Thursday, November 17, 2005

4 days in goa (and two days driving)

10 hour drive to goa and living at fountainhas in panjim at rias opposite the exotic panjim inn. from our room we could see the rising hill and the small church on the hill along with the pedestrian bridge over the canal.

dinner at venites with italian portuguese french scrawling all over the interior. our table was on in a balcony overlooking the streets and in the distance the lights of night cruises.

day 1 we drove to colva to find a hotel in south goa. ‘amigo plaza’ it was - on a side street with a view of the palm trees along the beach. satisfied, next stop was the margao railway station with the huge overhanging roof on the correa columns that we saw again at dona sylvia. then a strange visit to a heritage house- the braganza house in a nearby village- chandor. judith, upright and proud on one side with stories of glory days and ball room dances; and on the other side a drunk man mumbling incoherently to three irish young men on their india trip. then the rachol seminary where in the interior of the high ceilinged church we found a group of young men practicing to play music. by the time we got to the shanta durga temple we were exhausted and skipped old goa and the mangeshi temple for a drink at venites again- this time as the sun was setting. night at colva and dinner on the beach at ‘boomerang’ where we had our first close up look at a ‘bbb’ (boy bed bike) a young goan boy who offers all of the above mentioned to lonely european traveling women.

day 2 we walked into the sea before and after our first english breakfast of the trip. then a long day lounging in and out of bed. in the evening we set out to the southern tip of the colva stretch to betul and cavellosim. the betul bech is pristine white sand and has almost been completely usuruped by the leela hotel. had a fight with the watchman there and also saw akshya kumar and twinkle khanna taking a casual walk along the shore and playing volleyball with the kids. the water was gentle and soft and the sky was a glowing slab of pink marble. that night we took a walk in the moonlight at cavellosim.

day 3 we decided to move hotels to the far touristier north goa beaches. after driving past aguada we found a place on the main calangute road : shelsta. a little room with a garden in front. more driving afterwards- a lunch of rather awful “authentic” goan food at o coquieros and a rather disappointing trip to the ‘houses of goa’ museum by gerard. its like the area around this museum in gerards equivalent of disneyland with the architect playing the part of mickey mouse. you can buy models, postcards of the house as if it is a new taj mahal; or you could even get a guided tour of the museum by the architect himself. all very well, i suppose if the building is something special- but to be quite honest after the eccentricity and love that i remember seeing at nrityagram, i have not been able to enjoy his work for a while now. what was once a peculiar gentility has now this baroque overexertion which can be quite off-putting.

‘dil chahta hain’- that epic of upper middle class adolescence had one of its key scenes shot at the chapora fort- a spectacular ruin overlooking a river meeting the sea just north of the anjuna beach. sure enough, we found hordes of young men posing for photographs like aamir, saif and akshay swarming all over in the hot afternoon. wonderful location though. the anjuna beach was quite disappointing and we decide instead to swim at calangute instead. the water was yellow from some strange seaweed, and the sky still spectacular.

day 4 was visiting day after a swim. anita, sumanand guru at their miramar apartment and then lunch at the ritz classic- brilliant seafood. gave up a search for the wendell rodricks showroom- as if it was going to be open on a sunday afternoon.. that evening we met ajay for dinner and drinks. he took us to brittos at baga. i perhaps had too much feni. and that was the end of the saga.

the drive back was as the drive to, quick, comfortable and uneventful.

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