Candolim was a frenzy of activity over the days before and after the Big Birthday! Many friends from the UK timed their holidays to be with us for “the big day” and it’s numerous events and celebrations.
A pre-birthday event was one of Doug’s much loved “island trips”. The party gang took 18 seats of the 26 seater boat. The rest were taken by a charming group of Indian lads who also joined in much of our celebration that day.
We enjoyed the customary visit to one of the offshore islands for some swimming and snorkelling. One of the boat’s crew dived down to retrieve something of interest for us to see. Here’s Margaret (forever to be known now as ‘Margaret darling’) holding a magnificent Sea Urchin.
After the snorkelling we journeyed to Monkey Beach for a lunchtime BBQ. Here’s a break-away group of the main contingent – Darryl (front) with Margaret darling, then Cris (back towards us), John and Louise (standing) and Caroline and Giddy in the centre. A fantastic day enjoyed by all.
On one evening we had a Champagne reception for all the friends who had planned their hols around Doug’s birthday. They had all, very kindly, brought the odd bottle of Champagne with them to boost the stocks – Cris, Giddy, Louise, John, Doug, Margaret darling, Caroline, Darryl, Wayne, Linzi and Bev.
……. and we cannot forget our splendid friends Manju and “Masala Masala”. Masala, who is a childhood friend of Manju, was our driver when we went to Maharashtra to see Manju’s parents and since then has become firmly part of our family. Just as a little aside - we recently arranged a check up for Manju with our dentist (he’d never seen one in all his 23 years) and her verdict:- “he has the finest set of of teeth I have ever seen – I wish I had them!”
The next birthday event was a trip up the Chapora River on a rice boat. Something we’ve done before, of course, but this time we took over all three of the cabins with friends.
Having boarded and settled in we cruised down to the mouth of the river at Turtle Beach to enjoy the sunset.
Something that Captain Rameshaw has always wanted is for some of his guests to swim ashore rather than be transported by dingy. The tidal current is extremely strong but Cris, Wayne and Doug decided to have a go. Ramesh was on hand with the safety boat just in case but all three made it to the beach!
Captain Rameshaw knows us well and was happy to hand over the ship’s wheel to Cris. (Ramesh made sure he always had an eye on things though!)
Here’s our Chapora River trip contingent – Wayne, Louise, Doug,John, Cris, Bev and Linzi. (with James behind the camera!)
Although we recently had a night on a rice boat on the backwaters in Kerela the Chapora River comes up trumps for serenity and beauty every time …….
……. every view is a relaxation ……..
…….. and, although this time, we didn’t see any crocs the views were enough to make the trip, as always, a real pleasure.
Well, the big day at last arrived and Doug reached his half century! – although being on another continent it made it slightly confusing as to the exact moment of the astrological event. We had the birthday party at Mikey’s Place (where we’re now part of the furniture) and Doug, dressed in Indian attire, was welcomed with flowers, garlands and sash. James, Caroline, Doug and Giddy.
Manju, who works at Mikey’s Place when he’s not studying at college, with Cris’ help, did all the arrangements for what was going to be the most splendid of evenings.
About 40 guests arrived for the celebrations. The UK friends couldn’t believe how many Indian friends were there and the Indian friends couldn’t believe how many UK friends were there! We feel privileged indeed for that to be so. Doug, Richard, Adele, Joe, Ste, Anne and Rebecca.
Wayne, Bev and Linzi.
General party view.
Masala masala, Darryl, Margaret darling, Caroline and Giddy.
We were so pleased to have UK friends Brian and Mike (they only live a few miles from us in England but, due to each of us always being somewhere in the world, we only ever get to meet up in Goa! Brian and Mike travelled up from their holiday apartment in South Goa to be with us. (with Louise and John)
The boys from Mapsa market also joined us for the party – Sachin, Manog, Jitesh, Vikas and Akash.
Julroy (back to us), Ray, Bosco, Rita, Julia and Roshan.
… and a better pic of the two lovely friends who travelled from South Goa just for the evening – Bosco and Julroy.
Eventually it was cake cutting time! and, amid a hail of party poppers, crackers and confetti, Doug was just able to see the cake to cut it!
As is the custom in India, the birthday boy has some cake plastered on his face! Cris (who did the most amazing job as ‘master of ceremonies’), Manju and is amazing teeth (who tries to get in on most pics – but also did an amazing job of arranging things) and Doug (not bad for half a century – the cake’s doing a good job of hiding the cracks!)
Roshan, Masala masala and Manju (again!)
Doug, Roshan, Cris, Bobby, Rebecca, Mohan and James.
Cris, Doug (in a change of clothes!) and Manju (again!)
This was most of what was left after many people needed to get home (some travelling a long way and needing to be at work in the morning). Either side of Doug are Alex and Pundalik – from Kingfisher Beach Shack and either side of Darryl on the right are Patchi and Raj – from Princess Corner Beach Shack. It was great to see these boys as they work so hard during the day and late into the evening and they still had enough energy to come to the party.
We even had a “cow” turn up towards the end of the evening! (It’s actually Manju again – he’ll do anything to get in a pic!)
Flowers from James …….
……. and from many other friends.
It has to be one of the biggest “THANK YOU’S” to everyone who came, brought gifts and added so much just by being there with us to celebrate Doug’s 50th and to Manju and Cris for all their hard work. The party did not see the last of the celebrations by any means – watch out for the next blog!