Trip Start Nov 01, 2012
Trip End Nov 27, 2012

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The back seat behind the driver....

Flag of India  , Goa,
Tuesday, November 6, 2012

OK, so a little question. How many times in the course of a day would you think an Indian taxi driver could toot his horn. Well, we decided to take a taxi for the day and to head south and I can now confirm that on a conservative estimate the answer is of the order of 1000 toots per day! We were out for five hours and I reckon that on average we had a toot every twenty seconds. They toot at other cars, at mopeds, at bends, at cows, at people and, for all I could tell, probably at intervals not exceeding 60 seconds. That's the trade to be in in India, I reckon. Horn replacement. They must all be worn out by the time a car's a year old.
The plan was to head south with Alan and Sally to "do" the south of the region. In order to do so, we had to catch the ferry across the river Sal. (Free for pedestrians, 10 rupees [12 pence] for cars). They're building a bridge next to the ferry which, according to our guide book is due for completion this year. Scrub that and think about maybe 2014 I would suggest. Just a bit worrying whether the old ferry will last that long before it rusts through....
First stop was a Hill Station at Baradi. A fantastic viewing point over the Sal estuary and beyond to the Western Ghats but other than that unremarkable. Except that, only four days in to this little adventure, I was trying to do my "sustainable tourism" bit and not overpay the local lady who had spent hours knocking up a marigold garland which she had deposited around Jane's neck and ended up trying to pay her 4 rupees (5 pence) for her efforts! It didn't go down well but she was entirely happy when I gave her the full 20 rupee asking price!!! I, on the other hand, caught flack for the rest of the day for being a tightwad!
We had asked if the driver could find us a Hindu temple to have a look in and we'd all taken trousers, long sleeved coverups etc and when we stopped at a beautiful temple in the middle of nowhere, our guide said "don't worry, wander in - as long as you take your shoes off outside". A fantastic beautifully decorated building apparently filled twice a week with worshippers. Made all the more special, I think, when our driver went through his ritual and prayed there before showing us around...
Now, I've been to some really nice places in my life and I know there will hopefully be plenty more to follow but as of now, my new "most idyllic place on earth" spot is Agonda. Picture a sleepy resort behind a wide palm fringed white sand beach with big rollers coming in off the Arabian Sea. The sea is the warmest sea I have ever felt. At the back of the beach are very basic beach huts - probably without even electricity - for about 10 to 15 a night. Just take a suitcase full of good books with you and park there until you've finished them! Fantastic....[Jane: Sorry to make an adverse comment about Phil's idyll but the book says the beach shelves steeply and is not good for swimming - so if you're thinking of travelling here.............]
After that, we headed to Palolem for lunch and shopping!! (strangely, our taxi driver was fortunately able to point out his sister's shop). Wonderful minted chicken kebabs in a beachside shack washed down with a couple of Kingfishers (beers!). A(nother) beautiful white sand beach, this time littered with traditional Indian fishing boats (the ones with an outrigger on one side), many of which had been equipped with outboard motors for the tourists. Sadly, we didn't have time to do the 1400 rupee ((15) "sole charter" around the bay as it looked brilliant. I promised Sanjeev that when we go back, I WILL seek him out and give him my business - though I have no doubt that in practice, he'll see me as soon as I enter the village....
And to the shopping..... As you perhaps mostly know, shopping and I don't mix well but Jane on the other hand takes to it very easily.... It wasn't difficult for me to make a "token purchase" at our driver's sisters place but Jane did need some time to get her fix. She accumulated a little pile of goodies and between us we did what we needed to do and got 15 or 20% off the "very good price" that she'd been quoted. Happy overall.
Until, that is, the "solid silver" anklet that got it's first outing that evening was removed to reveal what I continue to believe are the tell tale signs of, well how can I put this, a fake!!! Jane persists in the belief that time will help in cleaning the "silver" and that all will be well. Time will tell......
A fantastic day only marred by the fact that one of us - I shan't tell you who - had a bit of dicky food that evening and the first dose of Delhi Belly is upon us.....
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Becks on

I hope the Delhi belly victim isn't you, Phil, and that either way it won't put you off sampling Long Eaton's finest "Indian Contemporary Cuisine" on 13th Dec...Plans falling in to place apace, so if you do actually make it back from the beautiful places you're visiting (even a vampire like me can appreciate such splendour in photos!) there will be tales a-plenty, by the sounds. Friday here - woo-hoo!!! xxx

Louise on

Wonderful to be following you on your to both xx

Jenny Gormley on

its great following your logxxx.

John on

Glad that you are having a great time. Sorry about the tummy trouble. From your previous report, I will have to walk down the Marine Parade!!! Saw the gang tonight, all is well here. x

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