Alfresco Grand, Guwahati

One big disappointment or probably our expectations were too high.

We were advised to take the sunset cruise by the manager at Baruah Bhavan. The location was around 3.5 kms from the place we were staying. The company which runs these cruises is called Brahamputra Cruise Pvt. Ltd. The board says Alfresco Grande River Cruises and the exact location is opposite ITA centre Machikowa on the M.G. Road. The auto wallahs are ready to fleece you and charged Rs. 150.00 for this distance. We reached there at 4.40 pm as advised. On the board the cruise timings were: 5.00 pm to 7.00 pm. We checked out with some people standing near a small ticket counter and were informed that the boat would leave at 5.30 pm. We decided to take a chance and wait (please note there is nothing else to do on this corner, one would have to cross the road and then check out food joints etc.) We were told that the tickets would be given to us in the boats at around 5.00 pm with a warning – the trip might cancel if we don’t get the required number of people (don’t know what was their minimum number criteria). The boat was decently maintained (no complaints on this) with seating arrangements for around 30-35 people. Thankfully another group (two elderly couple) also came along in the boat with us.

We were given the tickets (priced at Rs. 150.00 for adults and Rs. 100 for child).

The worse part started now. It was getting darker (they did not switch any lights), a whole colony of mosquitoes decided to feast on us or welcome us. (we were on the river bank so mosquitoes were expected) We kept on waiting and asking when would the cruise start (it was already beyond 5.30 pm). One of the cruise crew (if they can be called that) informed – “Around 8-10 people are coming – we are waiting for them”. A few more people turned up but still there was no sign of the cruise to leave. Every time it was the same answer “Around 8-10 people are coming – we are waiting for them”. Finally at 6.15 pm those so called guests arrived and the boat started. They switched on the Chinese decorative lights in blue. A couple of boys asked for music and suddenly loud music (Bollywood item numbers) started blaring.

It was pretty dark and other than watching the lights on the bank (M.G. Road) nothing much was visible. The beauty of the river was lost and the mosquitoes were still having a feast. The food items available aboard were very costly (and going by the condition can easily be avoided).

The journey was not eventful though. The boat banged into a ferry carrying people along with their two wheelers (a real fright for people on both boats). The dark journey ended in an hour.

Surprisingly when we were getting out, they switched on all the lights. Probably hoping to attract more customers.

This ride was neither fun filled ride like those in Goa, nor a peaceful leisurely sail across a mighty river like those in Varanasi.



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