Hope this finds you all well.
I’ve been out here for almost a week now and all is well, no big surprises for me so far.
I have spent the last week getting used to life in India and exploring the local areas and Patnem, Canacona and Palolem beach. I feel I have been quite fortunate with the weather so far as this is the end of the rainy season and before the tourist season really kicks off in November, so far it’s been hot and in the low 30s each day and although it’s been common to hear thunder in the afternoons around 4 o’clock the only rain so far was very early this morning when it poured down for a few hours but it had stopped by about 8 this morning just in time to venture out to find somewhere new for breakfast.
I feel that I am still being a little bit cautious when it comes to trying different places to eat out here but have now probably tried 5 or 6 different places so far without any problems, which is more than I can say for my next door neighbour here who has spent most of the week being sick which could be heard quite clearly though the walls, fortunately he has a friend here who would check in on him on a regular basis and also some of the locals would see if he was ok and I believe gave him some medication to help him, the locals around us are very friendly and like to see photos of our family back home and show us photos of theirs.
I must say that I am pleased that I decided to stay here in the end although it is basic it has everything that I need to be comfortable such as decent size bed with mosquito net ( mosquitoes haven’t been that bad and only had about 5 or six bites so far, I’ve seen much much worse in Canada and the States ) the room also has a good ceiling fan, good electrics ( goes out occasionally but not for long ) and a shower ( not hot but not cold either ) and a proper toilet rather than a stand up one that are common in some places here. Also being just a few paces from the beach is nice which is what I wanted for the 1st month here in India.
The locals here have been very busy putting up the beach huts and accommodation in anticipation of the start of the tourist season next month, nearly all the main structures are finished and it looks like there just finishing off the insides and getting mattresses in now, there is some concern amongst them that the collapse of the tour operator Thomas Cook will affect the numbers this year. So far the numbers each day seems to be increasing steadily, most people arriving now seem to be regulars that know where they want to stay or just fly out and find somewhere when they get here, which doesn’t seem to be a problem and nearly all the locals speak English so communication isn’t a problem.
One thing I have been pleased about since getting here is that I have lots of time and not in a rush to get things done as it can take a long time to complete a seemingly simple task such as buy an Indian SIM card which was about an hours walk into Canacona ( which was ok as I love walking around and seeing things and meeting people anyway) and about 3 hours in the shop which involved taking numerous photos, photocopying passport and background checks and then waiting for phone to connect to service but the people in the shop were very friendly and helpful.
The next day I went back into Canacona to find the Post office ( Google maps works well here ) to post a small present to my daughter ( small locally made ( by a woman by the name of “Arty” ) a notebook and small Ganesh ornament ( Hindu god representing remover of obstacles and good fortune ) upon finding the post office I realised that they didn’t sell anything that I could wrap it in so needed to find somewhere to buy something, I managed to find a general store eventually that sold large envelopes and sellotape so then returned to the post office to package it up and after initially joining the wrong line was pointed to the right one and after about 45 mins or so reached the front and was helped though the process of posting something back to the UK,
I’ve found the Indian people here very friendly, helpful and laid back, no one seems to get stressed about anything ( not sure if this is just Goa or the rest of India but I will find out ) all in all it took me about 4 hours to post a small parcel but I see it as all part of the experience that is India. On the way back to Patnem I decided to take a detour down to the railway station to enquire about the train to Cochin in Kerala for when I go next month, when I got there I at first tried to decipher the time table on the wall but couldn’t make out if there was a direct train or if and where I needed to change so got in line behind another British couple who wanted to book a train for the next day, they were told they couldn’t but to just turn up the next day, when I got to the counter I think I confused the guy as to what I was asking as he started asking if I wanted air conditioning but managed to at least find out that I did need to change trains and the journey would be about 14 hours, the couple that were in front of me had heard my enquiry and had just come from Cochin and were able to confirm where to change trains and offer advice on the ferry to Fort Cochin and to try and use Uber to get around when there.
The train station interaction got me thinking about the air conditioning question and reminded me of the time in the 80s when I traveled from Belize to Cancun and upon getting to Chetumal bus station decided to take which must of been 3td class ( cattle class ) to Cancun, because it was cheaper, if I had known before hand that it would take 12 hours ( because it detoured in every coastal village along the way ) instead of 4 hours for air conditioned luxury, I would of gone for air conditioning. The start from Chetumal was ok just a bit hot and uncomfortable from metal seats but within a couple of hours I had a goat on my lap and chickens flapping around in the luggage rack above me, I eventually give up my seat ( to the goat, ( Mexican goats are extremely bony ) and realized why the Mexicans preferred to stand ( in was more comfortable and the chickens would shit on anything below ) but that another time and I was 40 years younger and although I would never change anything about that trip I think I’ll go with air conditioning in trains here when available.
The last couple of days I found my way over to Palolem beach via a path which seemed to short cut though jungle, Palolem was much busier than Patnem with vendors trying to sell their wears or trying to convince you to go for a boat ride but they were much more polite and less aggressive than some places I’ve been previously and a polite thanks but no thank you was enough and they would wish you a good day. But I’m pleased that I picked Patnem over Palolem as it is much more laid back and less busy.
I’ve also trying to keep fairly active and apart from the walking have managed a few short runs along the beach ( not to sure about running on the roads here yet ! ) which I will build up and also done a little bit of yoga but classes don’t seem to of got going yet and I’ve found the beach is good at one end to practice some Tai Chi foundation moves ( my Tai Chi isn’t good enough to work though a set yet )
So my experience so for of Goa and India has definitely been favourable and I’m absolutely loving the food here ( I’ve always been a big fan of Indian food and anything spicy )
I didn’t think I had too much to put into my blog in the few days since the last but it’s surprising what there is when you start thinking back.
I’m planning on updating about once a week and adding some photos to the media in between
Until next time. Take care