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Monday, December 13, 2010

Port Blair!!

(31st october 2010,updated today.....hope this post makes you yearn to visit P/B and if you do, I hope I have charted out the places you must visit)
Hey!! Finally I feel like blogging. The past days have been exhausting and most of all, today. But today was the best day of my life and I want to get it down.
I guess you know that right now I am vacationing at andaman and nicobar. We are at Port Blair actually. So I think I will take you through my adventures here and build up the climax for today
24th Oct- We took the flight from BBSR to Chennai, landing at about 4. Didn't go about in chennai much, retired early because of the early flight next day. And oh yes, avoid Air India flights, the hostesses are old, fat, totally de-glam, rude and wear "hairstyles" that are actually a scanty mass of hair clutched on the middle of the top part of their air-heads
25th Oct- Hmm...the fun began the moment I stepped into the 4.45a.m. flight to Port Blair (I'll use P/B for short). There were the three of us and three more family friends. We were late the time we reached the airport....this time the driver (and not me) did not wake up on time! Anyways the counter was closed and somehow they finally let us in and we rushed into the waiting plane. I still remember, my seat was 4F, away from the rest of the group. I really did not have a problem...I was planning on plugging in my player and catch up on lost sleep anyway. I hate non-window seats. Anyways this guy had his either-gf-or-wife just across the aisle, in 4C and wanted to sit with her. He requested me to exchange my seat with his. I did not mind that either...I just needed a place to doze...until this guy told me he has his seat in the executive class. I was like freaking-what? Bless the guy's sachha made him exchange my economy seat with his exec window seat! I watched the sunrise over the clouds, the clouds were damn beautiful and of course, watching those virgin islands pass below you was surreal. And here's a piece of advice to you- don't really ever waste money on an exec flight, in a line "what's served as white-wine in eco class is served as chardonnay in exec". Same things, but served with wider smiles and lower curtsy while you relax in wider b**t-spaces.
We reached about 8 and moved into small cottages. After breakfast, we went to the Anthropological museum displaying tribal culture details and then Ross Island. It has ruins of those britishers' buildings, a lot of greens and the best part- tame deer and peacocks roaming about, whom you can feed with your hands. Yep and the "daab"-the green coconuts there are famous. But is the taste of coconut somehow influenced by whether they grow in fresh-water or saline water? Because I can swear they tasted just like clear soda water! And we got to see some mind blowing sunsets too
26th Oct- I really prefer wildlife over monuments, so I will rush through my visits to Cellular Jail and those govt shops. In fact, I won't linger much on what monuments I saw, they do not excite me as much as flora and fauna do. And here's another advice, Should you happen to visit P/B, stay at Nigar Inn, just in front of the airport. The rooms are of course great but whats better is the homely atmosphere and the care you are given. Nope, they did not pay me to advertise for them, they (the managers and staff) are actually overwhelmingly nice. Went to carbine's beach (I think thats what they called it)but mama had some inkling and did not let me go into the water. Later we came to know the tsunami had washed away the beach and there was a steep drop down just a few meters from where we were standing and also that lots of people drown there every year!!
27th Oct- Went to samudrika, the navy's collection of corals, fish, shells and all
28th Oct- Went to the best Science Park I have ever visited. And the scenery is beautiful too. Its built on a cliff jutting out into the sea and the building is encased in a womb of rainforest. It was really fun revising the basic principles of science-- I actually forgot my age and embarrassingly...leave it! And by the way, have you seen that ball trick- how they balance a ball on a stream of air from a pipe? I realised there it was based on bernoulli's principle. To think that all those years back, about a decade, I believed that trick to be a copyrighted "magic-trick" only Euroclean vacuum-cleaners could do and hence had ended up making my parents buy something that really wasnt needed.
29th Oct- Had drove down to Chidiatapu this day, probably the best sunset point on the whole island. Since the croc incident at Havelock last year, they have put up boards on every beach saying "Crocodile-Infested Beach". And I think I need not say what effect it had on mama. She did not let me step into the water! Why go on a beach then? And every single log floating in the water made her suspicious that it was a huge crocodile waiting to gulp her daughter!! Grrrr!! Anyways, check out my albums!
30th Oct- Rained a lot so did not move around at all. Had a great seafish cuisine at Megapode resort though. Was thrilled about pure seafish, but most of it tastes like fried chicken with tough flesh and smelling like "sukhua", something I disliked. And that lighthouse--I swear someday I am going to fulfill my wish of spending a night on a lighthouse! Few things tug at me like a solitary beaming lighthouse,on a quiet night does!
31st Oct- And thats today. Did not I say it was the best day of my life yet? We went to Wandoor and from there you are taken via ferries to Redskin island. Redskin is small and famous for corals. You can either opt for going about in glass-bottomed boats or snorkel. I decided on the latter. The guide put a tube around me and under my arms and gave me a set of goggles and that breathing tube. Underwater, it was the most beautiful scene ever. I am warning you, take off now for I am going to describe it in details. There were finger corals, orange in color with just the tips white. He (the guide) picked up a sea cucumber and placed it in my hands. It was black, slimy and soft. And the fish! Remember Nemo? In that movie? An orange and white striped chubby piscean? I saw him!! And a huge fish, larger than a 6-footer's palm, shaped like a triangle and vibrantly striped in yellow and blue. There were butterfly fish and pig fish- sucker mouthed blue flat soccer-ball shaped with yellow fins. And a huge greyish-green fish with white spots. And yes, zebra fish, black and white stripes all through. There were groups of red, blue and fluorescent-green fish that circled about my feet. It was incredible. There were so many colors....and it was just as they show on discovery. Should I decide to describe each fish I saw, this post would take all day! Only when I felt suffocated that I realise I had forgotten to breathe through my tube in awe. I asked my guide to take me to the ocean floor....I wanted to touch them. He flipped off my tube and pulled me down. God damn mind-blowing it was. And I waved about the water-lilies too... greenish-blue fern-type shy creatures. there were more..he pulled me to a sponge, shimmering golden and as I pressed the soft creature, small blue and red fish rushed out from its folds. And there were magnificent brown table-corals and yellow tree-corals and huge white boulder corals too.....there were sea-urchins too. And prussian-blue patches glowed on the ocean floor...he said that they were carved to make pearls too...only when you touch them you get to know they are not patches but a soft mass of what seems like dark-blue glitter...I just went crazy about it, the way colored fishes showed themselves from underneath rocks and weeds and swim about you.....before taking another dive, he told me that he would show me a "sea honeymoon'. I asked him twice and he repeated himself. Anyways, we dived again and he guided me to a sea-anemone. It was orange with white tentacles. It was so freakingly pretty that before I could stop myself, I gasped, pulling in water through my snorkel tube. One more advice- sea water hurts...your eyes and nose and throat feel like they have been set on fire. So should you decide to commit suicide by drowning, go for freshwater please, it will make death a little less painful for you. I feel heaven could not be prettier than this. They were all the colours in all the combinations one could think of. It seemed like god got bored one day and suddenly decided to play with the brightest colors on his pallette and made this marine ecosystem....
We parents were dazzled like me too...and on the return journey, guess what! We came across a huge crocodile freakishly close to Redskin island!! And we also passed by the "VIP"island, where Kaho-na-pyaar-hai was shot
I am going to Mount Harriet tomorrow, a long drive over hills overlooking the sea. I thought Kashmir was the best place before, but A&N has replaced it now. God made these islands in a good mood!
And by the way, A&N was hit by an earthquake 2 days back, every single supply is flown down from vizak and chennai everyday, land is 10 times costlier but on the good side, petrol's a lot cheaper here, electricity is too, there's no cinema hall or a shopping mall and no robberies either, the people are warm and very friendly and even the main road looked like a drive through a rainforest. This is my perfect definition of "Dreamland"!
Signing off

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