S-EEking India’s Island Paradise
When I booked our trip, I thought that my research was thorough. I picked up independent reviews on-line, recommendations from expensive travel books, and spoke to native expats that told me of the fabulously pristine, expensive islands of India. Ah yes, I worked hard and this was payback — finally. I certainly deserved the best, as did my hubby. We knew that this vacation was perfect for us. Not only did all the reviews say so, we were ‘willing’ it to be so ergo, we knew that it would be great.
Well okay, the trip across the Arabian Sea was less than desirable. It was downright awful aboard the S.S. Vomit. About an hour after the puke-fest, we arrived at our destination. Kadmath Island was beautiful from afar. It really did resemble paradise with its white beaches, palm trees and light turquoise water. What a slice of heaven. I almost forgot about our boat ride on the SS Vomitarium.
At a certain point, the engine was cut and both luggage and bodies were unceremoniously transferred to a smaller and ridiculously decrepit boat. The water shuttle almost capsized as we lurched towards the pier with far more passengers than the boat should have accommodated. Smoke from the diesel-fuelled engine made most of us cup our hands over our faces while the select few reached for fresh barf bags. I sat secretly praying that no one would regale us with an encore performance of vomit. Thankfully my prayers were answered.
Being hoisted onto the pier by two burly Indian men, I was grateful that my knees didn’t give out or that they didn’t comment on my size or weight. Regardless of semantics, the entire experience created a new meaning to the term of being “landed”.
We boarded the awaiting bus that paraded us through the village of small children, goats and chickens playing on the road. That was an education in itself. The overall bus ride took a half hour to get to our hotel. We were greeted by men with machetes. As soon as we were seated under the PRIDE umbrella, the men began to operate on carving fresh coconuts to serve us our welcome drink. Fabulous.
There we were, being served fresh coconut milk from a coconut by a team of Muslim men. We cooled ourselves under that multi-coloured Gay Pride umbrella. Those in the know smiled. Although there were a lot of side glances, no one dared to mention the obvious. That was fucking hysterical!
It wasn’t hard to see the deficiencies. The resort was in disrepair. The resort did not have a front desk, concierge, porter, telephones or wifi… It was a tropical light-security detainment camp.
Shortly afterwards, we were brought to our upscale premium bungalow. Here was a new level of terrible. It was not what we bargained for at all. The room did not have internet, a desk or even a box of tissues. Most of the furniture was damaged, broken or dirty. Without hesitation I can say that this was the worst room I have ever stayed in. The electrical was a piecemeal of varying cables. Our interior light was bare fluorescent tubing. The clock was either 5 hours ahead or 7 hours behind. There wasn’t any courtesy coffee, tea or a mug to drink from. The washroom sink wasn’t connected to the wall and would pull away (which scared the living crap out of me). There wasn’t any water that came out of the faucet anyway. All the doors were broken. The air conditioner was working but just barely and could not compete with the humidity. Every item of furniture in the room was damaged and truly did not belong in a resort that charged the prices this resort was charging.
Not one opening in this beach bungalow had a screen to filter the air from the mosquitoes. In fact, the bathroom was identical to a bug spray ad that I grew up watching where some dude sticks his unsprayed hand into a glass box of skitters and is swarmed. Then moments later does the same with spray. Yes we were in the box without the spray. Not only did the bathroom not have a screen, but it also didn’t have a glass partition from the outside world. It was the refuge for just about every goddamn skitter, spider and lizard waiting for us to go to the toilet! As we dropped our pants, I imagined them screaming with delight about the midnight buffet!
In the morning, the cheeriest Muslim women, in oppressive black floor-length dresses and scarves covering their hair, busied themselves with cleaning our room. Sometime around 2 am, the transformer blew up. It forced the resort into a sleepless state. This heat was cruel. Clearly temperatures in our room surpassed the 40C mark. Hubby and I abandoned the bungalow and sat on the beach trying to cool down at 4 am until sunrise. We tried to pass it off to the “Shit Happens” category. So far this was paradise? Not.