WE GOT AIRCON! It’s taken me five years to convince Liz but we finally have aircon on the boat! And we’re not the only ones: the trend was set by ‘Slamat’, shortly followed by all the other boats in an attempt to keep up with the Jones: ‘Esper’, ‘Roam II’, ‘Full Flight’, and then ‘Shelter’. ‘Rhumb Do’ is still trying to work out where to install his. But it wasn’t just the small purchase price of the unit I paid for that day, I almost paid for this luxury with my life.
It all started when Armin and Monika of ‘Slamat’ did some research into aircon units and discovered a Samsung model that was the smallest on the market. (No, I’m not going to write a review of it like my Samsung netbook review). It was a household unit so there was still the issue of storing the compressor but the internal wall-mounted fan made it a very real solution. The price, however, was the clincher: $330! Three hundred dollars for aircon on the boat beats the two thousand euro price our neighbours have paid for their marine-specific installations.
So, with the great price, the small unit and the very important issue of 80% humidity that was sucking the lifeblood from us every day Liz finally succumbed. I headed in to town and down the very long MG Road to the Samsung Plaza centre some miles away. The sales man already knew what I wanted when I mentioned Armin (imagine his glee by the time Shelter and Full Flight turned up!) and, paying in cash, I hung around waiting for a lift back with the delivery man. It was a half hour wait spent in the showroom watching Monsters vs Aliens in 3D on a huge widescreen wearing 3D specs. Most excellent. If I could just convince Liz ‘Esper’ needs a 50 inch plasma and blu-ray DVD player…
Anyway, the delivery man eventually turned up… in a tuk-tuk! Actually they are not tuk-tuks, they are refered to as auto rickshaws, a little vehicle called the Piaggio Ape. Here’s Mr Singh with two of his favourite models…
As you can see they are rather small. They’re made of corrugated cardboard, have liquorice wheels and are driven by nutters. In fact it seems the prerequisite to hold a license for one of these things is to drive like a complete arse.
We made it back to Bolgatty Marina in record time and carried the boxes down the pontoon and on to ‘Esper’. I suppose at this point I should post up some pics of our polytunnel tent that we’ve spent the last few days constructing. It’s supposed to be our monsoon-resistant boat cover but with the aircon its requirement is almost negated as we don’t need to keep our hatches open any more. We’ve been warned that the winds can pick up considerably during monsoon so I’m not sure if our cover will actually become a sail. If you think we’re being over-cautious with our tent just know that in the next few months we can expect an average rainfall of 2250 – 2500mm. No, that was not a typo.
What isn’t so clear in these shots is Esper’s gleaming hull. We’ve just had two local lads spend two days scraping, cleaning and polishing the hull after we picked up half of Mumbai’s effluent. These lads did a sterling job and worked really hard. Embarrassingly they cost just $23 a day for their services.
Anyway, we got the aircon on the boat and the installation chaps turned up within three hours, so from point of purchase to blissful aircon heaven it took all of five hours. And three years of my life.