After the hectic travel from Tawang and Tezpur’s blackout, we delayed a bit in the morning, forgetting that all vehicles leave early in the morning before 6:00 AM.
Around 09:00 am, we went to the ASTC stand for the bus. The people booking the sumos, made me go from one counter to another; which was across each other. Realizing, they were doing this for fun, I asked them, is this how you treat people who come to visit this place. I was furious. Finally, they said that there is no bus. I asked for bus which would drop us to Naharlagun or North Lakhimpur (on the way to Ziro). Still, they refused to guide, I went to the Station master and asked him for help. He guided us properly and told us to go to North Lakhimpur, he even made sure that we get in the right bus. Again saw, two faces of people, one plain stupid and another generous.
The bus came at 09:45 AM, and finally left Tezpur at 11:00 AM picking up passengers at every stop. I did realize that we are not going as planned and need to re-route my original plan, because we reached North Lakhimpur at 4.00 PM and further sumo to Ziro was not available. We were dropped at Ziro Counter, booked tickets for next day morning at 5.30 am. We stayed in Hotel Malinee for Rs. 1000. Secluded Hotel Room, very basic minimum and the corridor had a look of location straight out of some Ghost movie, chipped walls, badly maintained. We preferred to stay indoors and checked out early morning itself. Got auto, landed at Ziro counter, loaded our bags and bid adieu to Lakhimpur.
We reached Ziro in the afternoon at 11:00 AM. We went further to Old Ziro in a Sharing Omni. On reaching Old Ziro, we realized, most of the hotels were in Hapoli, new Ziro. The driver informed us that most of the sightseeing places were in Old Ziro, we were in dilemma, whether to go back or stay. Also, the homestays were in Siro, which was further few kilometers away. The driver gave us an option of staying in his home; we decided to check it out later. We hired him to show us around till 3:00 PM (Rs. 1300). He took us first to the View Point, from where entire Ziro and its green paddy fields can be seen. Ziro has a tropical climate, with no sign of rain, that day. After view point, he took us to different bastis (villages), showed us some of the important religious places of each basti, took us to Shilka lake (on the way, we saw some people cutting the huge Pine trees illegally, they eyed us suspiciously, looked like some Timber mafia, a landslide prone area yet people cut down trees which hold on those soil in first place), ending the tour with Kiwi Orchard Farm.
Here we brought a Kiwi Juice, when I tasted, realized it has actually started fermenting into alcohol. My friend relished that for next few days. The driver took us to his home, his wife offered us tea, after that we went to look for room. It was basic and without bathroom. We apologized to him and asked him to build an attached toilet to it, so that, in future, travelers can experience his hospitality. He later dropped us at Hotel Valley View, we booked a 3 bedded room (Rs. 1000, since, it was bigger). We freshened up and left in the evening to take a stroll down the market. We ate local bhelpuri, pani puri (unsweetened) and eventually had dinner in the hotel itself, since they had a good restaurant.
We called up the Travel agent, whose number I picked up while sightseeing, booking two middle row seats for North Lakhimpur and further from that to Majuli. But, then it doesn’t happen the way it is planned at the last stages of my trip as usual…..