I'm not sure if it was too noisy, or I was just to wired, but at two o'clock I gave up trying to sleep. I got up finished packing and read for half an hour. The hotel management was trying to tell me I should leave between two and two thirty, but I had told them I wanted to leave at three. Since I had nothing better to do and I was still a little worried about my ticket I went searching for the car. It took us a while to get going but about ten to three we were on our way. The car barely ran and I'm sure we never hit forty miles an hour. It didn't matter, thirty minutes later I was at the airport (the hotel staff had said at least an hour?!?) My ticket said check in would start 2 hours before the flight and everyone must be checked in 45 minutes prior to departure. However, at the airport the guards told me they wouldn't open until an hour before departure - so I had over an hour of sitting in by far the worst mosquito zone I've seen in India - I must have killed close to a hundred of the buggers. But, on the bright side I was the first one to check in! The flight left on time, and actually landed twenty minutes early.
I had the name of a decent hotel from my guidebook, and they had a bus waiting. When on saw how nice the bus was I started to worry that my two year old guidebook might be dated. I decided it was only for one night, and I need the sleep, so I'd be willing to pay up to $20 for a splurge. When I got to the lobby I upgraded that $30 max. When I asked how much the cheapest room was the manager held up two fingers - I said "tThousand??" (about $45) and he laughed and said "Hundred." My room is nothing fantastic, but it's big, spotlessly clean with a double bed and a balcony for less than $4.50 - I even have my own bathroom, though it's across the hall.
I asked about tickets for tomorrows ferry and was told that I had buy them between nine and eleven or they would sell out. As it was only supposed to be a ten minute walk and it was 8:30 I thought I'd go get it taken care of. I was looking for the Marine Jetty or Phoenix Jetty - how hard could that be? Unfortunately one of the issues with living on a small island is lots of waterfront. It seems like everything in Port Blair is named Marine this or Phoenix waterfront that! The walk was nice. Port Blair is like decaying colonial cities everywhere in the tropics, except the building weren't as grand as some, but then neither are they as decayed. The city is hardly build up, just a few streets of one and two story buildings, and the roads are in immaculate condition (at least what I saw). There is a million different colors of green in the low jungle with palm trees everywhere. The only problem is it is hot. And sticky!
When I finally got to the Jetty the ticket office had just opened and I got in the queue. I don't want to spend any more time than needed in Port Blair - my first goal is the nearby beach island of Havelock, also known for its diving. so I really had no option other than to wait in line in the stifling heat. An hour later I had my ticket - I felt pretty silly waiting for an hour for a ticket that only cost thirty cents, but it's India. One surprise was the line was fairly orderly, except for women. They don't (aren't allowed to?) stand in line so they bunch around the front and jam their money around people into the window - very strange.
I walked around the waterfront for a little then decided I really didn't want to see anymore of the town in the heat and headed back to the hotel. On the way back I realized I had forgotten to reconfirm my flight back to the mainland and given how packed the morning flight was I needed to do it before I head out to Havelock - where there are no phones. I found the airlines office (not that far from the hotel - I am so glad I remembered), confirmed my flight, and headed back for my cool(-ish) room. I spent the afternoon reading, trying to avoid sleeping so I could sleep tonight - tomorrow morning is going to be another early one.
In the evening I went out for another walk. I didn't see anything striking, but it was cooler and still beautiful. I also realized that people in warmer places smile more - they move the rest of their bodies less, but their mouths (or at least the corners of them) more. I'd always wondered why people in developing countries smiled more - I always felt like we (the west) had forgotten something. I'm still not sure we haven't forgotten something, but looking back at my three plus years of research it seems to me that the hotter the climate the wider and easier the smiles.