Saturday, 28 November 2015

A “normal” 5 Days in Goa!

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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 ……..

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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……… 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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

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

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There are some stunning views from the top ………

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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 ………

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………. 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!!

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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 …………

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

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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 ……..

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

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

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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!

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

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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!

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