Tin tin prays to the ferry god
Trip Start Dec 28, 2008
7Trip End Ongoing
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from mamallapuram i got an early assed taxi ride to the chennai airport and hopped aboard a flight to paradise. as i looked out the window the water was clear turquoise with small islands ringed with white sand. ahhhh! when i arrived in port blair there was a separate immigration and a whole lotta forms to fill out all in triplicate. indians have a form fetish and there needs to be a rehab for it cuz i think, like alcohol and drugs, it MUST destroy families and it's just not right. once i clear immigration and agree to sign over my first born, i hustle myself out of the airport and fling myself into the mob of "madam! madam! taxi! rickshaw! MAAAADAAAAM!". throwing myself at the mercy of the first driver i see, he takes me to a taxi and when i ask how much to the ferry he says "150 rupees" . i flip and am like, "aaaaaw, hell no!". he takes it down to 100 and as i am already halfway in the car i agree and we take off. as we pick up speed he says, "150". i grab the door handle and open the door while we're still moving and he yells "ok, 100!" . come to find out it should have been only 40 becouse it's 2 kilometers. bastard. then he keeps saying, "tip madam, tip sister". i hop out and ignore his persistence and lug my over filled backpack to the ferry station. this ferry will take me from port blair to havelock island which is where i'm headed. luckily i see a ladies line and i stand there looking like i have done this at least a million times before. i obviously don't succeed because the line nazi says i need to get the permit to get a ticket. and the "line" is the screaming pulsating mob to my right. shit. she looks after my gear while i fight a crowd of about 50 men, squeeze my way to the front and then wonder what it is i'm supposed to be doing now. no one is behind the counter but people are yelling and shoving. all of a sudden a woman comes out and starts screaming at a man in the crowd, the crowd surges, she goes away. a man comes out with the countenance of a king and with him he carries a small sheaf of papers. people start going batshit, the shoving is incredible. it took me back to 1984 at the duran duran "7 and the ragged tiger" concert (remember kissy??) but i press on because this flimsy paper is the ticket to my ticket outta there! he is very selective about who he gives them to. he doesn't even look at me. i yell and stretch my hands as far as i can, have a pleading look in my eyes, and all the while am wet to the core with my own sweat (and i'm sure others). i can't be a pretty sight. still he doesn't look at me. the papers dissapear and i am left empty handed. will there be more? is that it? why is this so freakin difficult? and have i lost at least 3 pounds in water weight from this ordeal? please god, let it be so!
eventually another woman comes out with another sheaf and this time i'm prepared. knowing the indian love of "baksheesh" or tipping i tuck a 100 rupee note in my palm and discreetly wave it towards the woman. she looks at me like i have lost my mind. oh god, i just tried to bribe a public official! luckily she gave me the paper anyway and didn't take the bribe, shaking her head rightously. 100 is a bit of cash so i was suprised she didn't palm it, but whatevs, i got my ticket to my ticket and i stand back in line with the line nazi. she is mid yell with a lady who is trying to cut the cue. head wobbling and fire in her eyes i cannot tell what she is saying but is sounds like a curse upon the line cutters family. wow. as i wait even more sweat accumulates on my flesh, my skin and shirt have merged into one stinking form. after shoving and pushing and elbows to the rib i finally get my ticket and hop on the ferry. it is all so worth it when i see havelock approaching. picturesque palm fringed sands. ahhhh. i met some new friends on the ferry and we all head off in search of our hotels and meet up that evening at 7 for cocktails.
havelock is bliss and i meet so many great people. i have a new soulmate named layla who is from canada. we have an awesome time together with her sister and the friends from the ferry. next day is snorkle time and we see some great fish and i work diligently on my tan.
this place was heaven on earth, really. the stars in the sky came out to play at night and it was silent with the exception of quarreling dogs. the last day i rented a scooter and expored all the roads on the island. not many but they took me thru a little jungle in the middle of the island and popped me out on the other side on a fabulous beach. i was not happy to leave but after 4 nights of bliss i had to and now i'm in chennai sucking in the smog and watching my tan fade with every passing moment. i leave tomorrow to start my arduous jouney home. pix will be up in a week and you can all get violently jealous while i pine for better days...
love to you all!