Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
the Library has been built against both walls on either side of the room.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
We drove to fort Aguada.....the drive was fabulous....all the greenery coupled with the winding roads, one side of which is the mandovi river and on the other side are houses, mountains or fields depending on how far away from civilization you are.....
Fort Aguada was spectacular...but i could really do with better behaved tourists....most often our own....what is it with them?? why do they have to lech and catcall and generally make such fools of themselves.....if they think road romeo like behaviour will get them the attention of women....they really have their heads screwed onto the wrong end of their bodies....
the views from the fort, the ramparts that lead to the sea, the drop to the ocean, the small island in the background and the sight of smalll steam boats chugging along....i could have spent my whole afternoon there....but it was so punctuated by noisy rowdy crowds...but then i already mentioned them!!
we drove out to panjim so we could book a river cruise, only to be told at the counters of three different cruise operators that there were no “dolphin cruises” which started “only in season” (meaning tourist season)……… I wished I had my blogger friend A’s number so I could call her and possibly visit her….i had managed to lock my bedroom with the keys to the room and my phone inside at home before heading out the airport……and the last thing my family would allow me to do was get online to find her number…..
we lunched at Hotel Mandovi at the Restaurant called Riorico …. It was a weird thing to sit in a place decorated with a Mexican theme, there were large sized boleros and cactus all over the place and order goan food!! we went there 30 minutes closer to their closing time…..they hastened us into ordering….. forgot a few of the things we ordered…..and the guy who took our order was by then off duty….. whatever food they managed to serve us was good, but I am surely not going back to a place that seems not to care much about my satisfaction….
We got back late afternoon and rested for a while before finally walked in the sand – on the baga beach…. Rachel got to play in the “matti” sand or soil in telugu….and I built castles (well they looked that way to me anyway) after many many years….took an obscene number of photographs because I just discovered the multiple capture option that my brother’s hitech camera had including tones of pictures of beach dogs (you cant call them street dogs since they’re not on the street but on the beach…. We spent a lovely evening watching the waves, which were very rough, the people, some of who braved the tide, i though they were just being falsely brave....and politely refusing the wares of several women who came around speaking impeccable english...offering shells, necklaces, hair braiding and sarongs.....
later that evening, while we still were soaking up the sunset on the beach, we were told that two youths got sucked in with the tide, one got rescued and one paid for his bravado with his life....it shook me up.....
dinner at Souza Lobo's was spot on..... but my mind was elsewhere.....what if it was me.....or someone i knew.....why couldnt those silly boys see that the sea was too rough to pick a challenge with....
Friday, October 3, 2008
23rd Sept – amma’s walked this earth for 70 years!! and what a life it has been…..Happy Birthday Dear Mommy…..
I slept fitfully……disturbed by K’s body burning with fever lying next to me….and the occasional grunts…..we woke up and ordered coffee…..a few hours later, had breakfast with everyone else by the pool…..but it was evident that we wouldn’t be up to the trip to the Church of St. Francis…..i didn’t want to leave him alone at the hotel and he was in no state to come along….it would have just made him worse…..so we stayed put at the hotel while the rest of them went to the church…..had lunch and returned in the late afternoon…..K and I watched Apne….triple dozed on the deols, with beer for me and hot sweet corn soup for K!!
In the evening, I got over my self-consciousness to splash around in the pool…..i did spend a few hours wishing the ones who were in the pool and lounging around it would buzz off….when they didn’t, I just mustered up my courage and jumped in…..i always tell myself, they’ll possibly never see me again…..and mostly aren’t as obsessed with my cellulite as I am…..sometimes it works, some times I have to work at it!! this day sort of established a pattern with me…..drink, eat, exhaust yourself in the pool till you feel you can drink and eat without too much guilt to ruin the food experience…..my brother would want to add here that there wasn’t much of a food experience in my case anyways, but I would prefer not to give him that privilege…
We got dressed for dinner at eight, and headed straight to souza lobo’s …… this time there was a young duo of musicians….singing country numbers…..some completely off key, but they were so earnest that we clapped enough for them to whisper “thank you….thank you ladies and gentlemen” at the end of each one….. Souza Lobo’s was also good enough to arrange for a cake for us….. so we ate and drank, talked and laughed and spent a wonderful evening…..i took a minute to thank God for my mother’s life….all that she is…..and we watched her cut her birthday cake with her granddaughter…..sang happy birthday for her at our table because the band forgot our request and was singing a number from roxette instead…..they couldn’t stop midway to sing happy birthday with us….but we had another go immediately afterwards, with the whole restaurant joining in (they each had a slice of cake for their effort)…..i think my mom was a little sheepish when she stood up to acknowledge their wishes……. I would like to think it was one of the better birthdays she has had……. Am sure she is nodding in agreement
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Baby Rachel in her purple dino swimsuit, with sun block that could double for whitewash dove into the water astride her little red float …. It was a contraption that allowed her to sort of sit in it…..like a rubber chair with a float around it…..the next few hours was a family video scene……rachel and my brother in the water, with her paddling away like a little duck, my mother delighted…..my SIL happy but nervous that she might topple over…..me wanting to join in the fun and urging the sun to go down sooner so I don’t look like burnt toast….and K slowly but surely getting a burning fever……the sun did go down, I did get into the water and splash around….and Rachel did topple over….twice!! but we pulled her out just as quickly too!! (thank god!! Cos all our hearts skipped many beats!!)
Exhausted, we napped till it was dinner time…..the most awaited time of each day….. Souza Lobo it was….the chosen destination that we dined at three out of four nights…..a testament to the food and service…..while my carnivorous family were almost delirious and couldn’t decide what to order for a long time, the amused waiter blinked at me a couple of times, trying to figure out if I was indeed asking him “what can you recommend from the vegetarian dishes?” but with all due respect, I never once felt I’d landed up at the wrong place…. Each item I ordered at each of the meals we had at Souza Lobo’s always turning out excellent….and not once did I have to resort to paneer butter masala and rotis!!
There was live music by a trio, with an elderly gentleman with a fabulous tenor singing all the familiar goan songs…… the only thing that was a spoke in this wonderful experience, was my anxiety over K’s full blown fever.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
The arch that welcomed us to goa, was a mirage…… we still drove around….round and round….. for more than 3 hours before we managed to find our hotel……I was falling asleep, sandwiched on the back seat of the car, between amma and C my SIL, who had her 20 month old daughter fast asleep in her arms….i didn’t envy her….my SIL, cos I knew her arms were aching from holding the baby for hours like that…..the price one pays for motherhood….i envied Rachel….who really didn’t know that we had been driving around in circles for the last few hours……literally wishing I too could crawl back into my mother’s lap and sleep like a baby…..
When we reached our hotel, I was too sleepy to notice anything but a freshly made queen sized bed….i promptly jumped in after washing up….careful to use tepid water so as to not wake myself up!!
We spent almost the entire next day till late afternoon indoors…..trying to recover from the long drive and prepare the body for the holiday ahead….a friend of mine and seasoned traveler advised me, never to go for the kill on the day you reach your destination….always rest the body well enough to be able to withstand the onslaught of the rest of the holiday!! It is actually the best holiday advise I have ever got!!
Walking down the road in search of cigarettes for K that afternoon after lunch, we were literally accosted, not once, but five times by youths on two wheelers bearing invitations to a party starting at 10.30 that night to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of a resort….. we accepted the invite from the first guy who prompted us to open the invitation to check what “prize” we’d won ourselves….. it was a boat cruise….we thanked him and said we’d come by….. guy # 2, offered us the same invite, we mentioned we’d already received one and he drove on after bidding us a good day….. guy # 3 rides past, turns around, comes back and invites us to the same party…..when we told him we already had an invitation….he told us to try our luck a second time….. because there were an assortment of prizes and there was no limit on how many you could claim…..tired by this time….. and beginning to be crabby at my hand holding and walking down the lane experience with K was being interrupted again, we accepted the invitation, while I was trying to open it, guy # 3 quizzes K about where he is from, where he is staying, how old are you, etc…..he then asks us if we were NRI’s to which K answered in the negative…..guy # 3 promptly then takes back the half opened invitation from us saying you have to either be an NRI or over 35 to qualify for the party…..apologising that we didn’t make the cut, he rides on….. K smiles…..we walk some more….having bought the cigarettes, with K telling me, that it was a polite way of telling us that the party was only open to foreigners…..preferably the whites….and that this is nothing new…..the last time he was here with his friends, they were denied entry onto certain beaches that were hosting rave parties, with free flowing drugs, because they were indian……then comes guy #4, we give him an update, tell him we have an invite, won a free boat cruise, and didn’t make the cut since we were neither NRI’s nor over 35….. he says that it was wrong on his colleagues part to say this to us…since there is no such rule….and that he would be happy to take us to the resort, and will immediately arrange for a free taxi ride…..we thank him and tell him that we have other plans for the rest of the day, but if we did have the time, we’d surely drop in at the venue after 10.30….. he sheepishly tries to point out that we need to contact him to be able to enter…..and that if we didn’t go with him, we’d not gain entry…..K says we’ll manage to0 find him somehow if we did go….. he then says, if you want to come, you can come now…..in the evening the entry is only for foreigners…..adding as an afterthought………and NRI’s….we say no problem….wish him good luck and continue our stroll…..guy #5 appears in record time….we just say we have an invite thank you…..and walk on……
Goa’s economy subsists on its status as a tourist destination…. But before you think sunny beaches and sand, the reality of the underbelly strikes you……famed coastline notwithstanding, goa is definitely the easiest place for seedier things in india….the whole place waits for the tourist season that begins in October and lasts upto February…… walking down Tito’s lane in baga beach at this time of the year, you will see all the houses that let out rooms to tourists getting a facelift….the shacks that line the stretch of sand from calangute to baga still weren’t set up when we were here…..but they will in just a few weeks…..and then the foreign tourist contingent will arrive….to bring cheer to the economy…..
while I love goa, have looked forward to this trip, telling K that we should make it a must visit once a year atleast, I found the whole thing annoying…….i wasn’t upset that I didn’t qualify for some vague party at a resort…..i was annoyed that there were certain parts of my own country where I wasn’t welcome……it isnt the first time I have encountered this…..the smiles broaden and behavior gets crisper and more willing to please when the shade of skin lightens….this is the same across this country….. from Leh to Varkala and across the east to West Coast……I’ve seen it in corporate offices, airports and pubs and restaurants…..and it irritates me….that my fellowmen/women want to please me any less than anyone else….especially when I pay the same, for the same service….. I am not prejudiced about colour. Race or nationality…..but to be told I am not good enough to go someplace in my own country because I am indian is possibly the most exasperating experience I’ve ever had……it continues to make me think about how much we love subservience and love to run and fetch…
I digressed…. But this was a fact I couldn’t ignore…..