Published by The Weekend Australian, Australia
Indian signs are a thing of wonder. “Elephant and mahout, 907 rupees. Lion or circus tiger, 350 rupees,” says an old noticeboard listing local ferry prices on northeastern India’s Brahmaputra River. I check a small ferry as it pulls out from near the town of Jorhat. It’s stacked with people, cars and vans but I suspect I’m decades too late to see an elephant and mahout or circus lions. Further along the same riverbank I board my own ride, the cruise ship MV Mahabaahu where I’ll spend a week drifting downstream through Assam state. As we set sail I notice a little government pilot boat preceding us. On its foredeck a man with a pole probes the shallow river for its ever-shifting sandbars, as his crew will do for the next 370km. Not once do we run aground.
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