We had travelled the whole of Andaman Trunk Road (343 km), from North to South. Though we can still not say that we have seen it all but we can definitely claim that we have seen a lot of Andaman in the past few days.
It had been a hurricane trip from the word ‘go’, but that is how we usually travel. Ours is almost never leisure, we do that at home.
We sat by the sea at Oceanus Resort and enjoyed a beautiful sundown show at the horizon. We made plans for our next trip, which we thought would be big – Summer of 2020 in London / Scotland – instead what materialized was my first novella – E3PO talks love, as we could not step out, for a while even from home, due to ‘You know Who!’
We hired Sanju again for our last day trip around the south tip of Andamans. The southern-most beach – Wandoor Beach of the mainland was off-limits. I had plans of a leisurely bath on our last day but it so turned out that the crocodiles had got a sniff and taste of human flesh and were frequenting the spot, making prohibition of entering the pristine waters, mandatory.
The azure water was glistening in the mid day sun like a multitude of diamonds thrown around. We posed for a few shots, had coconuts as we longingly looked at the waters beckoning us.
A short drive away is the Marine Interpretation center Wandoor with a plethora of beautifully decorated marine life on display along with narratives, beside the gate of the Jetty where one can board a launch to go to Jolly-Buoy island. It needs prior booking and we had not done it. So that again has to wait for the next visit, I gather it is a must do.
We had nothing to do till lunch and we didn’t want to get back to the hotel. Sanju suggested another museum called Kalepani Museum – having figured out our interest in old and rusty things. This is a private collection but quite vast. It is a 3 storey building, all floors loaded up with artifacts and documents relating to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, its aboriginal people, its beginning as a British colonial prison, the suffering, the Japanese invasion, the agony and finally the freedom and settlement of mainland people from Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Chennai, Burma and few other places on this beautiful island.
The gentleman who owns the museum has an intriguing history. His ancestors were among the people freed from prisons and were offered assistance to start a new life on the island if they would marry someone among the other freed prisoner. Men and women who had been imprisoned in the cellular jail were almost certain of not being accepted into their old social lives. Many even if unwillingly chose to start anew.
We had a sumptuous lunch after the tiring but enlightening 3 floors of museum walk and headed to Chidiya Tapu beach. Yet another place that needs extensive discovery but since people are not allowed past sundown, we hardly had time for only a quick sweep. Birds were heard but not seen.
I let go of my desire to visit the last curio shop on the island on our last day as the road back to the resort was through Munda Pahar – hilly and without any street lights.
We had a morning flight back to Bangalore, so checkout early in the morning, yes with Sanju to the airport. The resort packed breakfast for us which we would have later after check-in at the airport lounge. We had tea at a stall on the way and I asked Sanju, who had now been with us for almost 10 days, who’s next? He said a party from Kolkata a large one has just confirmed their visit and he’ll be onto the bookings for hotel etc shortly. Generally people take all inclusive packages which work out much cheaper. Sanju – 9474257620
We stood there at the gate, unloaded. Goodbyes done. As we rolled our luggage trolley through the gate and stepped into the airport lounge, I looked back – Sanju was still standing there looking at us. I waived and he waived back, then walked off and got into his car. All through our travels, there have been numerous people who have touched our lives, who have made us wiser and made us realise the true meaning of “Vasudhaiva kutumbakam”.
That’s all for this time folks. Keep Happy!