Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tuesday December 16 - Kolkata to Sunderbans

The plans were to gather my cousins and nephews and meet at a another cousin's house in Baruipur. From here, the twelve of us would go to the boarding point Godkhali, about 2 hours away on a chartered bus.

Except for being about an hour late (not unexpected), we pretty much followed the plan and piled on the bus, with our luggage, the tour organizer, his two helpers, and all kind of supplies.

In about an hour and half we stopped at the last big town called Canning and the organizer went down to pick up fresh supplies like meat fish etc. We were stopped for almost an hour but time went by quickly as we chatted, and watched people and scenery.

A part of our group, did an animated "high level" discussion, standing by the side of the bus.

Watched a wedding processing with decorative floats.

With more supplies on board we arrived at our destination within the hour and boarded our boat. All the boats are pretty similarly set up with chairs on the upper deck and either dining or sleeping quarters on the lower deck. Our original plan was to spend the second night on the boat, so we had one with the sleeping quarters.

The organizers took one look at our group a decided that no way we could stay on the boat with its very limited amenities so he took it upon himself to book us into a hotel the second night as well.

At the entry point to the Sunderbans we stopped, paid the fees and picked up our assigned guide, Ram Chandra Biswas. He was somewhat of a dud or in Bengali "buddhu", idiot.

It was time for lunch and we all marveled at the tasty food and the number of fishes they they were able to cook on the boat and while it was underway at that.

So far everything was going well, the plan for us was to be in the forest part today and in the tiger part tomorrow. Truthfully I couldn't tell the difference between the two parts, but the boat ride was pleasant and we were having a lot of fun.

The wind started to pick and it got uncomfortably chilly, so most of us decided to go downstairs. It was also starting to get dark outside and we were surprised that we hadn't reached our destination yet since boats weren't allowed to be moving in the dark.

Pretty soon it became obvious that we were lost and not only did our guide not know the way, he didn't have any navigational aid with him, so it ended up by him asking me to turn the GPS on in my phone. Everyone was getting pretty nervous by this time, we eventually did reach our destination, the Bonnie Camp at around 9:00 PM.

We were shown to our rooms, one dormitory style long room with 10 single beds, 5 on each side and another smaller room tht sleeps 4. The dormitory was quite well appointed with electrical outlets over each bed, running hot and cold water and two nice size bathroom and shower combination.

The camp actually closes 9:30 but the they were nice enough to make an allowance for us, so we could go to the boat have our dinner and be back in.

We chatted a bit into the night and finally fell asleep, in our comfortable beds.

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