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Andaman Islands: Weeks 3-4

The Andaman Islands are the tropical paradise that they are made out to be. The fine, white, sandy, palm tree fringed beaches are heavenly and the sea a balmy 28 degrees. Although the archipelago consists of hundreds of islands only about 17 are accessible to tourists (without their own boat), Indian and foreigner alike. Geographically the islands are more south east Asia than India, anthropologically they are even further removed - the indigenous population are neither South East Asian nor Indian. Their language descends from a unique historical tree as well as their genealogy. Sadly the cat and mouse games played by the various super powers over the ages have rendered these populations insignificant and their numbers remain in decline. Recently attempts have been made to repair the damage that colonisation has wrecked on these populations and certain measures have been put into place: tourists can only travel to only a few islands, contact with indigenous populations is prohibited and so too is venturing into their territories. But as is often the case, these actions are too little and too late and the majority of the indigenous populations are on a downward slide. Just recently their was the much publiscised case of the last surviving member of the Bo tribe passing away, taking with her a 65000 year of language and history. Instead the main inhabitants of the islands these days are immigrants from the main land. Some have moved over as refugees, others as a deal with the government. These second and third generation immigrants provide all the businesses on the tourist islands. Although tourist numbers are increasing, it is still fairly easy to find a piece of paradise for yourself. :-)

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