It was a very a nice trip. Scratch that. It was a Very Nice Trip.
We set off only about half an hour than planned. (Yeah, wow is the right word.) Drove into the er, well-risen sun with a half-asleep Bhablet and 4 sleep-deprived adults. For one reason or another, none of us had managed to get into bed early. But we were all chipper and happy. Anindya is an old colleague of V's, and somebody who I'm very comfortable with, and I found his childhood friend Niladri to be cut out of the same funny, comfortable cloth. Stopped for breakfast where sandwiches, luchi and alur torkari (fried flour flat breads and potato curry) were eaten. Tea was drunk. And we stopped once later, to stretch our legs. All four of us have knee/leg problems, so I was most impressed that we managed with only two breaks.
There was a fracas before Kolaghat, with a moron who didn't know that when there's a median you can overtake from the left. Otherwise the journey was peaceful and comfy. The last ten km were terribly bumpy tracks through the village so we went really slowly.
Reached in time for lunch. Had some excellent pomphret. Food was expensive but pretty good all through. Just don't order the tea or finger chips. Went down to the sea once more a few hours later.
It was a minute's walk away. The beach was pretty but not extraordinarily so. I've grown up in Vizag where the current may be treacherous but the scenery is very attractive. Here, the beach was aesthetically ho-hum and the water muddy. The great thing was the lack of current so I went in pretty deep (for me) and generally frolicked. The sea water stung my eyes but I got used to it after a bit. The Bhablet loved it all and swallowed half the sea (although I don't think he liked that so much.)
V really let his hair down. We spent the first afternoon sitting around chatting and he proceeded to get happily drunk. I slept a little and joined them as they sat around chatting.
The evening was spent partly in the sea, partly on the beach afterwards, having some tea and omlettes and then inside the resort, having pakodas and much later, a dinner of mutton curry and leftover luchis. We had taken along some potential beach toys but the only one The Bhablet needed was the little yellow bucket that MM's bricks had come in. His father hunted down some shells for him and by and large, he was happy enough fooling around in the water, occasionally going under an extra large wave. When we first went in, V and I were sitting on either side of him and V told him to hang on [to the bucket'] so that it didn't float away. Even while I was mentally nodding along to this, I saw The Bhablet floating away, bucket and all, carried away by a wave. Luckily, where my child is concerned, my reflexes are pretty good (they have to be) so I yanked him back by his vest.
Did you know, if you take a little boy into the sea dressed in a vest and underwear (proper grown-up underwear, like his father wears, no less), when you bring the grubby little boy back to your bungalow and strip him prior to bathing him, he'll have a pant-full of sand to surprise you with?
Mandarmoni has a motorable beach, so we saw an idiot drive his Baleno into the sea and get stuck when the tide came back in. Oh well, it did give us something to talk about and generated some temporary employment among local youths. We were warned that some local hoods dig up the road and replace it with soft sand so that cars get stuck and need their help to be pulled out. So Ally stayed away from the beach. I don't think she minded it much. She's nearly 8 now, and getting a little grumpy now and then.
The village has no electricity so we survived on two generators. Which were switched off early in the morning (5-8 a.m.) and late in the afternoon (5-7 p.m.) Not nice at all. In the morning in particular, because the mosquitoes woke me up and I stayed up, fanning father and son. It was fascinating seeing the greenery though. Lovely hibiscuses, banana plants and mango trees as common as, I don't know, they were all over the place. I miss trees so much here in the big city. Eventually I went out and found A raring to go to the beach, so we popped in only to decide to return in our bathing clothes. I'd taken my swimsuit, but found it prudent to wear Vicky's ridiculous shorts over it. Eventually, they were so loaded with sand, I chucked them off and walked back to the cottage wrapped in a towel.
The morning was spent fooling around in the water. The Bhablet woke up and found himself undiapered, underweared and in the water. N kept us company, while V and A decide to take an hour having some tea on the beach (because the resort tea was terrible) and then do their morning stuff. An hour, I tell you.
It was a pleasant morning and I only realised that Bhablets need food when I saw mine visibly drooping around 9.30. The bath woke him up. The cottages had lovely, large, convenient bathrooms and he romped around in ours while I bathed us both and tried to get the sand out of our stuff. He was mildly tanned from the sun but not as badly as I'd expected. I cleaned him thoroughly, dried, creamed and powdered him and he went around looking his usual self once more. Took him to the restaurant, made him some mosambi juice (luckily I'd carried the fruits because they had none) and he had that and a biscuit and looked happier.
After a late breakfast of luchi-alur torkari, we left Mandarmoni. We managed to leave just after noon, so we had a relaxed ride back. Took 45 min over lunch at a nice dhaba.
Reached Cal, wandered into the Sector V CCD and had some coffee and chocolate cake. Been a while since V and I did that, too. I mean, both of us having separate cakes.
It was a good trip and I got what I needed.