Our flight arrives 2 hours late to Chennai, so it's 1:30AM by the time we arrive, and 2AM before I really figure out what's happening.
It seems that the CEO of Air Deccan wants to ride on the first ever flight to the Andamans, and so the airline has delayed our departure by 2 hours, so he can get a bit of beauty sleep.... Thus, no 4AM checkin anymore - but 6AM.
That gives me 4 hours to kill. The airport is -full- to the brim with israelis all thinking along the same lines as me... they're properly camped out, and have taken all decent soft spots.
However, just as I settle down, at around 2:30, the airport starts to fill with a thick cloud of smoke. It seems that every morning, they fumigate the terminal for mosquitoes. The place was literally full of smoke so thick that you couldn't see a suitcase 4 meters away. I have amazing photos of it, but given that it's poison, I didn't want to sit and sleep there. Many people, surprisngly enough, stuck it out.
So I wandered outside into the intense Chennai humidity. Even at 3AM, it was damn hot. And then it hit me... the one place in India that always has A/C is the little security room that surrounds the ATM machine.
There is a brand new Citibank ATM machine attached to the outside of Chennai Airport. I swiped my ATM card, dragged my bags in, put my sheets down on the floor, tied a rope around the door to prevent any real customers from using the room, and settled down for a nap.
2 hours later, I was woken by some annoying Indian. He knocked on the door, I opened it, and then he asked me for money. Something along the lines of "You're a foreigner, you're rich, give me 2000 rupees". Luckily, my present situation at least gave me a funny response: "Boya, if I had 2000 rupees, do you think I would be sleeping on the floor of an ATM machine room?".... Once I shooed him away, the security guard responsible for the ATM showed up, gun in tote, and so it was decide to pack up, and head back to the airport.
The flight was pretty un-eventful, other than the fact that it was packed to the brim with Israelis... and no CEO (so we were delayed for nothing).
We were met at Port Blair by the local news media, and a welcome team who gave me indian sweets, and put a bit of paint on my forehead... quite nice.
The early afternoon was spent mostly flirting with the 3 israeli girls who attached themselves to me ( I somehow managed to propose to one of them in the rickshaw from the airport, but I'm sure I can write that off to lackof ATM room sleep exhaustion).
I'm staying in Port Blair itself for the night. Too much travelling, and not enough sleep. I need to get cash, and send off this blog entry as it's just too funny a tale to remember for a month. Tomorrow morning, i'm booked on the once a day 6AM boat to Havelock island, where, I hope, there will be no internet, no cellphone service, etc...
My goal then, will be to relax, and avoid the damned sandflies, which I'm already hearing stories about
Oh, and it's damn chilled out here. It's india, for sure, but so much slower - if thats even possible to imagine.