Friday, May 6, 2011

Havelock 1

In some time I will forget how relaxing it was a place to spend the day sitting immersed in water, waiting for a crocodile. Can't recall any of what I experienced in the other places we travelled to. But before that time comes, will put in words, the experience that was Havelock. And no, there was no crocodile, just a lot of travelogues read during the planning phase of the trip that spoke of crocodiles, none that the writers had themselves seen. Of course the ones who saw it might not have been able to come back, tell the tale. Just that reading about so many people saying a crocodile ate up someone sitting on this beach and swimming in those waters, was a little scary. Not enough to prevent us from going of course. And then like ™ Ru, he read up all the negatives mentioned anywhere on the internet (which also included dogs growling across Radhanagar beach come evening), all this while I was happy with the first picture of the blue water I saw and was doing the ™ Ferret ‘excited but not showing it’. He spent some years in Port Blair as a school going kid, many years past. Now with these negative reviews and just being his usual self he said, “let's spend a lot of time in Port Blair, and go to Havelock and Neil islands as day trips”. Nothing was booked yet, apart from the flights to and fro Port Blair via Chennai. The itinerary was all up for grabs, but this was not what I could've settled for. So I had some arguments in my own mind, playing his part and mine. And then while talking about something totally unrelated with him for real, brought up the point of wanting a beach holiday and how all I will end up getting is looking at a town. Again, truly like ™ Ru, he immediately agreed to my terms and did all the travel research and booked us a fabulous holiday in Havelock!

We set out on a Wed night from Hyderabad, and our flight from Chennai to Port Blair was at some unearthly hour of morning. Going by how awesome the airports are now in all the cities that we have to frequent, we assumed that Chennai being a metro city was going to be no less. We planned to spend the 5-6 hours of the night at the airport itself. Sleep for some roam around for some, was the plan. I’ll just say it wasn’t the best of airports (or the best of plans). Have seen smaller towns with better terminals. We pulled up two benches closer together, put our feet up on the one in front and tried to fall asleep. Alarms set and strong instructions given to self, to not oversleep and miss the flight (Ru has done that in the past, sleeping through announcements being made for his name to board the flight. This story is as amusing to me today as it was when I first heard it. :) Oversleep, did I say! As I shifted from one position to the other, looking for a comfortable position with enough support for my back, it looked like Ru was sleeping peacefully. Only I’m not too sure that was possible, it couldn’t just be me not finding a comfortable position to lie between two chairs. As I had settled into one position, a gentleman came and asked me to excuse him for waking me up and demanding that chair opposite me, the one I had my feet perched on. With my eyes half shut, I looked around to find that there was not a single seat available for him, the floor was covered in some places too with people who’d come better prepared with bed-sheets, the security officials chairs were taken up too, even the baggage trolleys were all gone. Fine then! Of course we woke up to switch off the alarms well before they could ring, went and checked in as soon as they opened the counters. Slept through the flight, we’d taken seats separate from each other so we could both have window seats. I for one did not use the window at all. Woke up only when the flight was just about to touch the ground, and the lady sitting next to me showed me her house which was just next to the runway. I was half asleep, I hope I smiled indulgently enough.

Reached Port Blair (PB) early Thursday morning, got out of the airport, looked around for our airport pickup arranged by the resort where we were going to stay at Havelock. We’d also asked them to book us a ferry ride from PB to Havelock island. Ru had all the excitement on his face, pointing to me all the places and streets he could remember in PB. There was my school, there was the supermarket, there was the post office, there was the library, and so on. We’d got us a private ferry from Makruzz, very comfortable and well managed. But you weren’t allowed to go and stand by the rails, so no feeling the wind in my hair on the sea! That will have to wait for another cruise. The only other ferry that I’d ever been on was going to Alcatraz from pier 39, which was a small trip, but thoroughly enjoyable. This one, sitting in an a/c compartment that I was not to get out of for the two hours, was a damp squib only because I had lofty ideas associated to any ferry ride. It’s just a mode of transport on water that provides you a chair to fall asleep in when you have spent the last night trying to sleep on another chair.

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