It had been a wonderful trip so far, to one of the remotest and off-beat parts of Arunachal Pradesh. We had just crossed the Gorsham stupa on our way back to Tawang from Zimithang, barely a few kilometers from the Indo – China border, when I first felt it. First, a slight wobble, which I tried to ignore thinking it might be because of the non-existent road that we were driving on. Then, a strong drag.
I could no longer ignore it so, I pulled over, got down, and looked at the rear tire to confirm what I already knew it was. A puncture. Now a puncture for sure isn’t really a big thing until you factor in the fact that the nearest place where I could get the puncture fixed was some 50 kilometers from where I was standing. Not to mention the 50 kilometers of super bumpy or non-existent roads, that saw no vehicles for hours at a stretch.
Now, I did have a spare tire in the boot but, as embarrassing as it could get, I had never changed a car-tire until that day.
Also, behind us, just a few kilometers away, was China (so, no help would come from there either 😉 ) and a bunch of small villages, who have only recently started seeing tourists who stay back, with the opening of a very small number of homestays in Zemithnag.
If you guys remember the last time I was stuck in another remote part of Arunachal Pradesh back in 2017, you would also remember that right when I needed it, someone came out of nowhere to help me and I was finally able to get shelter & food in between nowhere. This time, however, we were not as helpless. So, I did what I had to do and decided to not waste any time and try to get things moving.
While all this was happening, Reshma from the SoloGlobetrotter was watching quietly and most-probably, also cursing me for coming with me on this trip :-p . In my favor, I would say the trip so far, had been really great.
Be it our time at our lovely homestay in Dirang and then our crazy walk to and from our village to the town, in which I managed to get ourselves lose our paths not once but twice. And to top those up, I even managed to take her to a cemetery in that dark night! Or be it the beautiful tour that we took to the Mandala top, one of the many offbeat experiences in Dirang.
I suddenly realized this will make for a good memory, this being stuck in a faraway corner of the country and so near the International border so, I asked her why wasn’t she taking some pictures of me?
Turn out, she was itching to take pictures while I was getting my hands dirty but wasn’t sure how I would feel. So, now with me asking her to go ahead, there was no stopping her and all that you see above, the tire-change pictures I mean, are from her cam.
In a matter of around 20 minutes or so, I had managed to do the job. The stepny replaced the punctured tire and we were ready to move ahead, onwards to Tawang.