Mate’s Rates / by David Johnstone

Hanging Loose in The Wettest Place on Earth

Sohra (Cherrapunjee) - 6th to 16th March 2018

I spent around 10 days in and around Sohra, statistically the wettest place on the planet - gloriously sunny most of the time incidentally - and, though it was a little too long in one place, it gave me the opportunity not only to paint and chill but to find out how other people live their lives. 

  Meghalaya’s meteorology centre

 Meghalaya’s meteorology centre

TRAVEL WITHOUT MOVING

Getting to know the locals is important to me and here was no different with a great cast of characters all with a story to tell. 

For me, travel isn’t just about moving.

Sometimes it requires one to be standing stock-still, discovering personal stories and absorbing the personality and character of a place and it’s people to fully understand the human condition.

The owner of the guesthouse, Yai, persuaded me to stay an extra night - my second without paying a dime - and organised a little party for me leaving. And lovely it was too. With the incessant rainstorm lightning up the sky - atmospherically shorting the power at times - and the strumming of Paul’s guitar, we ate, drank and were merry until the wee small hours. Good, good people. 

SHOPKEEPERS OF THE WORLD UNITE! 

Sohra, like much of the towns and villages around here (in Myanmar and Bangladesh too), are full of little shops and stalls. Most of them sell the same things but I admired the industry and self-sufficiency of the people. They are, in the main, family afffairs.  

OUR DAILY BREAD (AND DHAL)

I frequented ‘Gemis’ restaurant throughout my entire stay in Sohra. And little wonder. A two minute walk from the guesthouse, the food and people were great. Breakfast consisted of freshly baked roti, vegetables, a sumptuous butter dhal and a spicy omelette topped off with milk tea. Dinner would be a chicken curry of sorts. And they delivered! Great gaff.  

IT’S WHO YOU KNOW

Once you get to know the locals they’ll show you places they only know. I would never have been able to visit the Khasi Dance Festival for instance. Local knowledge is everything. 

The band’s first photo shoot, album released sometime soon...

The band’s first photo shoot, album released sometime soon...