when last i wrote, we were in kotaguri headed out to matapullayam to catch a train to chennai to catch a plane to the andamans. it's been (checking calendar ...) almost a week since i updated. sincere apologies!
so we arrived in chennai on the 21 in the wee small hours of the morning. a ticket snafu had us stranded there unless we could book another flight to the andamans. we made it to a travel agency and got the situation sorted then spent the rest of the day shopping (didn't buy anything) and taking in another kollywood movie (didn't understand anything). we packed up at the salvation army resthouse and headed for el aeropuerto. i slept the sleep of the dead en route, briefly awaking when some kind of food was put in front of me. in port blair, we made a bee line for the ferry and headed out to havelock island, unsure of what we could find.
i really don't have words. you'll have to check the photos, which do poor justice to the place but will at least give you a sense. everywhere we looked we found ourselves saying "screensaver." the whole island looks like the stock photos that come with every windows launch. just incredible. the word "paradise" seems thin in describing the place. we ended up getting little cabanas on the beach the second night there and spending three night widdling the days away sipping mint lemonade, snorkling in the clear water, laying on the white sand, chatting with isrealis and swimming.
i have to apologise here. i just simply don't have a way to quanitfy the incredible beauty of the andaman islands. in some ways, i'm hesitant to write anything at all, afriad that it will become the next big place, get crowded and lose it's pristine appeal. but if you have the means - get there. no.7 beach in havelock is the stuff dreams are made of. literally 20 feet from where i put my towel on the beach, you can dip your head under the water and see schools of colorful fish darting between rocks and coral. beauty on a cyclopean scale.
we begrugingly took a flgith back to chennai yesterday and then took a train first to calicut then on to kochi. a ferry ride took us to kochi fort, and put an end to nearly 48 hours of straight travel, and several thousand kilometers covered. phew!
kochi has been pretty great so far - enormous chinese fishing nets swining into the ocean, art galleries, cafes and internet (painfully expensive and slow on the islands). even though we're back in the mainland, and soon with a little luck we'll be back on the bikes, it's hard not to miss the andamans. like being kicked out of paradise, i guess we'll always want to go back. eliot's already talking about arranging a trip back later in our journey. having covered with seth by train some of the distance we intended to cover with bikes, and learning we may not be able to get into nepal at all, we've got some tiem to play with. as ever, we'll keep you posted. check the photos and we'll be in touch!