Not necessarily in that order….
It doesn’t matter what country you’re from or what you think you know about traveling in India or anywhere else for that matter, expect the worst when you have dengue fever and your skin is burning!!!
This is India and and everything moves in every-which way including your stomach….Ok I don’t really know if I had the Dengue but I do believe this was the strongest fever I ever had, hallucinations or waking dreams of a little elf like creature trying to convince me, under different disguises, that i should have my fever in Auroville….??? Yeah anyway I’m all better now, the best wife in the world took best care of me.
The scary thing is that I felt ill the eve of a long journey, which meant that I could be stuck without a toilet or have really shady options for my uncontrollable body fluids. No bed, no problem…I fell asleep on a concrete bench waiting for our boat that would take us off these paradise islands.
Apparently the worst time was that very first night, part of the next day was spent in a hammock which was relaxing as Jess checked us out of our beach hut. We called some rickshaws to get to the jetty, jumped in with three friends we had made in Havelock and headed towards the boat. Shaky rides are these three wheeler covered mopeds, made me feel nauseous but everything stayed put and i needed more rest I was feeling weak.
The thing about a lot of rickshaws is that they feed on the traveler’s hunger, exhaustion and confusion. With this knowledge, they abuse our trustee nature, triple or quadruple the faire, cry and whine about wasted precious time to raise the faire one more time, along with countless other tricks they hide up their sleeves. I’m sure somewhere in the madness, it all makes perfect sense but in the end it makes us doubt everyone of them. We had stayed on Havelock long enough to know how these guys work here and it went as smooth as I could have ever wished for, being ill and all that! Big thanx to the happy rickshaws!!!
Now we wait for the ferry to get here. It’s still hot and i am starting to feel the fever making a comeback, i feel week and tired. While Jess and our new friends who are starting to feel their stomach rumble, wait with our bags by the gate, I found myself that nice concrete bench to fall asleep on. On the boat, we had assigned seats but we all stayed on the top deck to lay around in the fresh air which was 100 times more comfortable than the awkward stuffy room without a view and full of stares.
The ferry’s a big rusty floating steel boat that makes one wonder if it will make the two and a half hours crossing to Port Blair. That didn’t matter much to me, all I wished for was that it wouldn’t rock too much, I already was on the verge of nausea. Surprisingly the bathrooms on this particular boat were quite clean. Though I didn’t get sick, I did need to know where they were in case of much pressing business to attend to.
The ride was smooth as could be, it is a big boat after all, on a calm see. All we needed now, before I could properly rest was another rickshaw and climbing the stairs to our hotel which we had already called for a reservation.
It’s been close to 24 hours since I first started feeling ill and we were finally settled in a room. I could not go to dinner with everyone, I was still feeling ruff and needed to be in bed resting and near a bathroom…just in case! Again my wonderful wife brought me something to eat, but i did not eat very much at all until the next morning. I was feeling much better, almost normal, and I was happy because we still had a plane to get on and an overnight train after that!
There isn’t much to say about the plane, it’s a plane and it’s no different than the planes we’ve all seen… well aside from the passengers’ inability or unwillingness to follow safety instructions. The trains on the other hand are much more fun than at home!
Open windows, open doors, bunk beds and chai every 15 minutes. The sleeper trains are full of surprises but they run smooth and through the night. The family sitting across from us shared their food with us and we were unable to refuse…we tried because of my belly but they insisted by making us plates. It was delicious!!! Sleeping is a bit ruff but full of dreams because of the rocking and the many different sounds from the guy selling coffee or chai to the platform announcements at every stop to the chatter of cellphones rigging.
We made it to the very southern tip of India from the Andaman Islands through Chennai taking a couple auto rickshaws, a boat, a plane, a local train and a night train without being all that well, but we made it and it was worth the trip. I am glad we didn’t have to travel one day before schedule…I don’t know how I would have handled it, had it all started the night my fever started!!!!!!
What a trip…