Tuesday, March 13, 2007

WORLD CUP DIARY: Kingston town, and meeting Sir Vivian

Met the king today. Interesting, because I have had the chance to meet him on many occasions in the past, but somehow not been able to. Have fun, sniggerers, but after he shook my hand, I couldn’t help catching hold of his hand with both my hands and babbling something or the other, which the king probably didn’t understand but found funny enough to explode with laughter. Believe me; I actually don’t know what I said.

Got a photograph taken with him as well, which shall be dutifully blown up once I get back home.

Prior to that, of course, we quit Montego Bay and our terrible hotel there (more on that in another post) and drove down to Kingston. We had flight tickets, but there was a spot of rescheduling there, and we chose to drive down instead. The rest of the tour has to be done by air, because we will be travelling from island to island. But with both Montego Bay and Kingston being in Jamaica, this made sense.

It was a three-hour drive. Rather nice, except that there was no huge difference between the drive and drives around the western Indian coast. Like the Konkan coast or a drive down the Kerala highways. Coconut trees, banana trees, and a lot of other trees I don’t recognise but have seen in various parts of India.

The big difference of course, was the sea, which was a constant presence to our left throughout the journey. Less than 100 metres away. And the fact that we stopped by at Discovery Bay, which is basically the point where the great discoverer Christopher Columbus arrived when he thought he was in India. Amazing, these discoverers. A lot like some of our freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh, who, in the final analysis, only killed one ‘innocent’ Englishman. Innocent, of course, is relative here, but fact remains the guy who died wasn’t who anyone wanted to kill. But the New World was discovered, which wouldn’t have been the case unless Chris had reached in time, and then all the natives would have been safe to this day.

Spent a nice day in warm Jamaica after day, meeting former West Indies cricketers and checking out the refurbished Sabina Park. Also stopped by to see the Kensington Oval, where Pakistan and West Indies had their practice sessions. And finally, just to keep my cameraperson happy, rounded off the day with an Indian meal at Akbar