Final days at Patnem

Trip Start Nov 11, 2011
Trip End Dec 03, 2011

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Flag of India  , Goa,
Friday, December 2, 2011

Really glad we decided to move to Patnem, the last few days have been
just what we needed to end our lovely little trip with. This is the
Goa we wanted to find.
Mickys bar at the far end of Patnem afforded us the chance to
entertain ourselves during the hot mid afternoon by hiding away in
their shade and using their guitar to entertain ourselves. As a result
we got ourselves a gig there which we played last night.
Bumping into an ex pat Gary there who had shown us around The Hidden
Gourmet which sits near Mickys by the rocks (and which was way out of
our price range, probably due to being the best place on tripadvisor)
we exchanged musical influences and philosophy and learned a bit more
about the substantial ex pat community out here. It seems there are a
lot of arty and muscician types out here who come to hone their craft
during the British winter.
Later Wednesday night we found ourselves at the very far end of
Pallolem beach. Having to cross the bay which nestles in between the
two locations (and which hosts some cosy looking but quiet restaurant,
affirming the fact that the season is only really beginning here) we
used our torch to navigate a rather hidden shortcut which saved us at
least 15 minutes walk. We felt brave in the dark with all the creepy
crawlies and dogs but they turned out to be no real threat. 

At the far end of Pallolem sits Rock It Bar where Rocky and 'The Hobo' host the
third of their live music nights. We'd been invited down again and
were pleased to find a very nice crowd there, all say out on the beach
and a well lit decent stage with an adequate sound system. Coupled
with a very nice guitar lent to my by another performer Stuart we had
a great set up. However, something in the air wasn't right with me and
I didn't get into the show as much as the night before but Amy thought
it one of our better ones.
Our walk back was interesting, chatting with German friends we'd met,
a very mature guy and girl who weren't together but were travelling
their gap year. I definately didn't feel like I was chatting with folk
nearly half my age and either their 8 weeks or so in India had matured
them very quickly or they were matured beyond their time through
nurture? Impressive.
Next day was focussed around getting to Galgibag, aka Turtle Beach.
This place was a wildlife reserve as turtles nest there and as a
result there is very little development allowed at this beach. The
chef at Home restaurant and accomodation on Patnem said it was where
he and his wife went to chill out when they had a day off which was
good enough for us so we hired a scooter for the day (Rs 200) and with
2litres of fuel in the tank we were free to explore.
With a rough map we tried to find our way and things seemed to go
pretty well, most of the directions seemed to follow and after about
20 minutes we found a beach which we assumed was it. On finding a
solitary restaurant there we asked the proprierters if this was it to
which they said it was and showed us in to their humble cafe. We said
we'd eat later and went onto the beach which we were disappointed to
find had very little shade. As the afternoon progressed what shade we
did find disappeared and we admitted defeat and headed to the
restaurant where we were sat next to a German family enjoying lunch.
After I scolded their child for abusing the local dog we began
chatting and the head of the family turned out to be an interesting
highly intellectual man who had lived in India for 7 years and married
a local. He could talk with a great intensity and after two hours I
was exhasuted and made my excuses to leave. As we were heading off his
parents accosted us and with a German accent said matter of factly
'You know that Turtle Beach is the next beach along, this isn't it?'.
It was late afternoon by now and we were due to play a set at Mickys
bar that evening but we chanced it and went for a look. When we got
there we were somewhat disappointed to find it was very nice, with
more shade and two or three eateries with much better menus than where
we'd been and hammocks to chill in. After a swim we went to check out
Surya Beach Cafe which claimed to be recommended by Gordon Ramsey. The
owner soon recounted the tale of him coming to Pallolem whilst on
holiday and not liking it for the same reasons as us and his arrival
at Surya restaurant where he tried the Goan Oysters which to be fair
is the only place in Goa I had seen Oysters on sale. I took it with a
pinch of salt but we decided to order the oysters anyway and they were
very nice indeed.
After a scare where I discovered I had dropped the keys for the bike
somewhere and the locals came good and returned them to me as we began
to panic we headed home. Somehow I took us a different way home which
took twice as long so it was a bit of a rush to get ready for our
Over three hours of live entertainment was booked with many different
acts each getting around half and hour. As we were an unknown quantity
to the organiser he put us on fairly early, around just after 8pm. The
stage was small and there was only one mic. Also the guitar was
distorting through the PA meaning I had to play really gentle. Anyone
who knows my guitar style would realise this took a lot of
concentration for me but I managed to pull it off and I think we
played just about the most dynamic show of our holiday. Sharing a mic
with Amy was interesting too and we both agreed it was better with
two. However, what these musical experiences have taught me is that
having to cope with crappy equipment really pushes you to adapt and
grow to get the best out of what you have which is never a bad thing.
As it turned out Mickys menu was pretty uninspiring so we headed to
Casa Fiesta for dinner after our show, a sister restaurant to the one
at Pallolem. Various people had recommended this as being the best
restaurant on the beach and it didn't disappoint.
Checking out of our accomodation the next and final day of our trip we
spent today doing as little as possible, eating well and enjoying the
last of the sunshine. By the end of the afternoon we decided we should
round the trip off with a little adventure and hired a sea Kayak for
an hour as the sun was setting which Amy and I took out to the
peninsula and across to the other side of the bay. It was a lovely end
to a great trip in India.
Another dinner from Casa Fiesta sits in my belly as I write this from
Goa airport. Flight to Mumbai is in about half an hour and then around
4:30am Qatar airlines will take us back to Manchester... back to
reality... a reality which we will look back on India with great
further fondness and even more motivation to return and see more of
this amazing crazy country.
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