Neill Island - Port Blair - Delhi - Bishkek
From the book "Straight to the South", part 3 "Visiting a sea cow", episode 25.
This is final story of our journey straight to the South. It tooks three days to get home.
On March 28th we woke up very early, at 3 am, because we were going to go to the South-Eastern beach of the Neill Island, it is called Sitapur Beach or just the beach #5. It is about 6 km from our hotel, a tuk-tuk requested 800 rupees for round-trip delivery and waiting. Expensive, but they have such prices, you will hardly find cheaper. Also he had to get up in the middle of the night... We drove in complete darkness.
People gather here, as well as on a sunset beach, to watch a performance organized by nature.
There were considerably less people than on the evening performance, but 30-40 people gathered, some young foreigners, other Indians, who came to Neill for one or two nights as part of tour groups. For them, living in hot and overpopulated continental India, a trip to the Andaman Islands is simply a miracle. It was clear that they were happy to enjoy the morning sea and the first rays of the sun, which, by the way, did not hurry to rise up, the horizon was closed by clouds, and a bright yellow piece of the light appeared among them only for a minute or two.
We did the whole procedure of meeting a new day from 4:30 to 5:30, we bathed in the sea and tuk-tuk took us back to the hotel. The narrow road, by the way, was paved, but uneven, with bumps. But there was no dust:)
We had to leave the room before 10:00, this is a strictly rule here: if you will be late – they can force you one more day to pay. But we had enough time to pack our things, have breakfast and even sleep a little. Then we dozed at the reception under the fans, at 1 pm we had a lunch in the hotel restaurant. I ordered a peppermint rice with cardamom and shrimps, something like Spanish paella, they brought a very decent pan, I barely mastered it, overeaten so that then I did not have dinner - I did not want to.
At 14:10 we sat into a tuk-tuk, which for 100 rupees brought us to the pier. Sea ferry "Green Ocean" departed on schedule at 15:00. This time we got seats in the second cabin, here chairs were arranged by 3 seats in a row facing each other, and it was a table between them. It was a little tight, but just for one hour forty five. Two boys and their father sat across from us. The boys told that one of them wants to become a military man, and the other – a paleontologist, because he is very interested in dinosaurs. Then they drew frogs and fishes, one of them began tell fortunes to our ladies by a simple table, in such style as: "You will live in Italy, ride a Lamborghini and get married to a superhero" :) We had fun, in general. Their father told me that yesterday he first submerged in the water on the intradive and saw the octopus, and I showed him my shooting of dugong and other fish.
We arrived to Port Blair in the evening. We were attacked by tuk-tuk drivers at the exit. After a long talk with them for the price, eventually traded for 2 tuk-tuks for 100 rupees each. It needs two because tuk-tuks in Port Blair have not a luggage place, three of us with suitcases were too much for one tuk-tuk. After couple of kilometers along the waterfront road we came in a tiny home hotel Horizon View Bed & Breakfast. Rooms on the second floor were only 2, beds were large, there are air conditioning, fans, toilets combined with shower, in general, all for happiness. Even the Internet was there, weak, but was.
We left our things and went to watch the night Port Blair. We just went along the street, on the side of which the evening green market was located. We walked past a couple of Hindu temples, met a young policeman who told us: "Walk anywhere, in case of problems contact us, we will solve everything". And, indeed, he solved: in search of a beer we looked for a little bar, where local drinkers live. It was dirty and dark inside, we did not like this place. At this moment, our new friend policeman was near, he advised to take a tuk-tuk and go to the Sea Shell hotel. It was interesting to compare it with the hotels of this company, where we lived on the Islands. At the entrance we were met by the head waiter, walked to the lift, then to the roof of the building - the restaurant was there. There was beer there, big bottles of 600 ml by 300 rupees, a loud boy sang the songs of "Beatles", and the lights of the big city were visible from the balcony. The evening was wonderful, we even danced a little. We did not sat long time, the day was long, we wanted sleep and I do not even remember really how we get to our beds and collapsed.
We were pleased with sunrise at the morning. We had a view straight to it from the room window and not have to wake up in the midnight to go somewhere to get dirty in the sand - just admire, take pictures as you wish :)
We washed once again, read the news – the Internet worked in the morning, we had breakfast, if I may named it breakfast, because there was nothing more than a bread with butter and jam and tea, that's all. Sveta suggested that if we had paid not in the evening but before departure, we would have boiled eggs, but well... Well, maybe :)
At 8:00 yesterday tuk-tuk drivers came for us, we hade evening agreement with them about the delivery of us to the airport for 200 rupees for tuk-tuk, it means total 400 rupees. The owner of the hotel said that we could save money and book one car for just 250 rupees, but the question is what kind of car, would it fit for all our luggage or not... In general, we arrived in 15 minutes and immediately entered inside. They checked our passport and tickets and will not released us outside. The same system was at Delhi airport, I just forgot about it. But there is nothing interesting inside, and we bored in chairs for two hours, and then went on board of the plane…
Three hours and forty five minutes later we successfully landed at the Delhi airport. We bought a ticket for a taxi for 400 rupees at window Pre Payment Taxi. The real price for it is 365 rupees, but the seller rounded the price when I told him that we have cash in Indian currency, and have no dollars, and he couldn't play with exchange rate and change. India! On the way at a crossroad beggars-children climbed to the open window of our taxi with a professional expression on their faces "Gi-i-i-ve us something...", as well as their not skinny mothers, they look as not needies. We closed the window ...
We decided to spend the night before flying home in a small budget hotel located 12 kilometers from the airport, is not far according to the standards of the capital of India. New Delhi in the area of the Aurobindo Bazaar is an interesting place, you can admire the mosques and tombs of the architectural historical complex Hauz Khas right from the courtyard of the hotel – the former village of the thirteenth century, which arose during the Delhi Sultanate.
There was Deer Park at walking distance from our hotel. This is a green zone in the center of a huge metropolis, where the main and honorable inhabitants are spotted deers. In addition to them, you can see here graceful peacocks, nimble and cautious rabbits, ducks and swans floating in the pond, and even Guinea pigs. People come here to rest from the exhausting heat and noise of the big city. A town with shops and restaurants formed on the shore of the pond, where we went to in the evening in search of food and leisure. We asked the local young people where we could go and then found ourselves in Hauz Khas Social restaurant, a very interesting modern club with rock music, with European cuisine and drinks. To be honest, I did not expect to find a place like this in India, I expected something traditional, national, chicken with rice with curry sauce, for example, so a hefty steak of correct roasting surprised me pleasantly. And also, the place is very unusual: inconspicuous entrance in a small courtyard and there is a big restaurant for young people four floors high. Prices there, I would say, were sane, no wonder, it named "social". In fact, there are five floors of the club, an additional level is located between the third and fourth, it is called "antisocial". It can only be reached by stairs, the lift does not stop at this level. I do not know which anti-social vices they used there, may be playing cards, or whatever, we did not try to find out. We ate, we drank and went to sleep. And I thoughtlessly opened a window in the room , I needed some fresh night air to breathe, but we were bited by mosquitoes savagely... Well.
In the morning of the next day we found a taxi, agreed for 500 rupees to the airport – drivers did not agree cheaper price, then we checked in, passed the border, and then we hung up for an extra two hours in the departure zone, because our plane was delayed for two hours. But the planeI arrived here, thanks, and now the third hour of the flight ends, and we see the Tien Shan mountains under us, we will soon be home... Hurray!
Look at our movie about the way home, it is the last in this book. We are already discussing the next trip, so the continuation will be surely. We don't say goodbye for long. Bye!