Andaman, sweet Andaman. How I miss you.
Oh, Hello, Reader!
How have you been?
It has been a long time. I am still collared and tied to the bed (kidding).
Soon, resting, crying for mommy, or staring at the ceiling became quite frustrating. Our ceiling is pretty boring you know, white with beige border devoid of any unique watermark or D’s paintings (our walls are full of them). I have started typing from yesterday, though painfully slow.
So I decided to start writing the long promised second part of Andaman holiday story. I did finish submitting my short story this Saturday. So that’s something.
Without further ado, here we go.
A summary of Andaman account, part 1
So in the last post, we talked about the planning of a beach vacation. You can check here for details if you are new or wish to refresh your memory.
We have discussed booking hotels, packing essential items especially for a beach holiday in mind and some suggested reads specifically for the exotic islands.
Go Air go Andaman
We had booked our flight with Makemy Trip.
There is only one flight (Go Air) from Bangalore to Port Blair as of now, tentatively 14.30 pm to 17.05 pm. Hence we had decided to stay in Port Blair for that night and go to Havelock next morning.
We enjoyed a lot in the plane though the food was scanty (a suggestion, carry plenty of your own, this flight didn’t offer much in quantity or variety) and the view was breathtaking.
The bright blue sky, white floating clouds, the far away hint of land and vegetation and gradually revealing the mysterious islands of Andaman kept us on the edge of our seat for two and half hours. Even my usually fidgety daughter was too awed.
Once we landed and walked out of the airport, I had a strong hit of nostalgia.
The climate was exactly like Kolkata. Our last visit was in spring though it felt like summer. Hot, humid, that earthy smell after an insufficient bout of rain, I looked at H and saw the same longing in his eyes. We missed home.
The short drive from Veer Savarkar International Airport to Minnie Bay (Chaukhat’s location) took almost 45 minutes due to a road accident. We utilized that time to watch the locals and the locality. Both were so familiar; we wondered what made us think Andaman would be an exotic vacation!
Chaukhat Bed and Breakfast (CBB)
We chose CBB in Port Blair due to its
1. proximity to airport
2. clean, air-conditioned rooms with good bathroom
3. in-house dinner
4. within our budget.
The first night in Port Blair was uneventfully relaxing. Upon arrival, we were shown a room on the third floor. The big, soft, white bed was particularly inviting after a sticky, sweaty, stuck-in-traffic-for an hour-within-10-min-distance, day. But the charming bookcase full of travel magazines and some decent fiction collection lured us away for the evening.
Our hungry stomach pulled us to the dining hall.
We had perfectly cooked Bengali moong dal, spicy, lip-smacking chicken curry, and chapati (yes, they were soft, and crunchy straight from tawa to plate, yum :P). Dessert was custard (after D had finished her and my share, she started eyeing H’s bowl).
Leaving Port Blair
We had planned Port Blair tour towards the end of our vacation. So next morning the nice gentlemen from CBB saw us off with packed butter/jam toasts and fruit juice boxes.
Did I tell you that day starts early in Andaman, around 5 am? Crazy, huh? The bright sunlight at 6 am. gave me the shock of my life!
A long wait at the jetty
We reached the Phoenix Bay jetty by 7.15 am.
Our driver from Dive India dropped us there and fixed us up with a couple of porters.
Remember, ₹100 + ₹20 tips for one large suitcase, one large rucksack, and two more medium-sized duffel bags are usual prices but after much haggling.
There is a waiting room at the end of the long walk across the jetty with lots of chairs and a couple of ticket counters. We already had our tickets booked by Dive India as a part of their meet and greet plan.
After around half an hour of anxious wait, we were asked to form a line. You should have seen the excitement of people around, mostly tourists. Everybody, wearing summer clothes and hats and waving their handkerchief impatiently to beat the heat, grumbled about the heat and humidity.
We were finally allowed to board the delightful Makruzz, one by one and quickly found our seats in the second tier.
Red-tinted glass covered the walls, so we could enjoy the deep blue sea and avoid the scorching sunlight. The snack shop was overpriced but much-needed. The seats had more leg space than aeroplanes.
One and a half hour of rippling blue sea and an illusion of sea breeze (remember the red tinted glass?) we had the first glimpse of land.
The change in scenery in the form of a green conical tip of Havelock Island was exciting. The crew with wind-swept hair bade us goodbye while the blazing sun welcomed us to the unimpressive little jetty in Havelock. We countered the hot-headed, impatient, fellow travellers, with an equally snappy attitude, to get our bags from the heap at one corner of the wharf. We quickly rushed towards the shaded exit with the others. D suddenly decided to throw a tantrum and was picked up by H before I could make good of my threats of dumping her into the sea.
So, this is how we landed in Havelock. I must rest now, again.
I hope to post about our activities in Havelock, this weekend (if the monstrous doctor allows me so).
Stay tuned, stay happy.