After the madness of Thailand, I am now cocooned in the relative sanity of Goa,having arrived here last Wednesday after an overnight flight from Bangkok, which entailed a 5 hour wait in Mumbai (Bombay) domestic terminal for the connecting flight to Goa.
My chum Agnelo was at the airport to meet me and take me back to the family house for coffee and a chat with the family; my scooter was waiting, having been cleaned and serviced, so I rode it back to my apartment and Agnelo followed me in his taxi with my luggage.
I had a great last day on Koh Chang; a boat trip with my new French friends Benoit and Verginie……………..it was an all day trip, visiting 4 small islands for swimming and snorkeling, diving off of the boat into the translucent waters of the gulf of Thailand, and generally acting like small children; I came second in our 200 meter swimming race from the boat to the beach, soundly beaten by the forty year old Benoit, with the lovely Virginie a few meters behind me; mind you, Benoit cheated, adopting a frenetic, non-stop front-crawl all the way to the beach, whilst Vigrinie and I opted for the serenity of the more leisurely breast-stroke!
The trip necessitated a forty five minute ride from the Hotel to the fishing village that the boat left from (see photos on previous post)……….this ride was taken on the back of an open top pick-up truck, specifically converted for the purpose……………..great, on the way there, but on the way back, a rainstorm of immense proportions struck; I’m not sure if it was in anger or frustration, but after about five minutes and at forty miles an hour in the face of the driving rain, Virgine, bless her, decided to open her umbrella…………….quelle catastrophe; the storm continued for the entirety of the trip back to the Hotel and my shorts and tee shirt were still wet when I packed the next morning to bid au revoir à mes nouveaux amis and take the ferry and bus back to Bangkok.
It is good to be back in Goa, and see a few old winter friends; Rudolf arrived on the same day as myself and we met on the beach that day; we immediately resumed the friendship and humour that perpetuates between us and in no time at all were mocking each other mercilessly.
There has been one very notable change here, the government (Goan) has, in its infinite wisdom, decided to restrict every beach shack to a limit of 5 sun-beds outside of its physical construction…………….Zumbrai shack, where I spent most of my beach days last winter now has just 5 sun-beds compared with about 35 last year; understandably, they are not reserving beds for regulars, so it is get there at 8 o clock if you want a bed and parasol (also restricted to 5 per shack)………….. this restriction is apparently to stop sun-beds overcrowding the beach, which I believe is happening in Calangute and Candolim in north Goa; here in the south however, with the beach being over 20 miles long with a huge intertidal zone that exposes millions of square miles of sand, the implementation of such restrictions is at best, absurd…………….most shacks would normally have 20/30 beds, with some like the Mahal, having upwards of 40…………..this is of course, brilliantly and archetypically the Indian way, why use a small knife to peel a potato when you can use a huge disemboweling cutlass?
There are a few notable exceptions to these restrictions, Castello’s for example is under the same ownership as the “Coco Huts” behind it, which apparently allows them to have about 15 beds……………Rex’s Place is on land owned by the Church, so has permission for 20 or more, but a daily confessional is de rigour if you want to lie on one of their beds! …………….Hawaii has 20+ and their excuse is that the land is privately owned; so, as you can imagine, it is all very confusing but the restrictions are being implemented rigorously…………Rudolf and I have set up camp at Castello’s, where Manos, who I have known for a few years has agreed to save us both a sun-bed every day.
I have my local phone up and running and I have a new dongle for internet connection; unfortunately, my mac book laptop is not very good friends with the dongle and my connection is unbearably slow…………..it prevents me from uploading any photos to the blog, so a few more snaps from Thailand will have to wait until I can organize a decent wi-fi connection somewhere……………………..