Andaman Day 5: Tues Aug. 16.Today we checked out of Emerald Gecko and took the 9 am ferry back to Port Blair, where I discovered I have an innate ability for violent seasickness--it was not a fun ride. We were the only white people on the boat both times, which is a really strange feeling. I had gotten used to strange looks from people in Tiruvanammulai, where I was for the past few weeks before this, but in other cities, it takes some getting used to again. People will just sit across from you and stare at you. They don't say anything, they just stare. Or, if you're an army officer at the gate, you tell me I have a nice face. Thanks...as opposed to what, exactly?
We hadn't booked a hotel in Port Blair yet, so we took a pre-paid rickshaw to one of the properties suggested in my guide book to check out the rooms. Our driver tells us of his affinity for WWE and the Undertaker. Reminded me of that scene in Eurotrip where they end up in eastern Europe and they have just gotten Miami Vice on tv...a little behind the times. Wrestling is so 1999...I think. Or never. Shocking fact, I'm not a big fan. Naturally, he takes us to the wrong resort, but we decide to check it out anyways. The bedroom was seedy yet livable for one night, but the bathroom looked like they pulled it straight out of the swamp. Much like dating, this is an absolute DEALBREAKER.
Moving on, we checked out a place we passed on the way to the first one, Sinclairs Bayview, and it was much better, albeit more expensive. James bargained down to Rs 2100 from 3500, so we took it. We just wanted to be comfortable before our long travels the next day, and this place had airport transfer, internet (although that's debatable with the connection speed, it was like dial-up all over again...on second thought, maybe they ARE stuck in 1999...Michael J. Fox, where are you!), and free breakfast.
After getting our bags, the rickshaw driver tried to get us to pay him extra because it took about an hour for this whole process--but isn't the whole point of a pre-paid taxi that you don't have to pay at the end? It's not our fault he took us to the wrong place first, and if there was an extra charge for waiting, they should have told us at the stand where we paid. I felt bad for him, but it's kind of not our problem--we can't just give him money because he feels like he deserves more, not with pre-paid.
We walked around Port Blair in the afternoon, and went to the aquarium, which was very basic, but for Rs. 5 it was a good detour. I learned to identify many of the species we saw snorkeling, which was great.
After giving up on the tragically slow internet available only in the lobby of the hotel, I headed back to the room to watch a mixture of Bollywood classics and brutal B movies that are for some reason extremely popular in India--Anaconda 2: Trail Of Blood may be the worst film I've seen, yet somehow it made it all the way over here and I'm still not famous. Maybe I need to rethink my career path.
We finally settled on The Alamo (great movie by the way), and in the process of getting ready for bed, I discovered something moving in my backpack. I froze apprehensively, waiting for this thing to reveal itself. Get ready for it, a COCKROACH was in there. I screamed and James went to work dismantling my luggage, pulling out one bra after another, looking increasingly uncomfortable, until he found the critter and captured him with a teacup. MacGyvered. And this is supposed to be one of the nicest hotels in Port Blair. I guess that's the trade-off: you either get isolated beach paradise but sketchy accommodation at best (like what we found here), or you get bathed in the lap of luxury, but you have to bribe fish to come near you (in the Caribbean). Luckily we were only there for one night before a long day of travel.