Riding down to Samdrup Jongkhar with Karma was its own adventure. We were stopped for two hours for a roadblock, we thought–but this offered a chance to look over what had been a road worker’s camp, along with the detritus left behind when the camp was disbanded.
It turned out that the roadblock was actually a landslide that had crushed one of the big machines working on the road.
A small car that went ahead of the queue ended up with its rear window smashed by a late falling rock.
We enjoy the Dantak road signs, due to be removed. This “Trouble regretted” sign seems like a larger existential statement, as opposed to the more chatty and comical sayings.
We spent the night at the Mountain, though there was some confusion over whether or not we had a room booked. We met up with Chitra, Balamaguran, and Tshering Thinley, on their way back to Kanglung from having gone to interview possible faculty in Thimphu. It felt like a reunion! It was especially convenient because Karma couldn’t get a room, but he was able to sleep on the spare bed in Thinley’s room.
The next morning, we all went our separate ways: Karma to Thimphu for some medical tests, Bala and Chitra and Thinley back to Kanglung/Yonphula, and our family on to Guwahati, en route to Delhi.
The bikes on the Indian side of the immigration gate attest to the number of day laborers crossing the border each day.
Assam is famous for its tea, and we pass by fields of shade grown tea plants on our way to the “foreigner’s checkpoint,” some 7 km out of town.