Now I'll finally show a bit from Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya where we were based.
A characteristic feature of Shillong is the many remaining colonial-era buildings such as this one set in a quite lush garden. During the era of the British Raj this was the capital of all Assam, which pretty much means the entire Indian Northeast. Fortunately the British heritage has been relatively well preserved, giving Shillong Town a rare charm.
A view of part of Shillong's outskirts seen from Wapang and Mark's roof top terrace. In the front of the picture you see another example of an old British style building with a timber frame construction facade and slated roofs. However as you can clearly see in the background so called "modern" concrete block buildings are shooting up everywhere giving the impression that the charm of Shillong could be all but gone in a generation or two. Unless the young Indians start to realise the importance of the heritage left behind by history - be it colonial or not.
Another example of fine old buildings. In the picture below you see two of the children living in the white building to the right.
We stopped to talk to the kids and to tell them what a beautiful old house they live in. Susanna said that they were lucky to live there. "Really?" they said. Because their parents were planning to sell the house and move into some apartment building instead. It was very disheartening to hear, since you have no idea what will happen to the house now. I suppose someone could make good money tearing it down and putting up a new big concrete block. Anyway, we told the kids that they should be proud of their house and ask their parents to reconsider.
This is the cathedral of Shillong and a testament to another heritage left behind by the British: Christianity. Whereas the British - unlike the Portuguese, French and Danes - never had any great ambitions in terms of converting the locals, Meghalaya is the one state where the British religion actually made a real impact. So much that in fact the state is majority Christian, one of only three Indian states. However the other two became Christian mainly because of the work of zealous American missionaries. We were in Shillong in December, so all the churches plus the fairly cool weather gave it a good Christmas atmosphere.
More Christmas Spirit here in the commercial part of Shillong. Plenty of stores such as this one put on Christmas Displays, sold Christmas merchandise and played Christmas carols from large speakers.
To put the icing on the Christmas Cake take a look at the flowers surrounding this small Christian monument. These are Poinsettias, in Denmark better known as Christmas Stars (Julestjerner) the ultimate flowery symbol of Christmas. These are growing everywhere in Shillong in December.
If this doesn't bring out the Christmas spirit in you, then nothing will.
Speaking of flowers, the inhabitants of both Shilling and the rest of Meghalaya seem to love flowers and plants and they do a great deal to decorate their houses with greenery. This lovely front entrance to a small, old house was just a few metres down the street from Mark and Wapang's house. In general Shillong is nice to wander about because you see this kind of stuff everywhere you go.
Another example of Meghalayan flower culture.
Yet another beautiful flower cultivated by an inhabitant of Shillong.
Jumping to a whole other topic: A man carrying two baskets full of bicycle parts. Exactly why he does it I do not know, but it remains a fact that many jobs that are simply not worth doing in Europe, still occupy people in India. I think this is a good example.
And finally a picture of Susanna I took at the terrace in Shillong. It doesn't really fit in thematically, but I like it so I thought I'd post it anyway.