“Oh my God, I just booked the wrong date!” are never the words you want to hear exclaimed from your favorite partner in crime. She continued to self admonish and cluck over putting the wrong date on the air reservations, sighing over the need to start over just before clicking the magic purchase now box. I held my hand up as if to use a super power to prevent TG from paging back and starting over. What if we were supposed to land in Port Blair a day early. All the cool-kid-travel-guru-travelers advise building in extra time when traveling India. So what if we had an extra day in Port Blair, it would give us a day to recover from getting up in the middle of the night to catch our flight and adjust to the hotter climes of southern India.
“Let’s take a minute. Think about this. Can we leave for Andaman a day early?” My hand was still raised like I was a soothsayer when really it’s because I’m a control freak and somehow this would prevent her from clicking the back arrow. I was entranced by the idea of staying in Port Blair an extra day without rushing from airport to ferry.
A cartoon image flashed by me: Our solicitous and well-pressed young concierge extolls us: “Madams we must hurry! The ferry will leave without us! It was an unfortunate circumstance your flight was delayed so regrettably in Bhubaneshwar! But now with deep apologies I must ask you run as quickly as you possibly can. Thank you for your kindness.” We become a blur of colorful Kurtas and flapping sandals trailing behind the concierge and now young boys, who for a few rupees, are making their way through the airport to a car, our belongings expertly balanced on their own backs. A parade of running people. The car must race to the ferry and again we must run until we collapse next to polite and demur Indians already seated and settled on the ferry a heap of sweaty and breathless white women clutching 45L backpacks. . .
The picture I wanted to make was two people happy to be off an airplane, an aura of ease as they moved through the airport in search of the driver holding a sign with their names. These two people walk slowly through the airport, stopping to take pictures and buy foreign snack food because the packaging is arresting and unusual. One of us happens to notice our driver and we amble to him, greeting him with a Namaste and easy smiles because we don’t need to rush, we have all the time in the world before we leave for our next leg. . .
My mind rushed through our loosely knit itinerary: it wasn’t like we were planning our train trip to Agra on Friday: the Taj Mahal was closed and the idea of doing a fourteen hour travel day before checking in at the airport in the wee hours would be akin to an episode in Hell. We could do Agra on Wednesday…We had walking tour, markets, and temples in mind for Delhi which could take place any day we were there and hadn’t even been settled upon. So why not? Why not an extra day in Port Blair? I was gripped with the idea the date wasn’t a mistake. Somehow the Universe was willing we have this extra day and had The Girl not shrugged and agreed to let it stand I probably would have told the story of our flying kurtas and breathless race to the ferry but with embellishments that included injury and mayhem.
So who knows what we’ll do with our extra day in Port Blair? Watch the fisherman? Poke around the markets? Take a boat trip to a place with the shudder inducing name of Viper Island? Or just sit at the edge of the bed transfixed by Indian soap operas and variety shows. Any of those things–even the vipers–sound better than dashing about and possibly missing the spectacle of dailiness.
It’s always a marvelous thing when the Universe steps in, isn’t it?