Monday, November 9, 2009
We flew to Goa from Aurangabad. Unfortunately there are no direct flights, so we had to fly back to Mumbai, and then catch a flight to Goa. Goa is a very thin and long state located on the Arabian Sea. It was colonized by Vasco da Gama in 1497 for the Portuguese and when India became a country it remained a possession of Portugal. It was only in 1961 that the Indian Army essentially took the state over making it a part of India.
Unusually for India the population is about 45 Percent Catholic, 45 Percent Hindu, 10 Percent Muslim and others. In the 60’s it was a hippy paradise, lots of pot, beautiful beaches, laid back life style, extremely picturesque villages and jungles. There are lots of old houses with Portuguese architecture and historic churches. We aren’t big on historic churches. Apparently nothing has changed much. It still is laid back, partying kind of place. We were met by our guide, who was so laid back he didn’t help us with our luggage. He started to explain what we were to do, and was totally inflexible. All of our previous guides have been great. We were very disappointed and knew it wouldn’t work out with him.
We arrived at a historic mansion that has been restored. They took us upstairs to two gigantic suites. Huge rooms with high ceilings, antique furniture and immense bathroom. It was a perfect restoration of a 400 year old house, so perfect that apparently 400 years ago they didn’t have air-conditioning. Our rooms were very hot. It was nearly 100 and the humidity was very high. We were drenched with sweat. There was no way we could stay in these charming, historic and insanely hot rooms. We called our contact for the tour and basically said, enough with charming historic, we want air-conditioning. Roughing it wasn’t in our plan. The internet is very spotty here and I won’t be able to blog. The windows were interesting, they stack mother of pearl from abalone or oyster shells between slats, if makes a translucent water proof barrier. We also contacted Kashmera, who said she would try and find us someplace to stay.
A coupe of minutes later the woman who runs the place, came up to us and said what if I moved you into air-conditioned rooms? We checked it out, and they did have two nice rooms with AC. We had no idea that they did. It was just the front suites that didn’t have AC. All is well that ends well. They have a general purpose, driver and man that knows Goa extremely well, as one of their many employees. (the staff to guest ratio must be about 4 to 1). His name is Alex and he is great. He makes anything happen, like a bottle of cold wine and the best cashews we have ever eaten. Speaking of cashews they grow all over Goa. Bizarre nut, the cashew tree grows a fruit that is the size of a pair, at the bottom of the fruit is the cashew nut, it is on the outside of the fruit not like a pit. They also make a very strong liqueur from it called Feni.
Alex drove us to a seafood restaurant by one of the beaches. Everywhere there are seafood restaurants. Goa reminds us of a tropical island, in fact we keep thinking we are on an island. It is very tropical with tons of beaches. At the restaurant we ate on an open veranda eating lobster, shrimp and other dishes cooked in typical Goan fashion. After dinner we took a walk on the beach. It was lightly raining and yet it was fun to walk in the warm rain, I forgot what that was like. When it rains in LA you don’t want to be out in it, it is very cold not like Goa. We returned to our air-conditioned rooms. Tomorrow we see Kashmera perform.