It's a bit of a hike to get to Cherapunjee, a town in the less travelled North Eastern states of India. Catch the a train to Guwahati, hop on a bus to Shilong, switch buses in Shilong and head for Sohra, and then jump into a taxi for the last stretch, to Cherapunjee. But you won't regret your decision to make the journey.
Cherapunjee is the wettest place on earth, and subsequently the locals have some trouble in the monsoon season - the rivers run so fierce and fast that the bridges wash away. Instead of building new bridges each year, the local use the roots from fig trees growing on the banks to build bridges across the river. To get to the living root bridges, you first have to trek down a mountain, all the way down 2500 steps, across three very wobbly wire bridges and into the riverbed, but when you get there. It's amazing. This is another one of those you-just-have-to-see-it places, and nothing I write here will every convey how incredible it was to see the enormous fig trees with their roots cleverly weaved into a bridge across a river. What's even more amazing is that when you stop for a drink at a local store, which is really just a guys house, the incredibly hospitable store owner tells you that if you walk for another ten minutes you'll see another bridge and a lagoon in the bottom of the now currently pleasant riverbed. My first question - is it safe to swim? It was, and we clambered over the boulders, stripped off (we didn't think to bring bathers, so opted for the cheeky underwear swim) and hoped in. And while I sitting in the sun on a huge boulder, in the bottom of a riverbed, at the bottom of a mountain, with my best friend, I realised that I loved travelling, and that even though it's tough, and it's challenging, and you get tired and cranky, it's incredible.
We dried off for a bit in the sun, clambered back over the boulders and up the mountain, and up two thousand and five hundred steps. It felt like the steps kept on going and going, and local people would walk past, smiling, while I was sweating, panting, and struggling to keep my legs going. Once we got to the top we flagged down a taxi, but when it stopped we didn't think we'd be able to get in. Nope, in India, they make you fit. My travel buddy and I hopped in the front seat, and four adults squeezed into the back seat. They were teachers, and they asked us all kinds of questions - How much were your flights to India? How much do cigarettes cost in Australia? Are you married?. Once we arrived in Sohra we asked around for a bus, but the last one for the day had already left, so we hung around the taxi stand (a bunch of locals standing around) and waited until we could fit in a share taxi back to Shilong. We did fit, eventually - all six of us, and a drive - into a small hatchback. And it only cost us R70 each for a two hour trip. India you be cray cray.