Andaman Islands - early impressions and accomodation

chris (2007-12-31 08:55:58)
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The Andaman Islands are teaming with wildlife. In my first few days on Havelock alone, I saw snakes, giant frogs, chameleons, geckos, lizards, giant flying insects, strange birds and dazzeling fish. It is easy to fall sick in the warm humid jungle environment Backpackers were dropping like elephant dung - many with small bites or cuts which had gone septic and refused to heal, causing swollen lumph nodes, nausea and painful limbs. Sandflies are a common menace on the Andeman beaches. They leave nasty hardened sores, which itch unbearably and fill with fluids causing pain and risk of infection. Other beasts on the Andaman islands include a crab-eating monkey, and centipedes up to a foot long. During the rainy seasons, these centipedes come down from the trees and crawl out of the jungle into the roads and villages. Locals chase them with machetes. I saw one such creature flattened out on the road to No. 6 village. It was a monster.

After sleeping three nights on an ants nest in 'Eco Villa', I decided to move to a different camp. Eco Villa lacks atmosphere. The communal area is dominated by a large television. Backpackers from the USA and Israel sit all day watching movies and smoking, killing any conversation. The atmosphere is dead. along the road from Village no. 3 and Village no. 5 are a collection of more pricey camps. They don't offer anything really work paying the extra for and with prices of 800 RS per night, or more, I gave them a miss. They include places such as 'poseidon' and one or two of the Barefoot resorts. I moved to 'happy resort' just off village no. 2, where the owner, Dabu, offered me a pleasant bamboo hut with a mattress for 100 Rupees per night. (that's about £1.25). The guests were a varied bunch of dreadlocked, guitar strumming shantiphiles. I fitted in just great and joined them in the usual sharing of travel tales and poo stories. My old travelling days flooded back. The months of trekking in Siberia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa were suddenly fresh in my memory as if I was still en-route and had never been away.

Dabu offered me a first night for free, since I had already booked that night in 'Eco Villa', he didn't think it right that I should pay twice. One of the guests allowed me to eat a barracuda which he had caught on a fishing trip the night before. The 'Happy Resort' chef grilled it beautifully with lemon, pepper and served it with salad and rice. I sat up and chatted with Bauke about his year on the road.
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