Got to Kaziranga National Park yesterday night after 5 hours delay due to general strike by tribal people. Woke up at 4:30am today and have since gone on two safaris. Saw rhino, elephants, wild buffalo, deers of different kinds, monkeys, all sorts of birds and eagles, and paws of tigers. Took alot of wonderfil photos.
Assam people are very friendly and nice. I had many long conversations with the people here. I went to the tourism office and ended up with long tea sessions with the director and the senior staff. I went to a book shop and ended up with S$150 worth of books and very interesting long chats with the shop owner, who is so passionate about book business and told me all about her life and family history.
Unlike other parts of India, I had not encountered any harrassment by touts and conmen. Things are also alot cheaper than other parts of India. Assam people also have some Thai heritage as well, as a Thai prince came here 800 years ago and founded the first Assam kingdom. Many tribes around here also look Chinese, and so people here thought I am Assamese too, although most non-tribal Assamese look Indian to me.
Tomorrow, I will go to Nagaland state where the Hornbill Festival is held. All the Naga tribes will gather in their half-naked loincloth costumes and dance and celebrate their heritage. The Naga people look Chiense-Mongoloid and are Christians. Their great grandfathers and ancestors were headhunters before converting to Christianity. The Nagas and many tribal peoples in the Northeast of India don't really consider themselves as "real Indians", which accounts for the political problems in the region. They are also better educated, as Christian missionaries that converted them set up many English medium schools in these remote mountains.
I have already met my Naga tour guide. Young, handsome, dresses well and speaks good English. Could have passed off as a Singaporean if walking around Orchard Road.
OK, more after I reach Khoima, capital of Nagaland on the border with Myanmar.