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  • Writer's pictureVoita

St. Martin Paradise

It's a slow morning. I narrowly escaped yesterday's storm and was catching up on diary writing. That was the nice part. Then I moved onto sorting out the payment... turned out the hotel owner has no plan. Bangladesh has its own internal cash sending app, but that's clearly inaccessible to anyone from abroad, including the Indians. And R charges 50% extra for international transfer (can they get any more obscene?). And for obvious reasons he was hesitant to trust me to send him the money through someone once I withdraw on the mainland.

Eventually we settled on me sending a card to card payment. The money disappears into flux.

hotel Night in Paradise

with Topu

Shortly past midday I was finally ready to head out to explore southern parts of the island, but before getting too far I got stopped once again. And warned by a nice guy from Dhaka that the boats won't be running for several nights starting tomorrow. Nobody expects a tropical storm shortly after monsoon ends. Seriously, nobody did, I spoke to many locals who were genuinely surprised. Right as the main (winter) season started for the island, too.

rabies vaccine 'sticker'


back on the pier

So I went back to Topu the resort owner. With the payment still pending, we had no choice - one of us had to trust the other. I volunteered and accepted his promise to me send me half of the money back, once it comes through. We spoke a good deal, as I was packing, and it seemed like the reasonable thing to do...

boarding



Imagine one boat a day coming in, choke-full. And then imagine the boat not coming for unspecified number of days larger than two. Not many have that kind of time to sit idly on the island, and much as I would've loved to... with my visa guillotine hovering above my head, neither did I.

So I boarded and squished and tussled and eventually got washed up on the roof. Along with dozens of others, unafraid of the drift below and darkening skies above.

roof- top deck

camping

final look back

It was the best ride of recent weeks. Everyone was chilled and I spoke with a veterinary, who was on the island checking the doggos for rabies or a freelance cameraman whose trip was a massive cash flop, as with the weather being as it was, he couldn't get any decent footage for the resort he was courting...

The storm caught up with us half-way through the ride, but I waited it out behind the ferry's chimney. We were greeted on the other side by amazing views and elated mood, pulling into the port.

It took us an hour to disembark.

And on the way out I found someone has cleverly shifted my bag to use it as a rain shield for their stuff, and all my things were aswim inside the luggage.

Surviving alone counts for nothing, if all your friends - or gear - croak.

tropical storm, front row views



Outside of the boat, mayhem ruled. I could think of dozen ways how to prevent the road getting clogged up for hours, even under the local less than ideal conditions. But I think people her enjoy waiting, it's part of the atmosphere. I think they'd be gravely offended if they didn't have to wait, as if they didn't get their money's worth. And so everyone waited. I walked... for about 15 minutes, until I made it out at the jam's end and caught a shared rickshaw.


outlasts

Topu's message came through - the payment has failed. Obviously, R has routinely flagged it as suspicious. The tables have turned, and now he had to trust me. But since I had to withdraw anyway...

Final tally: 4x missing ATM, the booth left empty. 4x foreign card not supported. 3x out of order. I was insanely lucky to find a bank branch opened until 9PM, with a working ATM inside. Escaped by a hair...

And sent the man his money through a shopkeeper, who has access to the local money transferring app.

Topu was so excited that he offered me to visit his house next time I come around.

As always - people are nice, given the chance.

mystical shoreline


Morale no.1

f--k friends NO. WRONG.

but... without trying to wait for Ponkaj, I'd have had the two nice days on the island. Having waited for him... cost me. If nothing else, an answer to why I travel alone. but I streamed and we tracked down the geocache - so, overall, the trip was a success the cache owner messaged me saying sorry for its loss - and invited me over to his place (in Dhaka though)

crowd everywhere

if the room smelled before...

Morale no.2

f--k money YES. AGREE.

My attempt to save few dollars ended up costing me and the hotel owner hours of time and related stress over the payment. The sad truth is that travel always costs all the money you have. In similar fashion as task assigned with a deadline will use up all the time until the deadline. Or the rule of a bag always full. Take an 80 liter for a day trip and you'll find yourself stuffing in skates, guitar and a full picnic kit and still being short on space. So - whatever you're willing to invest... go for it. Don't look back. If the cost becomes a mental pressure... stop.

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