I have added a map of the Andaman Islands to the webpage for viewing purposes to accomodate this story...I hope you enjoy it.
Rule #1 Assume nothing in India
Rule #2 Assume everything in India
Rule #3 Patience is everything in India, except of course when no one around you has got any, then it is time to start throwing elbows.
Rule #4 When the power and water goes out for two days, and all you have left is warm, flat beer or vodka and pineapple juice....drink plenty of it and remember to wear a hard hat.
I flew out to the Andaman Islands of the coast of India on Nov 3. This was of course after my all too awesome 27 hour train ride from Delhi to Calcutta. The Andaman Islands are actually closer to Thailand and Indonesia than they are to India, but I digress. After arriving in Port Blair (the major city on the major island in the Andamans)I discovered, much to my dissappointment, that Port Blair was just like most other Indian cities. People trying to rip you off, traffic trying to kill you, and lineups, or dare I say the word, queues, which are anything but orderly.
I booked my ferry ticket to Havelock Island, after waiting in line for over an hour an half at the ferry terminal. It still never ceases to amaze me that grown men in some countries are absolutely, incredibly incapable of standing in a linear line. Is it really that functionally difficult?? Only someone who has traveled to another country where this takes place can truly appreciate this phenomena.
I left for Havelock Island in the morning hoping to find something far more exotic than the noisy, humid Port Blair. Get ready for jealousy to invade you, all of you back home in several feet of snow. I stayed here: http://www.pristinebeachresort.com/
It was paradise right out of my subscription to Islands Magazine (I actually do have a subscription...or I did). The tourists were few, the sky was blue, the water was warm and clear, and the beers were cold. After 5 days of this heavenly bliss I figured that by the end of my 10 days I would be a nice golden brown. But my paradise soon came crashing down and shit hit the fan...literally. Along came rolling Cyclone Sidr, which decided to fuel up on the warm waters off the coast of the Andamans before heading north through the Bay of Bengal and feasting on poor Bangladesh. Fortunately for us, the Cyclone's eye was far enough off the coast that there were no serious effects on the Andamans. Instead, the weather just turned to crap. We got a ton of rain, and the wind kicked up something fierce. A transformer was blown over one night and smashed, leaving most of the island without power and water for 2 and a half days. All of this wouldn't have been so terrible, but the high winds also made it impossible for the ferries to run to and from the major island and Port Blair. Hence, the problem. I changed my flight from Port Blair to Calcutta in less than a minute online with an airline called Spice Jet, but spent 3 days on the phone and the internet trying to change my flight from Calcutta to Singapore with a ridiculously disorganized and useless airline called Air India Express.
It wasn't all bad though. Most of us staying at our resort had become good friends and we dipped into several bottles of Vodka one night, only to be later dancing with hard hats singing along to "My Sharona". Our collective mixmash of Canadians, Aussies, Kiwis, Israelis, Brits, Belgians, and Irish, ment that a second drink was never out of reach and a good time was just around the corner.
Hopefully, those folks who I met out there will send me some pictures so that I may add them to this website, as Tanya had the digital camera when she went out to her Meditation course.
You'll all be glad to know that we are now safely in Singapore, and since we have the luxury, and we enjoy being spontaneous, we have booked flights leaving to Australia in 2 days time. We figured we'd have ourselves an Aussie Christmas and then head north into Indonesia and hit up the rest of South East Asia.
Here's to happy travels. Cheers.