Monday, December 6, 2010

The Old DC's Bungalow

If you DO happen to make it to Nagaland, I would highly suggest that you stay at The Heritage (Old DCs Bungalow on Officer's Hill, Kohima, Nagaland, India). Our host, Theja, and his wife, Angel, manage the historic site with the support of the government. It is set at the top of a mountain with a 360 degree panoramic view of the village and valleys below. There are only two guest rooms. We had a full-time driver (Mele) that picked us up and dropped us off each night and a cook that made foreigner-friendly meals. While Brian and I tried everything that was offered at every event in every town we passed through (except the squirrel--I passed on that and watched Brian gnaw away), it was nice to come "home" and know that we could eat anything they served without worrying about getting sick.

This was also the site of many of the events. Brian's "GLOCAL" Film Festival was held here as was the dinner that we shared with a mixed group of locally-reknown artists and musicians.

While Brian and I were DEFINITELY in Nagaland, I think that we may have had the "Naga Lite" version. I am guessing that many foreigners do. From our experience, everyone we met went far out of their way to make our visit as enjoyable as possible. When I complimented Theja's fireside seats (small, brightly-colored, legless bongo-drum looking objects that required you to squat closer to the ground than you would in a normal chair), he asked, "Could you carry them on the plane?" When Brian complimented a Naga dish that he had tried at the Hornbill Festival (pork smoked with Anishi(?), one of the women attending the Film Festival prepared the spices at home that night and brought him a ziplock bag full of ready-to-cook Anishi pellets the next morning.

We unpacked last night to find all of the gifts that we received along the way~~a signed book of poetry, a handmade print of a rooster, a hand-embroidered scarf, a hand-woven shoulder bag, an intricately beaded Konyak necklace, one-of-a-kind artist-made greeting cards.... I had read on-line before our trip that Nagas take great pride in their unique forms of hospitality. This was proven over and over again throughout each day that we were there.

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