Having settled into “home” for the next three months it wasn’t long before the party started. Friends who we met last year, Carole and Tony timed their Goa break so we could all meet up again. Over their two week stay we thoroughly enjoyed their company with many occasions to remember.
One person who arrived on the scene very early on was our friend Manju! He’s studying for a degree in sociology but also works in Mikey’s Place (which we frequent frequently!) in the evenings. He’s great fun and, when he can, regularly appears wherever we may be for a free Mojito! LOL.
Another friend who we soon caught up with again was Pundalik. We found him working at Kingfisher Shack on the beach and soon discovered that he wasn’t just a waiter but had taken over the shack as it’s new boss! We’re so pleased that he’s taken, what is, a huge decision for him and wish him all the luck in world. Of course, his shack is now our favoured place on the beach.
The west coast of India has recently been badly effected by a cyclone out in the Arabian Sea.
Coinciding with high tides the sea pounded the beaches and caused an awful lot of damage to many of the shacks – just as the season started. We felt so sorry for the owners who worked really hard to get their shacks ready only for the beach to be taken away from under them. However, they’re a resourceful people and they continued to function, even without foundations, and within a week things were pretty much back to normal.
We had more UK friends, Simon and Stephen, who came out for a couple of weeks break. It was their first trip to Goa so we made sure they enjoyed their stay (we hope!). We had many good times with them in the two weeks and it soon became the ‘norm’ for them to join us and enjoy a pre dinner drink on the balcony before going for an evening meal.
Carole and Tony’s two weeks overlapped nicely with Simon and Stephen’s and both overlapped with Bryn and Susan’s (who we also met last year). Judging that they may enjoy each other’s company we arranged a meal one evening and it was a great success. Here’s Bryn, James, Stephen, Doug, Tony, Sue, Simon and Susan.
Well, Christmas was soon to be upon us and we mentioned to Manju that we needed a palm leaf to act as a tree. He duly turned up one day with a twelve foot ‘job’ (which he carried on his scooter!).
It was fortunate that our apartment ceiling was high enough to take the monster! And splendid it looked we thought!
We decorated the balcony with flashing coloured lights and huge paper stars (just see a bit of one).
As a farewell meal for Simon and Stephen we had dinner at the charming Shivers Garden Restaurant and we must congratulate them both on their early retirement and a good upcoming four months in Thailand as they start their new “careers”!
IF “Yen” was up for grabs and IF we wanted a dog then James would probably be arranging for a one-way ticket for her. “Yen” is one of Mikey’s dogs and, apart from needing a good bath ‘cos she rolls in the dirt, she’s adorable and in love with us. (it may have something to do with biscuits!)
For five days over the Christmas period we had friend Zoe join us. We were delighted, and privileged, to have her company during a short break from her very hectic life. Here we are collecting a scooter from Mikey,s for her. That’s another one of his dogs – “Apple” a rescued Beagle, who climbed aboard and wouldn’t get off the scooter!
December was a joy for overlapping friends – Simon and Stephen’s stay backed on to Zoe’s so an evening meal for us all was, again, the order of the day.
As Zoe loves water we decided to take her for a day on ‘our’ island trip where we swim, snorkel, Dolphin watch and BBQ with free drinks all day (isn’t that a surprise!). Its not true that Zoe and James are ‘brother and sister from another mister’ though!
We leave the shelter of the river with another boat (that’s Ajit’s boat and he’s disappointed that we’re not on his boat – something he’ll change later in the day!)
The dolphins never fail to visit us as we stop engines on the way to the islands. (middle of the pic)
After a day of Dolphin watching, drinking, snorkelling, drinking, BBQing, drinking we head back to the mainland in Ajit’s boat with more drinks! Ajit joins us here for a little celebration. We shall be back again Ajit!
Zoe and James on matching scooters outside the disused Aguada gaol …..
……. and here, struggling for a space on the Panjim ferry! If you’ve heard of ‘organised’ chaos this is NOT, its chaos in it’s purest form (and great fun!).
On Christmas Day in the evening we’d booked a meal at Shivers as the atmosphere with voils, fountains and lights is a delight. Someone thought it good idea to take our picture for posterity.
Here we are enjoying a splendid five course meal with Zoe. Manju popped in to join us as usual and we were also joined by Chris and Ange (who we’d got to know) who arrived wearing tradition Indian dress! Zoe left us after Boxing Day to fly to Beijing and Chris and Ange flew back to Sunderland.
Christmas is not celebrated with any great gusto in Goa but when New Year comes around – that’s a different matter! The beach is lit as far as you can see with coloured lights ……….
……… and bonfires take the chill off the air (haha!).
We booked into Kingfisher Shack under the care of Pundalik for our new year’s eve meal and party. This pic shows just how much James sticks out from the general crowd! He doesn’t mind in the least but he does feel a little like Gulliver in Lilliput!
Doug treated himself to a lobster (James has given up naming them as it’s too painful!)
Pundalik’s chef is one of the best on the beach and the food, of course, excellent.
At midnight the fireworks started all along the beach
We were joined by our barbers – Talib, Doug, Javeed, James and Asraf …...
……… and we partied well into the night!
Time to go home! Good food, good drinks and good friends – we can ask for no more.
We’ve also met up with our Mapsa market trader friends Akash and Jitesh and, over in the far right is “Charlie” their friend and helper. We’ve called him Charlie as he can’t hear or speak and so nobody knows his name. He’s so friendly and helpful and we manage to communicate in various ways. We’re all having some very late lunch after a whole day in Mapsa.