|I have now been out on Havelock Island in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, far East in the Andaman Sea, for just over a week. On the one hand, it feels like I have already been here for a month or two; on the other hand I could just as well have just arrived.
Time stands still here, it bubbles away under the waves in a soothing and calming way. Days float in and out, rising with the sun around 5 o’clock and seeing the light wash away 12 hours later, bathing the whole island in thick tropical darkness. The days of the week slowly fade away, giving room to the tidal clocks and water currents.
It is a green and lush island with thick vegetation and mangrove crawling out into the waves. White beaches cover a good portion of the coastal line when the vegetation hasn’t taken over the mouth of the ocean. One road goes west from the jetty, the other goes east. These roads never meet. In theory, if they would it would take 45 minutes to go around the island contours on a scooter, but no one does, why would you really, all you need is closer to you.
I live in a little bamboo hut right by the dive center. A small village is a few minutes away walking where you can buy the pure essentials. Or not. It depends on shippings. Power cuts are daily and frequent. Sometimes the island runs out of fuel, sometimes of apples, sometimes of coffee. Then you just wait till what you need gets out here again. The food prices can sometimes raise high for being India, 100 rupees (13 Euros) for a kilo of oranges, but cigarettes are cheap (they even have camels oddly enough) and magically, they have wine here, so I am amazingly surprised and delighted…
I have quickly gotten settled in and used to the shortages. The food prices work out in the end, since my salary is higher than I expected it to be. And there is so much comfort we don’t need, so many commercial choices aren’t necessary.
Under the ocean surface, a beautifully colorful, rich and alive universe spread its fins and gills. The visibility is at times superb, the amount of fish incredible and the reefs sprawling with life.
I try to stay out of all the stories and the politics that always exist in these kind of isolated environments but of course I feel them. That person has done this, this one that and he doesn’t like her. Oh well. It’s interesting how it always happens in human communities. Even when we all work in a tropical paradise. Perhaps especially when you work in a tropical paradise.
I do however very much enjoy my colleagues’ company. It is a warm little group and so far my students have been great too.
When I lay down under my mosquito net at night to the sound of waves breaking on the beach, crickets singing away, the fan above me quietly turning and calm music off my laptop, I feel very much at peace and close to what I would call pure happiness. The only thing missing is the man I know I love, and you all my friends and family who leave me wonder why you don’t all come and visit…If you have some money and time to spare, I can assure you that it wouldn’t be wasted on a trip out to Havelock Island in the Andaman Sea.
Since I don’t know when I will be able to open my journal and use internet again, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and lovely times in wintery Europe, Japan, US and wherever else you are!
Much love from the tropics