Friday, March 17, 2006

Missed the Boat


The day was going so perfectly.

Slept the night in Port Blair, picked up my permit in the morning to visit Smith and Ross Islands, had a ticket for the night boat up north to Diglipur.. the only thing left to do now was to get dinner....

A slight confusion over the actual departure time leads to the following gem of Wisdom:

Chris' Rule of Boat Timetables.
In case of confusion over the time of departure for a boat that leaves twice per week, where one person believes that the time on the ticket is the "checkin" time, and you believe that it is the departure time - err on the side of safety, and show up before the time on the ticket.

Looking back, it was a clear act of stupidity...

And so, the one time when it would have been very nice for the Indian bus/train/boat to leave late, it was actually on time...

Thus - my Irish confused travelling friend and I are stuck, for the evening.

We've taken a room together, will spend the night playing cards, enjoying the A/C and in-room TV service, and then will catch the 4AM, 13 hour bus to Diglipur...

It's a wasted 12 hours, and will mean that we'll have to spend the night in Diglipur, instead of directly finding a fishing boat willing to smuggle us onto Smith Island (which I have a permit to visit, but not to camp in).

"A ha", you might ask... " So you're willing to pay a fisherman to smuggle you to
an island, but not a power-hungry, slimy drug dealer? Isn't that a bit inconsistant?"

The answer is, of course - I don't mind risking things.. I just don't particularly like paying money that'll end up in the hands of corrupt officials (unless of course, said official has caught me in the act, in which case.. who do I make the cheque out to?)

There are also day-visitors to Smith Island every day, so if something happens, I can get off - and am not dependant upon the shady chap who brought me there.

Anyway. We head off tomorrow morning. The bus trip involves several short ferry journeys to jump islands, followed by an armed police escort through the tribal areas (as they like to shoot arrows at people sometimes... no camera shots out of the windows).

Off we go.

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