Trip Start Oct 16, 2008
23Trip End Ongoing
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
finding a restaurant that serves cold beer as well as food I'm in a
better frame of mind for the next blog installment. We needed the beer
to get over the incredible paperwork frustration that is the Andaman
isles. Firstly just to get in after the flight from Chennai the process
of getting the special Andaman pass that basically allows you into these
Indian islands providing you promise not to interfere with the coral or the indigenous tribes which have become a bit uppedy after the Indian Government had the bright idea of bombing them from a flying boat in 1953. The tribes are basically off limits
which I think is just as well because I'm sure Gill would want us to
visit them notwithstanding the need for the army to guard the road as
each bus passes their villages.
The next fun and games was to
buy a ferry ticket to Havelock for the indolent relaxation that I was
promised at the start of this trip. Well we might get that when we get
there but the beautiful island it is pretty well ring fenced by maxed out stress. The first
indication of what was to come was that there was a policeman on duty
outside the ferry offices before they opened the doors. When we were let
in there was an Harrods sale rush for the 15 blackened windows with
little portholes - so which window should we chose - some were for ladies only some for
'gents' (well that proved a misnoma for a start although the worst argy
bargy actually turned up in the ladies' queues ) some for the main island ferries some for inter island ferries. I plumped for a queue that seemed to have an
efficient looking woman on the other side of the porthole. Mistake
because before the jobsworth delay to exactly the appointed time when
they unfolded their arms and started working, my lady had been replaced
by a jack the lad type who thought he would go off and make sure his
hair was combed properly. While he was away the chap on the next queue
swapped his chair with the missing jack the lad. When jack returned he
didn't like his new chair so he refuser to start work and closed the porthole. Brilliant all the
Indians in front of me ducked under the rails and rammed into the next
door queue leaving Gill and I standing there like lemons. We joined the
back of another queue but now there seemed to be some mafiosa deal
going on at the front - nobody else was allowed to get their ticket
unless they passed the three lads at the front their written orders, their
money and presumably a backhander. So we joined the back of another
queue, this is when there is this almighty bang and a huge policeman
with a turban is now in action with an equally huge stick. He wants '
one queue' at each porthole and either whacks the railing or pokes the
punters until he gets it sorted.
Not so easy in the ladies' queue.
Here a blue eyed blonde rastafarian answered back saying she had been
waiting 3 hours - up went the stick and i thought he was going to hit her on the head - good decision she ran out
leaving boyfriend to finish the job in a gents' queue.
When the policeman was there even the mafiosa got into a
straight line but of course they were still at the front and the racket
continued uninterrupted. Finally I got to the porthole offered up my semi
filled in instruction form (how the hell would I know the name of vessel
for example - but I could fill in the all important age 55 box) and
the don't upset the natives form only to be told that they needed to be
photocopied "outside". So after 2 1/2 hours we were nowhere. I left Gill
at the window took an auto rickshaw into town to get a 'Xerox'. Gill had done
very well in my absence - she met an ex Portuguese pilot with a long john silver earring who doesn't fly
spy planes anymore just cessnas - what a load of bull - anyway I liked
this guy because he had a bloody big stick which amongst other things
stopped the locals pushing past - later he told us that he uses this on
the islands to keep the dogs and snakes away and when he leaves he has
promised to give it to the beturbaned policeman who wants a stick twice
the size of his regular issue!
With the aid of the spy plane pilot we blocked the queue and finally got the coveted tickets - what a sense of achievement - I'm off now to whittle a nice stick and brush up on my bullshit to prize Gill away from her new found friend.
Pics of beautiful Havelock Island to follow