Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thursday December 18 - Sunderbans to Kolkata

We got a bit of a late start this morning, probably a result of all the gabbing into the wee hours of the night. We quickly loaded up into the boat and was underway by 8:30.

They served us breakfast shortly followed by tea and/coffee.

Our guide narrated to us the folklore on which the play that we saw last evening was based. It is a neat story of good vs evil and as most folklore has it, the good defeats the evil.

We saw some common animals like deer, wild boar etc, I was more intrigued by the amazing root system these swamp vegetation have.

Passed by a small and extremely rural village, I believe it was a fishing village. The boat owners are two brothers and through them we learnt that most villages are self sufficient to the point where the only thing they buy is salt. They also said that previously salt was processed in the communities as well but now it doesn't pay.

Soon it was time for lunch and it appeared that they were trying to get rid of as much food as they could, and thus we had a variety of just about everything.

After lunch we passed by the village where the boat owners are from and their father came with his grandson to wave at us, a very pleasant experience.

We docked shortly after, unloaded and waited for our bus to appear. After waiting a good 30-45 mins, it appeared that there was some kind of a mixup and we hired another bus to take us back to Baruipur.

A quick hello to my Aunt, and a bathroom break and we were in our car back to Kolkata, to let off my cousins at the designated locations and drive home.

Sunderbans was a place I always wanted to go for many reasons. It was the swamp land connecting India and Bangladesh and the home of the Royal Bengal Tiger.
Those were two of the biggest ones. So was it all I expected, was it a success, and would I go there again?

It wasn't anything like what I expected, I expected dense mangrove forests on either side forming a tunnel like effect, much like New Orleans or even Kerala, it turned out we stuck to the wide open rivers. I am not exactly sure why. Did we take the wrong tour, was our boat too large, or are those areas off limits to the common tourist? There were an abundance of narrow channels, but our boat never turned into any of them.

It was definitely a success based on the great time we cousins had together like we used to when growing up, laughing at the silliest things and almost forgetting we weren't teenagers any more.

Will I go there again? Yes I definitely will but with different expectations and arrangements.

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