Port Blair is a charming sea town, known in India for the infamous jail where the British kept the freedom fighters. We chose to skip the visit to the jail, now transformed into a museum, but we learned a lot about the islands and the tribal populations that still inhabit some of them from a visit to the anthropological museum. By then we couldn’t wait any longer. We wanted to arrive in Havelock, where our Kamalan agent had reserved a Nilambari hut at the Barefoot Resort, a very promising name for weary city dwellers.
After a two-and-a-half-hour journey, our boat reached the port at Havelock, and we immediately enjoyed the atmosphere. Newly-wed couples on honeymoon carrying much too heavy luggage, entire Bengali families speaking their sweet language that sounds like bird songs, businessmen wearing nothing but a white cloth wrapped around their hips and a crisp white short-sleeved shirt. While the jeep was driving through the narrow lane winding around the island, Lisa and I looked at each other, smiling in anticipation. All around us, a lovely countryside, huge trees, a few farmers stuck in bucolic times; no cars, no noise. The sheer simplicity of our hut made us happy. We dressed lightly and walked out immediately longing to see the most beautiful beach in Asia, according to the Times magazine.
“All around us, a lovely countryside, huge trees, a few farmers stuck in bucolic times; no cars, no noise.
We dressed lightly and walked out immediately longing to see the most beautiful beach in Asia, according to the Times magazine.”
It was sunset when we laid eyes on Radanagar beach, or beach number 7. We just stood unable to utter a word. We walked silently on the fine sand and heard our breath slow down. The days that followed were just perfect. We swam, we drove around the island on a small motorcycle, we met a kind population, we snorkeled and we learned diving. Wherever we were on land or in the sea, the beauty that surrounded us made us believe we were in paradise. Thank God that Paradise is not so near; otherwise, it would be at risk for becoming crowded.
While driving back home, my eyes filling with images of the blue lagoon, extravagant marine fauna, and divine sunsets, I said to Paul: “ Do you think we could travel there for a couple of weeks next winter?” “Why not?” he answered, and I knew we too would be soon heading for paradise.