Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mian and Chicu explore Vanxim

It looks mysterious and exciting on the map. It is an island only accessible from another island (Divar), Therefore it followed that it must be twice as remote and logically, twice as romantic as your run-of-the-mill, humdrum pacific atoll. On the map, more than half of it was a deep green and labelled 'mangrove forest'. The other bit was mostly blank with three symbols on it: a church, a temple, and the alluring little martini that Google uses to indicate local bars. A map of Heaven, no doubt, would look very like the image on the left.

We would go there, we decided. We would wander among the mangroves and have a beer in an impossibly quaint little restaurant.

The first indicator that maps might be misleading came when we tried to board the ferry to Vanxim. For starters, we were among less than half-a-dozen people on board. And the others looked like they'd rather be going in the other direction.

'Why are you going there?' the ferry crew asked us.
'To look around!'
'There is nothing there for you.'
'Oh, we'll be happy just looking around the village'
'There. Is. Nothing. There.'

Despite this, we carry on. The ferry makes a trip every hour. On the remote chance that there is no lovely little restaurant, we can always leave in an hour, we decide, knowing all the time that there is no way we can be done with this island in an hour.We might even have smiled smugly at each other- after all, we knew of a bar that even the locals hadn't heard of.

The trip across is short and pleasant, as is the landing. A small group of men watches the ferry come in. We roll off the boat and decide to turn right- towards the martini glass. It is hot, and the mangroves are too short and too far away from the road to offer some shade. We stop at a culvert and look for mudskippers, but it is too hot for them too. We drive for a minute more and then the road becomes a dirt track. Another 30 seconds and we find ourselves in someone's front yard. Uh-oh. A hasty U-turn, and 1.5 minutes later we pass the same grinning group. The ferry is still there. We pay it no attention. Ahead of us will be the dense and wonderful mangroves just waiting for Tarzan and Jane.

Or maybe not. The road ends.

We turn back. Now it is a matter of honour to spend an hour there. We pass the ferry crew and the ferry watchers for the third time in as many minutes. This time, I wave. We re-enter the village, but quickly accept that unless we break into a house, our only option is sitting on the culvert.

We go back to the ferry. They have been waiting for us. We get on. It starts off. The ferry crew manage not to say, 'we told you so.'

We maintain a dignified silence on the trip back.


Jo Chopra McGowan said...

HAHAHA. This is hilarious. Love it. don't you hate it when the local yokels are right???

nadi said...

for the too short, too far away Mangroves however, for once"there was something there"-

A man and a woman
A little thirsty, a little lost.

"Jane and Tarzan", the mangroves whispered..

Anonymous said...

G and I had a similar experience in Australia, only it involved trains, not ferries. I'll have to blog that one. Glad the ferry waited for you!



Mabel said...

I can imagine the whole scene as it played out. Hilarious! But heres one for the 'spirit' of adventure. gedit gedit? haha

chicu said...

yes, Jo..infuriating when the local yokels are right, as they turn out to be most of the time.
Nadi: you manage to take me out of myself, look at things from the perspective of the mangroves I so casually dismissed.
looking forward to the post, GG.
And mabel? three cheers for puns. Hic hic hurray!

दीपा पाठक said...

Ha..ha..what an adventure!!