri to Dimapur cost us something like 5 € per person on the overnight train, so we could spoil ourselves a bit.
So the hotel even had internet connection in the lobby, interrupted a few times by a power blackout, but still… Inquiring when the last western tourist passed through, the receptionist said: “Maybe a year ago.” and probably wondered what the hell we were going to do here.
Exploring Dimapur – Jesus Is The Solution.
When going out for our first check of the city, we immediately spotted the first church. Later on we came to know that the people of Nagaland are mainly Christians. In the evening, there was a gathering close to the hotel of people who were campaigning for the Christian religion. The announcer (he looked like a young western theology student) proclaimed things like: “Do you have financial problems? – Jesus is the solution!” He didn’t seem too happy to spot a white traveller (who btw is able to look through his sneaky recruitment). We just thought to ourselves if there was really anyone in the crowd who believed that there would be a bank transfer from heaven at the end of the month… We shook our head and walked on.
Dimapur is a dusty, noisy, vibrant and very busy city. Lots of shops, especially religious shops in which you can buy Christian symbols – statues of Mother Mary and so on. Lots of internet cafes, many of them full with online gamers, can be found here as well. We passed a lot of curious shops as well, like many second hand clothes stalls, where they sell clothes from Europe and the US. We read “Abercombie & Fitch”, ” H&M” and so on… Maybe someone ships these giveaway-clothes to India. Anyway, I found use of a wonderful long sleeve “Yves Saint Laurent” shirt which was going to protect me from the sun (the temperature was about 38° Celsius). For only 3 €, I now own a designer shirt, not too bad.
There were not a lot of restaurants in Dimapur but we found one in a side street which was full with diners – that was the right one for us. It was a gritty hotel as well, which we found out when asking for the toilet. The toilet was on the rooftop with no door and a great view over Dimapur, also something I’ve never done before. Anyway, back to the food. We’re both not vegetarians, but India and vegetarian food go hand in hand. I can’t remember what we got, but it was delicious! The thing with all these travel related diseases can be tricky, but this time we managed not to get sick even for a single day. I think it was partly because we only drank tea (made by ourselves with our water kettle and plain bottled water) and no meat for 6 weeks. It was “veggies only” throughout our trip.
- I have to say, food is necessary but not on our priority list. We’re always on the lookout for a restaurant or food stall that has a high turnover. Our experience shows us, that the main thing to avoid trouble (diarrhoea, etc.) is to eat in places with a high turnover because then you can be pretty sure that the food is fresh.
We decide to continue to Kohima the next day. And this is where Part 2 of our story ends…
More Nagaland Stories.
Travelling Nagaland: Part 1 – Getting There.
Travelling Nagaland: Part 2 – Impressions Of Dimapur.
Travelling Nagaland: Part 3″ – Kohima & Surroundings.