Ole, its Stevo the bullfighter

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Flag of India  , Goa,
Thursday, April 8, 2010

We woke up and got stuck straight into two cups of Masalla Chai courtesy of Alex. He really is a top bloke who is not out to get every last penny of you. If you want an isolated stay in North goa where you can explore everywhere from, definitely stay at Sant Anton beach bungalows. Alex and his family will do anything and everything to help you out and make sure you've got everything you need.

As Alex departed to go and practice his wedding vows, (he is getting married on my birthday)Camillo arrived in the cab to take us to Old Goa - The Rome of the East. So called as it has so many churches and cathedrals in a relatively small place. Although it was roasting we found the whole place really interesting and Camillo as always was a great tour gide / driver and can keep you interested the whole way just describing whats around you, e.g. stopping to show you different fishing methods and how different areas are fished differently with different types of nets etc.

Camillo was clearly far more religious than Lady E and I, and asked us to make sure we took candles and garlands of flowers into the cathedrals, (typical of these Morjim Goan family though they sort all the haggling out for you so you dont get ripped off pay out of their own money and tell you what they have paid and what you would have paid. Camillo let us explore each cathedral while we prayed and today we got to the see the body of a real life saint. The man in question was St Francis Xavier, who missioned all over Asia. Although in a raised casket you could still see his head and feet. Although no pictures are allowed Camillo advised that everyone takes photographs and it the signs may as well not be there so feel free to take pictures here but not in the next cathedral.

Anyway a garland of flowers went around the alter of St Francis, and we lit the candles just outside the main cathedral. We then had toured two other cathedrals one of which had collapsed and despite the obvious danger like a good christian Camillo advised it would never hurt us as it is a holy place so don't worry. I didn't describe what an Atheist was.

At noon we arrived at Palolem and on the drive towards the overpriced beach huts drove past the Palolem Guest house which is featured in the Lonely Planet as being far cheaper than the beach huts but with TV's, fans and decent ensuite bathrooms. It ended up costing about 9 pounds a night but gives Lady E somewhere to escape the heat of the day.
We wandered down to the beach and internet cafes (to again try and find a way of getting to Kerela something we have failed to do as all the trains for the whole month are already fully booked).

The beach is beautiful, a true crescent shape and the currents clearly far less than those in North Goa (the currents in Goa account for several tourist deaths per year). It is lined entirely with bars beach huts and restaurants. So has a really nice tourist vibe, its also quiter than we had imagined but we are now well out of season and with the rising heat some places are starting to close and some people suggesting there may be an early monsoon. I do not know what we would have done if we hadn't taken the flight option from Beijing meaning we hit India a month early.

It was to Lady E's delight that having a romantic stroll down the beach to see another Indian child crapping in the see (well just in wash on the shore anyway!). There are also lots of cows on the beach in Palolem which is kind of funny initially but speaking of cows....

After taking a stroll of the beach and the beach road, I (Andrew) in my usual bright (or now dirty red) T- shirt appeared to be followed up the road by a few cows. As we reached the first corner of the road he walked up towards three ricksaw drivers who were crouched down playing a game at the side of the road. All of a sudden they all started shouting and scarpered before I got hit in the back by a bull (thank god its horns had either been sawn off or hadn't properly developed. I was trying to push its head away from me and all hell broke loose before I legged it running in circles around the rickshaws away from this beast - holy cow said batman. As we walked off, me still nervous, the shopkeepers were all laughing at me and pointing. I had always believed that bulls were colour blind and it was a myth that they were attracted to Red. I'm not so sure anymore. They may have just thought I stunk though!!!

We ventured into another train booking shop to be told again all trains were full for the month to Kerela, so we are starting to feel a little trapped. Still there are worse places in the world to be trapped. While in the internet cafe an ex hippy (long hair in his late 50's) bloke who had clearly been on the Fanny all day staggered in and started shouting "what is the time in India? What is the F***'ing time", ten owner told him it was 17:30 then he shouted "that is the time in india you f'***ing f***'er, what is the time in England" he walked toward the pay phone then said "give me all your f***ing money or I'll come back and kill you", entered the phone booth 'after 5 minutes came out and said to the owner "excuse me I can't make my phone call could you help me" a bit like a small child all very odd. The owner booted him out and told him the place was shut but I was in hysterics. (Perhaps I should take these things a little more seriously).

We chose one of the bars to sit and have dinner (Titanic), we both had a vege burger, the best we have ever had washed down by a couple of shared Kingfisher.  We just sat watching the waves lap at the sand, contemplating the hard day ahead of us, sunbathing, chilling out, swimming, eating....
From the other side of the world Salford is such a distant memory.
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