After spending a few days biking from beach to beach around Neil Island we were ready for a change and headed to port to buy our ferry passage to Havelock Island. Naturally getting anywhere in India is never an uncomplicated process and we were informed that we would need to provide a copy of our entry papers to the ticket office. I headed out to find the town’s xero machine while Steph received tips on Havelock from a couple who had just arrived from there. We weren’t worried about being late for the ferry since most transport does not arrive on time and this ferry was absolutely no exception.
Upon arriving in Havelock we found a Rickshaw driver willing to take us where we wanted to go and set out for the Emerald Gecko, recommended to us by the couple at the Neil Island port. Alas it was full, but our driver was good to us and offered to take us to other places until we found something suitable for no extra charge (his services cost $1). We were surprised to discover many places were full and those that weren’t were not very appealing. We were getting a bit nervous when we finally found a place called “Sunrise” where the owner offered us a discount on a large room with a king bed and ensuite bathroom (it was 6 days before we discovered there was free HBO) for $20 a night.
The best feature of the room was the giant window that looked out over a scattering of palm trees with the turquoise Andaman Sea in the background. Privacy was not an issue because if someone looked at the window from outside they only saw a reflection of themselves. This was good because people were often walking in front of our room to go between the restaurant, a popular spot with the local men because it had a liquor license, and the path that led to the main road. It was also a source of entertainment as people would stop in front of our room and use the window to fix their hair or pick things out of their teeth without realizing we were standing just feet away from them on the other side.
One evening Steph needed to make a call to Canada so she went to the main road to find a spot with decent cell reception. Steph and I had spent little time apart on the trip so when I realized I had stolen a few moments of true privacy I did not bother to dress right away after coming out of the shower. I will admit that I also caught my reflection in the window and took a second to check out the progress of my tan lines from lying on the beach. Steph returned to the room 20 minutes later pleased that the call had worked and casually said, “By the way, I just noticed that at night you can see into the room completely when the light is on so we better close the blinds.” I couldn’t help but wonder how many men had come in and out of the bar during my “alone time”. Steph certainly got a good laugh out of it when I told her what had happened.
The next evening I was standing in front of the line of huts and noticed an elderly man sorting things in his room. Just as I was wondering if he knew whether or not someone could see everything he was doing, he dropped his pants around his ankles and was fully commando. It was both hilarious and horrifying all at once. I debated knocking on his door to tell him, but then decided against it in case he decided not to pull his pants back up before answering.