Not as comprehensive as some we have written, but hopefully of some interest
/ amusement to our readers..
Leaving Stevenage we take a gentle train ride to Kings Cross then on to
north terminal, the airport is nearly deserted. Two armed Policemen patrol.
We leave on time at 7:30pm.
The flight goes well (All things considered). Then we grind through customs,
this bit of paper that bit. Morning now, so very hot on board the bus,
we head north past the hand painted advertising hordings, LG, Pepsi, Akai,
Pioneer, push bikes. More brand adverts already than we saw in 2 weeks
of Cuba, Nike, Kit Kat, Motor scooters, Cola, crossing deltas, palms,
shacks, Fuji Film, Dominos Pizza, Yaeus Batteries, Win a trip to England
just buy... Maruti. Information Technology Institute, Sun, Linux.
Our room is splendid, after a moments fun finding the bottle opener I
manage to open a bottle of Sprite, looking again it is Kingfisher, tired,
we sleep for a few hours then early evening we wander around to the buffet,
I have Bhindi's, potatoes / cheeses fishcakes (no fish), dhal sauces and
of course Kingfisher. Brewed with imported German hops.
I wander up to the top lawn and spy several large frogs, then round to
the front rooms of the hotel and up stairs, through the iron mesh I can
see the sprawl of market stalls permanently outside.
Bright and very humid, first chance to really see the place ! I wander
out into the shanty town at the front of the hotel, I am from another
planet. A junction outside the hotel right and along the red dust road,
palm leaf houses the fly tip, marshes then another couple of hotels in
the distance, back to the junction left and past the school many stalls,
motorbikes. cows and school children wander past. I shelter under a tree.
Internet email signs, then on past motorbike repairs, and a temple, back
past the Well, more cows and a rooster.
Still a blur, wandered off to the hotel Gala Night which was forgettable.
The fire breather was good though.
Got up later ! Tired, after Monday night's excitement. A light snack
lunch then we met again with Sue and Jo, later we took the bus off to
Baga Beach ! Splendid reminded me of Cornwall
(Well the sand and the rocky coastline anyway). Tourists along the miles
of beach and various bar shacks stretching into the distance. I left Sue
and co with some drinks and wandered off across Baga Creek and up onto
the coast path, Cornwall but with prickly pear instead of brambles and
the occasional clump of palm trees. I looked round into the next cove
but unfortunately came across one of Goa's less savoury characters. I
wandered back then we sat at Lario's and enjoyed some splendid cocktails
and the round red sunset over the sea. We considered going back but stayed
there for supper.. Very splendid ginger rice, Gobi alloo, butter chicken
cheese nan and chilly prawns, plus cocktails. The other Sue had sizzling
tiger prawns, that half an hour earlier had caused a stir when 2 of them
jumped off their tray.. Now they sizzled madly giving away our position..
More cocktails, and the impromptu beach entertainment started with a tightrope
walking family. I wander off in search of the loo. On the way back I get
talking to a chap with an CZ (well I think it was) he asks if I would
like a go!!! Not in my cocktailed state!!! But we chat about his bike
a 150 with the MZ style drop in key.
Anjuna Market, phew all too much,
very hot and way too much hassle, hassle with everything, bought a few
bits Sue's bag was a bargain, but mostly new tourists were just fleeced,
unfortunately. The fresh coconut drink and views were great, an Enfield
for sale the owner was moving on to Thailand having covered 7 Thousand
Km. Very hot. I started to appreciate the smells and noises but the hassle
was just to much. Bought my splendid hat but at £4 no bargain for
sure. Took a few pix. and mercifully found a taxi back (having missed
ours). Back for a rest, then buffet, great as ever we have yet to have
the same dish twice a real change ! mostly veg then the NON veg 3 dish
section. I have yet another different Dhal, cheese nan and spinach and
a large beer much needed !
Early start off on to the spice and crocs tour. Long bus ride out to the
cashew nut factory, a small sweat shop where the nuts are processed by
hand one at a time. I found it 18th Century and rather disturbing, an
abrupt link to a previous age, a dark sticky acrid smell of the coconut
oil used to neutralise cashew nut oil. Then on to the spice plantation
we see all the spices in their natural form ! The ginger was amazing,
texture almost like apple. Then the boat trip along a mangrove delta,
many birds, six types of Kingfishers, An Osprey with a fish, and allsorts
of sand piper type birds, crabs on the muddy banks, jumping mullet. Then
a long trip back (10 drop offs) and down to the hotel restaurant, Sue
had the vindaloo, (vinegar / potatoes) very nice, so different from the
UK. In the evening I wander out to see Domnic (the tailor) have a great
chat and briefly ride his motorbike round the block - Great.
Breakfast, Omelettes cereal etc, early morning
walk, then we wander to see Dominic (tailor) then the 14:00 bus to
Baga beach, where Sue is now sunning herself and I am deciding which cocktail
to have after my Black Russian. Mr Cow wandered past, the colour of the
sand. Goan Club music pumps in the background strangely suiting the mood
of the beach and my second cocktail. Two tourists wander by with solar
powered fan caps. I wonder how much power would you need for a Linux
Lineo box ? "Cracklin
Rose" now drifts across !
Up early for the dolphin trip,
out we go and see about 12 dolphins jumping and just swimming along, they
looked a really happy bunch! There were 2 baby ones that kept flicking
their tails in the air, very hard to photograph though !!
Back to Lario's, then off for a little hike along the coast across Baga
creek (rather deep this time!). Photographed a splendid butterfly, back
for an orange juice then a pina colada Sue had the Papaya, then grapefruit
juices. Photo with Jeremy back to Lario's for lunch, Sue sampled the massage,
Prakash wrote out his address for us letter by letter copying it from
a small notebook a 1999 diary, which was full of his customers comments.
I walked left from the hotel.
In the early afternoon we joined the Tour
of Old Goa then The Capital
Keen to go back to Old Goa we
hire a taxi (£10 for the day). As we drive along the edge of the
river Maldovi Club music fills the taxi, meshing together views and atmosphere.
A much more leisurely walk around the churches. Then a splendid
meal at the "After Eight" Restaurant under the sky and Palm
trees. We have Steaks and fantastic Chocolate Puddings.
Feeling ill on and off for the last couple of days we both spend the night
on a drips at the local Hospital !
Taxi back to the packed airport and the plane home !
I walk around Stevenage town centre in the run up to Christmas. It is
very very noisy. Once again the world has altered.