Taking the Enfield across Mizoram (India)

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Our three-month road trip through the Seven-sister states of India started in Assam. After our journey through Meghalaya and Tripura we arrived in state #4. Our Mizoram road trip consists of a beautiful mix of driving and meeting local people. Here’s a snapshot.

The last stretch across the mountain ridge is fantastic with the sun setting on our left, the sky above the forested slopes changing from orange and red to a slowly darkening blue-ish and purple. By the time we drive into Mamit, it’s pitch dark.

Boo Boo Guesthouse doesn’t seem to exist anymore. I walk around, searching for somebody who can help me. Coen is waiting on the motorcycle and we are simultaneously approached by someone who wants to help.

‘There is a tourist lodge just around the corner, up the hill,’ both tell us and accompany us to make sure we don’t miss the narrow path, after which they say goodbye.

The Tourist Lodge is a government building. A basic room costs 1000 rupees, a bathroom with hot water 1500, the caretaker explains. The journey was long and cold after the sun had set, we happily pay for the hot water.

We take a day of rest in Mamit. Situated on a narrow edge, the town offers grand views of forested mountains on both the east (sunrise for the early risers) and the west (grand sunsets). The people are kind, we do our share of ‘one selfie, please’ requests, and simply enjoy a day of wandering about, drinking chai and being where we are.

Travel Guides for India

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Insight Guides – India

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Back on the road

We leave Mamit and drive south to Reiek. The road swerves to the left, it swerves to the right; with ease we lean into curve after curve on the perfectly asphalted road that leisurely winds through the mountains. Until we hit an unexpected hole and are rudely awoken from our reveries. At other points, the blacktop simply disappears for a few meters, a hundred meters, a few kilometers. 

At one point a landslide destroyed the road. A narrow passage is all that remains, a long quagmire. I walk across the high edge of sand and boulders and take a video of Coen half driving, half walking his feet along the bike to keep it upright as he traverses the slippery stretch.

And, just as sudden, asphalt returns. At one point workers are sweeping the ground with a small broom while squatting, whereas elsewhere road work is done with professional machines. 

Recommended Books on Overlanding by Motorcycle

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Motorcycle Trip Journal

Land of Dawn-lit Mountains – Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent

One Man Rides Northeast (India) – Ketan Joshi

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Village life

In Mizoram most are Christian – Baptist, Catholic, 7-day Adventists, Presbyterian, you can easily count five churches in an average town and some of them are impressive in size. It’s Sunday and everyone is going to church. People are dressed to the T. Women in buan (local name for wraparound skirt) with embroidered patterns and fancy high heels.

We stop at a hotel-cum-restaurant, a wooden shed with windows opening up to a grand view of the forested mountains. Rice, dahl and plain omelette for lunch; it’s easy to order and always tasty. After chatting with some of the fellow visitors, we take our time for the ‘one selfie please’ request and hit the road once more.

At Dreamland Homestay

In Reiek we stay at Dreamland homestay, which opened its doors only last October. Eventually there will be three rooms, for now one room is finished and it’s ours for the night. We mainly speak with their English-speaking daughter Remi. She explains that her parents have put all their money into this project after her father wanted a cahnge from being a farmer of turmeric. 

We are lucky the homestay is open as it’s Sunday, and on the day of the lord they are normally closed. However, a group of Hindu tourists from Mumbai had begged them to prepare them a meal while they were waiting for the rest of the tour group that had gone up up the hill to visit some kind of adventure park. 

It’s cold and they are sitting in front of the homestay where Remi has put a bowl with woodfire. After the group has left we take a seat around the fire where the parents join us. 

‘Do you like local wine? the father asks. He gets it from downstairs and pours the rice wine in a glass. We should add water, he remarks, and takes a glass himself. Never mind Mizoram being a dry state; we’ve been here two nights and two nights we’ve been offered liquor.

In good company we spend the evening around the fire. In the distance the lights of Aizawl, the capital, seem like Christmas lights. It feels like midnight yet it’s only six o’clock. The sun sets early here. After dinner – veg rice – they take us to their home to watch the World Cup final, which Coen really would like to see.

Television night

However, after having walked downhill to their home, we can’t enter because daughter #2 has locked the house and has gone to church. No problem. We will wait at a friend’s a few houses away, Remi says. That owner is about to leave but it doesn’t matter – ‘Sit down, make yourself at home!’ 

Half an hour later, daughter #2 arrives on the moped. We divide ourselves over the four low sofas in front of the old-fashioned television. Red tea with biscuits is served and I empty my contribution of two bags with namkeen (salty snacks) in a bowl and put it on the table.

We are ready for the finals Argentina – France!

World Cup Finals 2022 in Mizoram, India (©Coen Wubbels)

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