Sheryl writes from India.

Part 1: Puri
Part 2: Kolkata
Part 3: Khalaigat
Part 4: Assam
Part 5: Trains
Part 6: Sikkim
Part 7: West Sikkim
Part 8: Darjeeling
Part 9: New Delhi

Home > Part 4: Assam

I'm in the state of Assam, in the northeast. Assam is has a sizeable Christian  population so there are churches as well as Hindu temples. Spending a few days in  this area because of a good market in Shillong, a former British hill station known as "Scotland of the east" for its championship golf course and polo ground. It's much cleaner up here than in the south, no wandering cows and the dogs are  healthier.

We stayed in the main downtown area, steep, winding cobblestone streets lined  with shops. The streets converge at the top of the hill where the taxis gather. The drawing point of the market was the large indigenous population of Khasi people. They are among the "tribal" people in the area, though many of the regular  townspeople are Khasi. The ones in the market wear traditional clothing, well, everyone does here in some form or other. The people are very tiny and look much  like the hill tribe people in Vietnam or Thailand. The women are beautiful and wear plenty of gold jewelry. For a change, the meat market had pigs! That's unusual for me as I spend so much time in Islamic countries. There is fresh fish everywhere – in the markets, in the restaurants.

Today we're in Guwahati, which sits on the Brahmaputra river. Guwahati has become fairly wealthy recently due to oil and tea cultivation. Took a ferry across the river to an island with a Hindu temple. The river is pretty wide but silted up in  places. There's an excellent museum with a very good ethnological section dioramas of village life. All signage is in both Assamese and English, as it was in Hindi and English down south.

It's been no problem communicating, as most people speak English. Quite a few  bold young people have come up to us to ask where we're from and say hello.  People call out "good evening ma’am" and are pleased when I return the greeting.

Tomorrow we're headed to Sikkim by train, hoping to get to Darjeeling early evening.