493t Guwahati 2 6-9/3/09
Elephant in the city
- Saturday - Big Run- Chitrachal Hill, Ghandi Mandap,
- This mornings run I went to Chitrachal hill I met a indigenous Deori people .. Jo Moi Deori
- Met a Cotton College science teacher who told me there is a Science Museum to visit
... then after to Ghandi Mandap, where I met Puny ? who is a big journalist interviewing politicians on another channel. DY365 I think

- The Ghandi Mandap is a museum/shrine to Ghandi... surely he wouldn't have approved in such hero worship especially when effort should be spent getting people out of slums and poverty. Plus the museum was short on the facts .. Which I have a feeling would show he was not as good as he's made out to be like maybe he was too soft in some things whereas his pressure during the WW2 war may had led to an India which was worse for the common man under the Nehru "royalty", that under the British.

- internet

- Life is a conspiracy against me- So I spent an hour on the internet trying to find the Science Museum's website. When I quit and went for lunch at 3.30pm I saw in the newspaper that it was National Science day and there was a festival at the museum. It's only 10Km, but the damm bus stops every 300m to get an extra 5p. (If they stopped every 1Km they would make twice as many trips and twice as much money). Got there at 5.40pm so closed

Sat- Met up with Ton-Moy - Kamakhya Temple Festival

- I went to Ton-moys for dinner then we went to Kamakhya Temple as his work team is telecastng the dance festival there. It's one of the most important temples in India.

- Kamakhya_Temple
- And finished by going to Bhubaneshwari temple for a panoramic view of the Brahmaputra river and the city....I should visit North Guwahati sometime.

Sun - Musum of Broken science exhibits
- We didn't get back till 1.30am.. Internet

- Another hour to the science museum. It must have been great when it opened, but it's wasted on most people.

- It's it's wasted on most people, they don't bother to read the instructions they just hit the things as hard as they can. Consequently half the exhibits are broken.

- There has to be a better system . The idea is to promote science, by allowing them hands on experience, but it's like allowing 5 year olds into a place designed for 15 year olds.

Sun -2nd night of Kamakhya Temple Festival

- Grueling 90 mins on same bus across city to get to Kamakhya Temple again. Ton-moy was working on the 2nd night of the festival. Governor was there big speech, but the guy doesn't speak Assamese.. Bit strange that's like Brussels sending a Belgian to be governor of Finland .. Still the Indian PM is from Assam so it's not all Delhi people.

- The Performance was Indian classical religious music and dance is a limited field. It was a bit boring to me I was tired from the journey and was falling asleep. First there was a drum group, then 2 brothers wo are the top holy singers , A top top flutist (his music was a bit like jazz flute and went till very late 12.30am.)

- Ton-Moy_Guwahati

- There was some friction : these artistes who being so highly respected were a little arrogant and complained to the camera in a live broadcast that the TV stuff was too distracting.. Surely it's the TV coverage which pays these guys salaries.

Mon -
Bit of a rest day
Tue- Amburi Ruins, North Guwahati
- internet- then set off for library and university.

- Passed Indian Archaeological survey, last week at the office entrance I had asked if tourists can visit the Amburi Archaeological site there and she said no ... Today I passed another entrance and it's marked museum. It seems to be the ruins of a 300 year oldpalace/administration/temple complex, but neither the museum or onsite archaeologists could explain much.

- Got to library one cabinet has Assam guidebooks etc. Decided no time to visit University so went to Fancy Bazaar to catch a ferry to

- North Guwahati.

north_guwahati Temple

- Pretty old hill temple there has great views across the river to the city, but no photos due to dust.

- Village and Huge Engineering Institute campus 2Km away.. Had to wait 1 hour for ferry back .. Fancy Bazaar .. Seems more Muslim .. Walk back

Wed - University Museums
- In the morning went west to University and ended up spendng all day there.

- Bit rundown like Madras University was 15 years ago .. So India hasn't changed much.

- eventually found - Anthropology museum (last building on left side, marked Geology) - spoke to the 3 professors there a long time.
- Geology Museum is next door
- Folklore Museum in linguistic Dept is barely functioning ... Actually museum at Srimanta Sankardev Cultural Centre, Kalakshetra does the same job
- Commerce Museum - has been put in storage -

- Big debate with one guy who had obviously swallowed one of those popularist, but irrational books that say all India's problems were due to the West. I could have been patronising and said "yes, yes", but I stuck to it and explained the other side to all his points. "Racism, there was no racism in India before the British", comforting for him to believe, but that argument is easily demolished as the caste system was in place 2000 years before the British arrived.

- Walked up hill at the back to what they call The observation point Actually you climb on top of a water pumping station for views across the campus and city.

- This kind of campus park university sucks as it means too much walking

- Internet
- Met a Canada/Japan couple who seemed to be enthusiastic about visiting Arunchal Pradesh State, I hadn't thought about it as the permit is too much hassle... But now 2 people can get a permit for $50 each ...still I can't think of a pressing reason to go

Fri - everything closed
- Newspaper talked about an International Trade fair so I decided to go there and to nearby zoo- when I arrived at 12pm people were waiting outside the closed doors ..turns out they had decided to open at 2pm that day instead of 10am. Got to the zoo and it turns out it's closed on Friday.. So went to Arunchal Pradesh State office to see if there is a way around the $5 permit fee ... Turns out the office has moved to "Downtown Hospital" area .. This is India.

- The trade fair turned out to be mostly a handicraft market ..bit Boring to me.

- Bloody dust-storms again.

Sat - Zoo
- This is India the first minibus was so slow..as it kept stopping every 200m to pick up passengers. I got down 2Km to early, but by walking I caught up with the same bus, ten the conductor charged me a second time and didn't give any change .. An old guy on the bus told me the zoo was 5Km away so unwalkable .. When I knew it was less than 2Km cos I'd walked yesterday... Then when I arrived I thought I'd buy a cup of tea from the streetstall instead of facing rip-off prices inside. Tea is normally 3Rp maybe 2 or 4Rp, but this guy charged me 7Rp ... I was flaming annoyed .. Yes it's bugger all money, but I hate to have to go to the trouble of asking the price of every little thing before I buy in.

- So by the time I got in I was in a Bad mood and the state of the zoo didn't cheer me up either. Well at least they had excellent coffee for 5Rp. - many punters ignored the signs and taunted the animals even throwing stones, the zoo was half broken, I swear 20% of the animals were outside their enclosures like deer, birds. In the primate areas some were in cages whilst others clearly escaped sat outside on top of their mates cages.

- There loads of Hippo's and deer, a few rhinos, a few sad bears, unhealthy hornbills, bored lions, a family of tigers, giraffes in small cages, leopoards all hiding, but no sign of zebras

- I suppose that's one extra difficulty they face :they have to stop animals getting out, but they have to stop monkeys coming in and stealing animals food etc.

Sun - bought a train ticket - walk around
- Just bought a train ticket it only took about an hour so that's not bad
- 1. I waited in a line marked enquires, but after 15 minutes the worker left. I noticed the window said break 10.30-11.30am
- 2. So I lined up behind 2 people at a window marked break 10.30-11am. When I got to the front he told me the train time, but said I would have get a form from the first window to buy a ticket.
- 3. So I lined up at the next window with my form he sold me a ticket, but said I would have to wait in the managers office for passport check
- 4. I got my passport back
- 5. I have to come back tomorrow afternoon for my bed number

- walked around - Park then along the river all the way East until the road ends at the Raj Bhavan (Governors House). Then back to south side of city - nothing exciting found.

Mon - take train
- bit of internet... 2 hassles 1. My card reader is not working - 2. my phone charger is working only 1/50 time .. I guess I twisted the cable or it's a low voltage thing.

- Station hassles- of course I couldn't just go straight to the platform ...
- I had to over to the North side down the road to the booking office ...
- Wait at window 1 for 5 minutes before I realized the guy sitting in the chair wasn't on duty, but just talking to his friend.
- Queue at window 2 and 10 minutes get my bed number
- get back to the station to find my train is leaving from the south side.
- Arrive at the platform labelled with 8 electronic displays showing my train number and the train there waiting but walked the entire length and didn't find my carriage cos it was still the rain before
- my train arrived 75 minutes later about 45 minutes late.
- The other guy on my birth had brought his friend who didn't have a ticket
- it didn't put me in a good mood
- then I remembered I should have bought a AC ticket to escape the noisy hawkers coming though. ..they weren't so bad.

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