Sunday, 29 November 2015

A Great Build-up to a Goan Wedding.


Here’s a quick pic of James on our first scooter riding through Calangute.

On Thursday, to attend the wedding of our friend Bosco, we took a taxi from Candolim to Colva in South Goa where we rented an apartment for the 4 day stay.


On Friday evening we were very privileged to be invited by Bosco to his bachelor party at his home just outside Colva.


His home was incredibly well decorated for the wedding this week and his friends were all so friendly and courteous. Here’s James with Florian, Bosco, Roque and Julroy.


Julroy and Bosco.


James having a quick “dream” on Julroy’s superb Royal Enfield.


James, Bosco and Doug at the start of a great bachelor party evening.


Another quick couple of pics – this is where we can get phone top ups in Colva Beach. Carphone Warehouse could learn a thing or two!


Launching a traditional Goan fishing boat from Colva Beach.


Getting back to the wedding build-up - on Saturday evening we went to another grand event at Bosco’s house. Julroy came to our apartment to give James a lift to Bosco’s on the back of his Royal Enfield. James was in a posing mood as Julroy stopped at a shop for a few things on the way. Doug’s on the scooter we hired during our 4 day stay.


The “ceremony”  that evening was to mark the end of Bosco’s bachelorhood and it consisted of anointing Bosco, and his two right hand men, with warm coconut milk!


Each member of Bosco’s family and friends took turns to take a handful of coconut milk from a bowl and poor it over his head, and those of his friends. It wasn’t long before he was wet through!


Of course, it wasn’t long before Bosco’s “friends” took things a bit further. We had been told beforehand to bring an egg with us and soon Doug took his turn with James’ egg, as well as his own, to pay his respects to Bosco!


The two “best men” didn’t come off any lighter either ………..


……….. and some of Bosco’s closest and dearest friends added curds and whey and bright yellow spices. At the end of about half an hour Bosco certainly got the impression that his bachelorhood was over and that he was now pure and unfettled to embark on his future married life.


The evening’s activities gave the children an excuse to stay up late. Here are four of them well past their bedtime.


This morning (Sunday) we had some spare time before attending the start of the actual wedding celebrations and ceremony so we took a ride out of town to see the sights. It wasn’t long before we came across a workforce clearing and dredging a lake next to the paddy fields. There were men up to their necks in the water as they cut and dragged the weeds to the bankside. Not a JCB or a dredging boat in sight!


As we had to get the hire scooter back later in the day it meant that on Monday morning we wouldn’t have transport to get to Goodman’s in the town to have breakfast. So we decided to buy eggs for breakfast in the apartment. This is where we buy eggs ………..


…….. and this is how you carry 6 eggs. So with 6 eggs all for 28 pence! in a plastic bag we got back on the scooter and went back to get ready for the wedding. We,and all 6 eggs, got back to home safely!



Another couple of quick pics of the view from the balconies in the apartment - and, after sunning ourselves on one of them we got ready for the big event starting at 12 noon.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

A “normal” 5 Days in Goa!


Every Tuesday and Sunday Ryan (at Ryan’s Shack) puts on a display of fireworks, a fire eater and a bonfire for his customers. It’s a great atmosphere ……..


……. and seems to affect certain people in strange ways!


This is our hotel during the evening. Everything is immaculately kept and the whole place shines like a new pin. We have great jokes with the security man in the yellow hut and the taxi lads that constantly wait outside the gates.


This must be a rarer sight in Candolim! There was a guard keeping an eye on this gleaming Lamborghini all the time – quite why we’re not sure.


The sugar cane “juicers” are fascinating to watch. Their little petrol engines work a mangle which squashes the cane to release the juice. This one was near the Panjim ferry.


……… and the free Panjim ferry is complete chaos when it docks. People try to get on before others can get off and those with bikes don’t bother to turn them round when they get on and then they have to turn them round before they can get off. Multiply all this by 300 people and it’s worth buying a ticket for the entertainment  value! The strangest thing of all is that no one gets bothered!


The ferry engine is in a great big whole towards the back of the boat . It’s open and accessible to anyone who wants to fall down into it. It roars away and belches fumes galore but definitely adds to the exciting and wonderful chaos of the whole thing.


Talking of chaos – the “Rocket” buses are a hoot. This one is only mildly crammed. We were on one the other day which was so packed full there was no need to hold on. We were like sardines in a can! The conductor pushes and shoves his way around trying to collect our 15p fare. We love every minute of it!


In a more calm environment, we had another great evening with Dev and Rajaa at another ‘locals’ venue in Calangute. James was not fasting on this occasion – it was a meat course and he was drinking water some of the time as he driving the scooter that evening.


……. and here’s James in the shade of a Banyan tree on the bike we hired last week. 300 Rupees a day (£3!)


We rode up to see the Aguada Fortress at the southern end of Candolim. Built in 1612, Aguada means “watering place”.


There are some stunning views from the top ………


……… and along the coast but it’s not easy to get a good shot due to the heat haze a lot of the time.


The upper part of the fort was built as a vantage point to serve as defence and also as a water station for ships. The water tank holds over 2 million gallons and the lighthouse was used up until 1976.


At the bottom of the fortress is the creek. Packed with boats, it’s a busy place for trips out to sea ……..


…….. and a place to get a thirst quenching drink of coconut water.


Back on the main drag in Candolim this young knife grinder carries the tools of his trade on his back as he goes from restaurant to bar, sharpening their knives for them.


Doug wanted to try “the Stone House” for dinner one evening where they cook food on hot stones by the table.


One day (can’t remember when!) after driving the short, but somewhat treacherous journey to Baga Beach on our bike, we chose to walk the rest of the way to Anjuna by the even more treacherous route through the jungle! The steep and difficult path winds through some very thick undergrowth ………


………. but, thankfully, there’s a prayer point along the way! These prayer points are probably very sensible as James was stopped in his tracks at one point, when a large snake (as thick as an arm and about 5 feet long!) crossed in front of him!!


Safely out of the jungle, with only a few head scratches to spoil our looks, the views from the top of the cliffs were wonderful …………


…………. and birds of prey (Kites we think)hovered on the air currents above us.


We made our way down to a very inviting tropical “paradise” where the rock pools were teaming with the most fabulous tropical fish of all shapes and sizes and colours. It was a very special hour we spent there but the heat of the sun got too much ……..


…….. so it was more rock climbing to finally get to ………..


………. Anjuna beach where we could take shelter and top up the liquid intake.


Leaving Anjuna to head back towards Baga we took the “coastal” route! It was rocks all the way but thankfully, right when we needed shelter from the sun, there was a shack. The only way to this shack was by climbing rocks along the beach or  down the cliff!


Finally, after another ‘watering’ at the shack and some more strenuous cliff walking, we got back to Baga.


The last hurdle was to wade through the river and, after that, it was getting back into the shade for a while and then the short bike ride back to Candolim.

The last five days seems like five weeks. We’ve so enjoyed our stay so far we’ve definitely grown into the place. Everyone is so friendly and we’ve met some great people – we’re now heading to South Goa for a few days to attend the wedding celebrations of our first cabin steward and friend Bosco Vaz. It promises to be amazing!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

A Goan Baptism.

We had the most amazing day as we joined our friend Agnel and his wife Melissa for the Christening of their new baby Chrisanne.


We arrived at the church of St Thomas, Candaulim early, so Agnel sent a member of his family to collect us to join them at their home before returning to the church for the service at 11 o’ clock.


The inside of the church was in complete contrast to the outside but, as it was explained, the monsoon period takes it’s toll on the fabric of any building.


There were prayers said outside the church entrance for the six babies to be baptised that day.


After a friendly talk to all the families by the priest each baby was taken up for his or her initiation. This is little Chrisanne at the moment of her baptism.


After the baptism service Agnel and Melissa took Chrisanne to the alter for photographs.


Then outside there were the customary family photos to be taken.


We were honoured to be invited for a special photo with the proud parents.


Chrisanne was then taken back to the family home where incense is used to welcome her into the home.


We then moved on to the venue for the celebrations where the children, and some of the adults (including ourselves!), were involved in party games. Then, after a splendid buffet meal there was the cutting of the “baby cake”.


As the knife was used to make the first slice, massive party poppers and fire crackers were let off.


A close family friend and priest gave a lovely speech and blessing (in Hindi) before the parents were asked to say something themselves.


In typical shy fashion, Agnel said a brief few words!


Beata, a proud and close family friend holds Chrisanne for some photos …….


……. and here’s the star of the show, Chrisanne at only 8 weeks old.


There were 200 people invited to the celebrations and we have to say we were so very well looked after. We had some lovely conversations with many of the family and friends amid the incredibly high temperature that day. We were not alone in finding the heat unbearable in the direct sun.


As the party ended we were asked for a final photo with parents Agnel and Melissa, baby Chrisanne and Melissa’s brother (and very kind personal host to us) Malcolm. Malcolm very kindly arranged for a taxi to take us back to Candolim.

We could not have enjoyed our day more with this wonderfully welcoming and caring family and we feel very privileged to have been invited to spend such a lovely time for a such a special family celebration.