Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Two Island Trips and a Friend to stay


Life in Goa is not all hard work. Occasionally we get a chance to laze about in the pool outside our apartment!


We recently met up with a British couple Tony and Carol, on holiday for a couple of weeks, who expressed an interest in coming with us on what we call “the island trip”. Little did they know how much fun they were about to have!


During the trip, after the cooking equipment and sunshades are off-loaded on one of the many islands off the Goan coast, (for the beach bbq and buffet later in the day) we set off by boat again to drop anchor off another island where we could swim, snorkel and fish. We made friends with three lads on holiday from Delhi. James helped one of them to learn to swim (and, with his new-found confidence, he was happy to then splash about outside this pic!) but here are Aman and Himanshu, happy to be part of the photo!


Aman, Doug, Carol, Tony and Himanshu after the swimming.


Here we are again on our way to the island for the beach buffet.


The beach buffet in full swing. Wonderful food, sunshine and the lovely company of the “Delhi Three”.


After a day of imbibing beer and rum and coke and a belly full of gorgeous Goan food the trip back back home was party time! Here’s Carol and Doug doing their combined “Kate Winslett” routine!


…….. and, after “Kate Winslett”, they take a rest!


We’re happy to report that everyone returned safely from the island trip and, after 40 winks we met up with Tony and Carol again to finish the day at Santa Lucia bar (where we met for the first time). It also happened to be the birthday of Tushar, the bar manager (a lovely, welcoming and always helpful man) so we invited him to join us for a birthday drink.


On the way home Doug helped a couple of bar staff to feed one of the many sacred cattle that roam the streets. This one is partial to a bit of naan bread (well, quite a lot of it actually!)


Our friend Emmanuel flew out to join us for a week and we had some great moments showing him around. Next to where we are at Candolim is Siquerim, where many of the traditional boats are based and where you can get a thirst quenching coconut milk drink.


Further on from Siquerim, at the headland, is Aguada Fort (which we’ve visited many times) but we also explored to the very end of the road and to the gates of the now disused Aguada Jail. The statues at the entrance gates were quite interesting!


A camera shot through the gates show just a little of this grim place which only closed three years ago.


We took Emmanuel to the Arpora Saturday (all night) market which has a great atmosphere. There must be a thousand stalls there selling just about anything you can think of.


The market is situated on a hillside so there are trees and steps up and down to the different “streets” of stalls.


Just as an aside – we took a local bus the other day. Not in very good condition - you could see the road in several places through the floor!


We’ve recently got to know a couple of market traders (Sachin and Manog) who recently invited us to their home to meet their families and to have a meal with them. Manog and Sachin live quite close to each other,are good friends and work together. We eagerly took up their kind invitation and took along a few gifts for the children. This is Manog’s charming 18 month old little boy who was thrilled with the bubble gun we gave him.


They took us into their “rain house” which they usually use in the monsoon season but they also live and cook outdoors in the winter months.


The single room dwelling is very small with a small kitchen area where Manog’s wife and mother in law were preparing the food for us. We were given their mattress to sit on while the rest of the family sat on the stone floor.


The food was delicious – chicken, lamb and rice with ‘puddi’.



This is Sachin (left) with Manog’s extended family members who also wanted to meet us.


This is most of Manog’s family (we also call him ‘spice John’ as he sells herbs and spices). John’s in the centre with the dark shirt and his wife is front left.


After we’d spend a quite a while with Manog and his family Sachin wanted us to go to his home to meet his family. Again we were greeted with the most wonderful welcome and enjoyed a cup of coffee with them before leaving.

We were totally bowled over with the generosity and welcome we received from these lovely people. Both Sachin and John had poor educations but both are determined to work hard to give their children a good education as they know how important it will be for them in the future. It was a real joy to spend so much time with them. 


We went on another “island boat trip”, this time with friends Dev and Rajaa who help us a lot with organising trips. This is James’ very poor attempt at photographing Dolphins. This large pod came quite close to the boat and some of the Dolphins did some wonderful summersaults out of the water.


This is Rajaa at the bow of the boat just before we dropped anchor and did some swimming.


After swimming and snorkelling the boats took us for the beach buffet on another island.


The boat crew erect sun shades to give us ‘delicate souls’ somewhere comfortable to eat. In the midday sun the sand is too hot to walk on!


We had arranged to meet friends Dolreich and Hemant in Panjim on Tuesday this week so, riding our scooters to the ferry, we attempted to get aboard! They certainly like playing ‘sardines’ on the ferry – so much so that Doug managed to squeeze on and James was left high and dry! So he decided to take the long way round and over the bridge and was only 10 minutes late!


Dolreich is a wine waiter for P&O and we’ve known him since our first cruise. Hemant is a bar manager and we’ve also known him a while. Both, very fortuitously, were on leave from their ships so we had lunch with them at our favourite eating place (Down the Road) in Panjim.  Here’s Hemant, Doug, Dolreich and James. It was so very good to catch up with them both and we shall see them both again quite soon.


On Tuesday evening we took Emmanuel to “Thallassa”, a very popular Greek restaurant perched on the cliff at Vagator in North Goa. It’s renowned for the fabulous views and sunsets ……


……. and it certainly did not disappoint on that score!


The dinning experience was terrific and we hope to go back again one day.


And, as the sun tucked itself below the horizon, we took the chance to have a photo shoot with the most amazing background.

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