But we were very restrained, didn't get hammered at the bubbly fountain, and turned down each offering of "International cheese plate" and dessert
. The journey was pretty uneventful, bar the two strangers sitting in front of us between Doha and Goa - strangers to each other I mean, or at least they were when they boarded. By the time they got off they knew everything about each other and she knew everything about everything in the whole world ever, because he, who clearly knew more than everything about everything had told her it all at the top of his Brummie voice for the entire journey. She just just giggled (loudly) and wriggled in her seat. We just struggled to get to sleep. I think he had been upgraded from Economy. Which I'd like to get sniffy about but we were of course officially "upgrades" too.
The real fun journey started when we got into our car at Goa Dabolim Airport. Now I say airport which gives a false impression of something kind of slick and high speed and shiny, in keeping with this age of jet powered travel for all. Not so at all. It was probably built in the 60s, and has all the mould caused by 50 years of monsoons, and is, I swear, no bigger than a provincial english bus station. The only thing really wrong with it is the runway which is so pitted and potholed that on touch down we nearly bounced right off again and landed in a neighbouring state.
Gokarna, In Karnataka is pretty much due South from Goa so I assumed that we would take a nice straight, flat coast road of some desccription
. Hmmm. Wrong again. The nice recently remetalled dual carraigeway soon ran out and we were winding up into the mountains, surrounded by endless acres of desne forest, it was obviously very beautiful. But at 2am, it was also very dark, which is when Indian Drivers come into their own. They really do "tear along the dotted line" (please refer to that old joke) and have what is best decsribed as an idiosynchratic way with headlights. They have two settings apparetly, Off and full beam. Each makes for hilarious if somewhat life-threatning night time journeys. Ours was 2.5 hours long. The Indian Highway Code forbids giant trucks from driving during the day when the roads are really overcrowded, which means that at night, on every bend, at every hill brow your are blinded by an oncoming truck, labouring its way between quarry and port, and if you don't have trucks you have buses. It was indeed a bus that wouldn't give up in one particular game of "chicken" with our driver and so he forced us off the road, in a cloud of dust and flying stones. How ironic, I thought, if the last word to pass before my eyes as I ended my days was "TaTa", the name of India's largest motor manufacturer.
We survived, obviously but it put paid to any ideas of catching up on our sleep on the pleasant seaside ride between airport and final destination. The reference to The Romans? If they'd built the roads, none of the above would have happened!
I shall let the pictures descsribe our resort and sign off.
At least we can make this admisison with a guilt free conscsience. Yes, we travelled Club Class all the way from London to Goa. Having spend the equivalent of a normal person's life savings with Qatar Airways over the years we were able to use our "Q Miles" - That's Q as in Qatar, nothing else thank you - to get a free upgrade to Club. We paid economy fares and got all the luxury of a peaceful clubloung at Heathrow (although Qatar Airways are currently sharing Cathay's which is rubbish) lie flat seats, real crockery, and real metal cutlery. As well as Lanson and Laurent Perrier champagnes plus endless courses of gourmet cuisine. Given the effect that a pressurised cabin naturally has on the human colono-rectal system, the addition of plates of spicy arabic and later Indian cuisine is not for the faint hearted. At one point I did say to Colin, "if we make it alive to the hotel I will die when ny stomach explodes anyway."