Back from Goa - tanned, tired and a new appreciatation for traffic lights!
I am bored with revision so thought I would start telling my tales from
It’s going to be a pretty long blog so I apologise in advance but hopefully you will enjoy it!! In the spirit of Adam's (PM's brother) blog I will tell you all about
Travel day. Luckily the fog had cleared and most flights were leaving Gatwick on time. After finally getting PM up we finished packing, woke Adam up and headed for the train station to get the train to Gatwick. When we arrived in Gatwick we took the monorail over to the North Terminal and set about finding out check in desk. When we got out of the lift on to the check in floor, it was chaos. There was a huge queue leading to the BA desks and we were having trouble finding ours. When we realised what zone we needed we had to go outside and push past all the people in the queue for the BA flights who were not very pleased with us. But when we reached one end and told the steward who we were flying with she quickly let us through the barrier and we proceeded to the check in desk where no one was waiting.
We were right at the end of the check in time and as a result we couldn't get seats together, only behind one another. I was half pleased as it meant I could get some college work done unhindered by either of the Marson boys but annoyed as if I did get bored I had no one to talk too or anyone to rest on in order to get some sleep.
After the security checks we popped to smiths and bought some playing cards which became a regular feature of the holiday. We then went to the pub to wait for our flight to be called. We finally boarded the plan just after half 4 and were airborne just after 5.
Now the last time I went on a long haul flight it was to America and I was ten and it was with Monarch who are not exactly know as a luxury airline so I was really taken aback by the little parcel on my seat along with a pillow and a blanket (yes small things and all but its the little things that count!!). In my little bag was a pair of airline socks, a travel toothbrush (very handy), travel toothpaste, earplugs, and some tissues. I had a TV in the back of the seat in front and a range of movies, TV programmes, radio stations, games and other things to keep me occupied. I always hear a lot of bad things about First Choice but I have to say that I was quite impressed with the service on the flights even if the seats are not the easiest things to sleep in!!
With a few hours of work under my belt I decided to try and sleep. I watched
8 hours and 40 minutes after we left Gatwick we arrived in
Ok, I’ll admit that I am naive. Having only ever travelled into western countries before I kind of forgot that some countries do not have the same values as us and I should have thought about this before I left. As a result I came out of the airport with my zip top zipped up in the boiling heat. As we left we were pounced upon by people who wanted to carry our bags. Adam put up a brave fight but eventually the porter won and took our bags to the coach. Rather annoying as we didn't have anything less that 50 rupees (it’s only about 60p but that's not the point - that is a lot of money to them! and we didn't want them to carry our bags or more to the point push them on the trolley). This put the boys in a bad mood from the off.
On the coach we were given a bottle of water (there is no drinking water in
After about an hour we arrived at our hotel and wandered over to reception to collect our keys. This time we successfully fought of the porters which I was glad of as our bungalow was only two doors away from the reception and would not have warranted 50 rupees. Adam set off to find his room whilst me and PM decided who was getting which bed (originally Adam and PM were sharing a room so we had a twin room rather than a double). We checked out the bathroom put the bags down and headed back to the bar to meet Carol (PM's mum) and get a beer (it was only 9am but it still felt like the middle of the night for us as back in England it was). Adam came and joined us. He wasn't too impressed with his room as the toilet wouldn't flush. On the way in from the coach, we realised that either the guide was out of date of things where different in Candolim as everyone was walking around in vest tops and shorts including a lot of the local women so the jumper was quickly ditched which was a relief as it was already scorching.
Whilst we waited for Carol a rather large elephant walked past. Apparently he is called Laxmi and he stands down by the beach every day whilst his owner charges people to take photos in order to make some money.
The average wage in
Once Carol joined us we had a beer and then walked down to the beach to Claudina's beach shack for some breakfast. Claudina's is run by a nice couple called Anthony and Tina Fernandez (If you don't already know
Once there we had our first curry of the holiday - for breakfast. I had Butter Garlic Chicken and PM had a Chicken Dopiaza. PM, Adam and I played a lot of cards (Sh*thead to be precise) before eventually heading back to sleep for a bit so we didn't cave early on the evenings Christmas festivities. It wasn't a very comfortable sleep as the mattress was pretty hard and I woke up a few times with a dead arm. I also only had one pillow which was pretty flat so had to rummage in my suitcase for a towel to use as extra padding. But we managed a few hours shut eye which made us feel more awake.
In the evening we went back to Claudina's for a buffet and live entertainment. The house band were brilliant covering loads of Western hits including an amazing rendition of Sultans of Swing and also some excellent native songs which went down well with everyone. We also were entertained by a fire juggler and an evil looking dancing Santa Claus. Adam bailed out early as he hadn't managed to get any sleep during the afternoon. Me and PM carried on for a while longer, having a walk along the beach and then taking in the fireworks as it turned . A few more cocktails later and after the house band had finished we headed back to our room in order to get some sleep in preparation for the following day.
Christmas day. I have to admit that it doesn't feel like Christmas when it is 35 degrees, sunny and on a beach! I shouldn't complain I know. We didn't do much today as we didn't wake up until midday after staying up and playing cards until 4am (11pm back home). When we did eventually arise, we headed down to the beach for breakfast.
We had a lazy day and spent most of the day on the beach taking in the sun. The boys played some cricket with some of the locals while I was sussing out what the cow who walked past me on the beach was thinking. Me and PM also spoke to a man from
Once the sun had gone in we wandered back to the room and jumped in the shower before heading out to a place called Inferno's for dinner. The food was lush although it did take ages for it arrive. It was also quite filling and I struggled to finish my Shark tikka.
We were still pretty tired by the end of the meal so headed back to the room to sleep as we had a long day ahead of us on Tuesday as we were meeting up with PM's friends Kris and Marit.
This morning we were up bright and early (well 11am but I was awake from due to the construction work taking place across the path from us) to travel down to Margao to meet up with Kris and Marit.
We managed to get a taxi for £10 to take us the hour and a bit journey to Margao train station. We arrived and Kris and Marit were already there. After saying our hellos we jumped in another cab (who charged us 20 rupees extra just for having hand luggage - cheeky gits) to Colva beach.
Colva is clearly a desired destination of many of the locals as the beach was teeming with people celebrating the Christmas period. I don't think it was a national holiday but as there are a lot of Christians in
After being closed in slightly we headed back to the beach and sat down while the boys headed into the water with the frisbee. A lot of frisbee action later, we packed away the sarongs and beach wear and headed down the beach in search of food. We eventually settled on a shack where PM had his first vindaloo of the holiday and I had a chicken sizzler which was a sweet and sour based concoction in a cabbage leaf. Very tasty!
Once we had finished dinner we headed back to where the taxi had dropped us off to get a cab back to Margao bus station. The taxi ride was certainly eventful. The car was extremely old and I was concerned at the fact that the bonnet was up when we got in and the driver was putting water in! It didn't sound very healthy. We had to cram the four of us on the back seat as a woman was sitting in the front. A few minutes later and the driver set off. A few hundred yards down the road he picked up two more men who crammed into the front with the woman and the driver. Most amusing.
Arriving at Margao bus station in one piece, Kris and Marit jumped on a bus to head back south to their beach hut whist we found the bus that was going to Panjim, the capital of
It cost us 15 rupees to get back to Panjim which is about 25p. When we got to Panjim we decided to get a taxi as Adam was waiting for us to return so he could use the shower. When we returned I went to get in the shower only to be greeted by a rather large cockroach sitting just above the shower. I asked PM to get rid of it but suffering an attack of conscience he decided that he didn't want to kill it. A quick text to Adam offering him first dibs on the shower in return for getting rid of the cockroach resulted in a longer wait for the shower for me but an insect free one!
In the evening we went along to the Sports Bar to watch some football (Manchester United were playing but can't remember who they were against). Carol and Sam were there waiting for their dinner to arrive. After the first half and half way through the second, we decided to head off to the Italian place up the road for food as Carol and Sam's still hadn't arrived! Just as we left their food began to arrive.
The Italian place called Roma was lush and certainly provided a romantic setting for the meal. We had some garlic bread followed by a ham and mushroom pizza and a chicken pizza. The meal was really nice and it was a shame we didn't get a chance to go back there later in the week. We headed back to the sports bar for a little while after. Adam had left but Sam and Carol were still there with some of their friends. We watched the end of the first half of Arsenal's game before heading back as the wedding was the following day so a good night’s sleep was needed.
The day of the wedding was upon us. We were woken in the morning initially by the building work at and then again at by Adam knocking on the door to use the shower. PM stayed in bed whilst I got up to go to the beach and have some breakfast.
Adam joined me not long after to tell me that Kris and Marit had arrived and they were heading down to the beach with PM. After breakfast, we headed down the beach towards the sea. We grabbed some sun beds and headed into the water. It was pretty crowded so me and Marit decided to play in the waves which were being created by the jet skis and with the frisbee. I was getting to grips with jumping over the waves, unsuccessfully a lot of the time, whilst Marit decided to wave surf. She soon regretted it after landing on the beach with a bikini malfunction! We swam for a while longer and eventually the boys joined us to play frisbee. It wasn't very easy though as the water was pretty crowded and the odd random frisbee throw had a habit of hitting someone in the head.
Eventually we got out of the water and headed back up to Claudina's for a quick drink before getting ready for the wedding. Once back and showered, I am pleased to report that the dress actually fitted although the straps were a little tight across my shoulders. Hair finished and make up done, we wandered up to the hotel we were meeting the rest of the wedding party at.
After negotiating a cab we headed for the beach in the South for the wedding service. We got there just after 4 and the wedding service was due to start around half 5. PM and Adam changed into their smart trousers while Kris decided that he wanted to go for a swim before the service as the beach was deserted and it was beautiful.
After only walking in a short way, Kris dived into the water. He soon came back out clutching his head. It turned out the water wasn't quite as deep as he first thought when he dived in and as a result he had lost a 50p sized clump of hair from his head and his scalp was grazed from hitting the sand. Sore it looked so anymore frolicking in the sea was postponed and we headed back up to the bar where everyone else was waiting for the ceremony to begin.
Kris and Marit retreated to the hammocks while me and PM took in the scenery. Half five rolled round quickly. Carol emerged in here dress (which was beautiful!) and everyone walked down to the chairs that were set out in the sand ready for the ceremony.
The ceremony began and Me and PM were confused at first as the priest type bloke kept referring to Sam as Simon (it transpired later that is actually Sam's real name but everyone calls him Sam). Sarah was Sam's best woman and she later handed over the rings (getting wet in the process from the holy water the priest type guy was throwing over Sarah, Sam and Carol). Then the priest type guy said the words I now pronounce you husband and wife and it was off for the pictures and the cake!
Whilst everyone was being snap happy, two Army personnel wandered over to see what was going on. Realising it was a wedding they quickly joined in a lot of the photos with the bride and groom and with Adam and PM, and they had some cake too. The photos carried on until the sun had pretty much disappeared. Afterwards we headed back to the bar to have a quick drink and a few games of Sh*thead before heading back to Candolim for drinks.
We got in our cab and headed back to our room to change. I needed to as my shoulders were hurting from the straps cutting in. When I got back and took off the dress I was surprised to find it was a size 10! I am most impressed how I managed to fit into it bearing in mind I have long since accepted that I am no longer a size 10 and I am a size 12 again! At least it has given me hope that I will eventually be able to fit back into the clothes in my wardrobe that I am not yet willing to give up, namely my Miss Sixty Jeans and my firetrap ones!
Anyway, I digress. Changed, we headed to the Indian restaurant at the end of the path to our room for dinner. There I saw a rather large beetle and a gecko (they are so cute!!). Once we had finished dinner which took a little longer than anticipated, we headed down to Claudina's to join the rest of the wedding party.
On arrival we grabbed drinks (I rediscovered Cranberry Breezers on this night - I had forgotten how good they were!) and sat down and chatted to Sam and Carol for a while. They had saved us some champagne which I ended up downing in a game of Sh*thead - more on that in a bit. After Sam and Carol had their first dance me and Adam started discussing politics and a few other topics which we debated thoroughly until eventually we all decided to move to another table to play more cards.
We decided to make this round of Sh*thead a drinking game. We began with fingers of drink which quickly turned to shots, or more to the point, shots of Feni, one of the local liqueurs. Kris was the first to lose and down a shot and Adam fell victim shortly after. He didn't look too great after that. I was next to lose but I couldn't bring myself to do a shot of Feni. The smell of it was turning my stomach. Those of you who were at the infamous sambuca up nose through straw party will know that I have never been able to handle my shots since. Instead I opted to down my champagne. Not sure if that was the smartest alternative as my legs went wobbly and I didn't feel too great after but I managed to persevere.
The bar was closing for the night so we headed back to our room to play more cards. We took back a bottle of port wine to continue the drinking games. Once back we played more cards until eventually we called it a day and went to sleep. PM and Kris took to the floor whilst Marit took PM's bed and I stuck with mine.
After a little bit of a lie in, we got up in the morning and decided to spend the day and night with Kris and Marit in Vagator further north up the coast.
We headed down to Claudina's for breakfast, gave Adam the keys for the room so he could use the shower and set off for Vagator. We arrived early in the afternoon and began the search of a room to stay in for the night. The first place we visited called Cafe De Mar had beach huts but only one available for the night. Ok for us but Kris and Marit needed something for a few more nights. We wandered down the roads in search of somewhere to stay with little success. Eventually we found somewhere with two rooms free but they didn't rent rooms out for one night only. Kris and Marit took the room and we headed back to the original place.
Unfortunately when we went back "The Boss" had gone out for the afternoon and we would have to wait until he came back in order to book the room for the night. So we headed down to the beach to wait. We had a drink in the bar at the bottom of the hill first before wandering over to the beach. We sat down near a heard of cows and some rocks where there were rock pools with lots of crabs and fish hiding in them.
Me and Marit went into the see while the boys sat on the beach guarding our stuff. We could see from the sea that the boys were being harassed by sellers so we held off getting out for as long as possible. Eventually though we went back to the bags and the boys headed off into the water. I was aware that you get a lot of sellers on the Beach in
The boss had returned so we had a look at the room which was pretty luxurious for a beach hut. We took the keys and I went back down to the beach to get PM so we could get ready and head out for the night. We showered to get rid of the salty water from swimming in the sea and started to get ready. When I came out of the shower and we had found all the light switches I noticed that we were not alone in the room. In the corner were the bathroom met the outer wall was a huge cricket. Not wanting to disturb our friend I opted to get ready as far away from him as possible and leave him in the hope he was gone by the time we got back.
We met up with Kris and Marit at about half 7 and wandered down to a Korean restaurant we had noticed earlier when we were wandering around looking for a room. It was pretty authentic and we had to remove our shoes when we entered. The tables were low and the seating was provided by some large cushions. This wasn't a problem for me as my yoga training came in handy. To begin with I had a lemon tea which was out of this world. It was similar to hot cloudy lemonade with fresh pieces of lemon and lime in it. Whilst we waited for our food we played some more Sh*thead until we had a power cut. Once the waiter had brought over another candle we continued.
The food was lovely although I cannot remember what it was called. All I remember is that it was chicken marinated in soy sauce. We were given slices of pineapple after which went down a treat. Once we had paid we headed back into the centre of Vagator (which was pretty much just one street) and toward the Nine Bar where we were hoping to dance the rest of the night away. Unfortunately it was half nine when we got there and the place was shutting at so they were not letting anymore people in. So we headed down an interesting path in the hill down to the beach. Everything down there was also closed or closing so we wandered along the beach until we found the bar at the end of the path from our hut. We cut through to get to the bar at the top of the hill next to the huts to finish the night off. As we cut through the owners were sleeping on the floor and I think we woke them as we wandered through - oopps!
We pitched up on one of the seating areas looking out into the bay. We ordered some drinks and sat listening to the music looking out at the moonlit bay. Eventually Kris and PM got peckish so ordered pancakes. Unfortunately the nice Korean bloke who had taken our order had got confused so we ended up with two honey pancakes and a banana one as well. I helped with one of the honey ones but PM polished off the rest as well as the banana one. They were both lovely but I was still feeling full from the Korean food. The guy was very pleased when we asked to pass on our comments to the chef.
We carried on drinking for a while longer. The cricket was still in our hut so Kris got rid of it. It was a smart cricket as rather than being squashed he kindly got onto a flip flop and hopped outside once Kris had taken him out. Soon after we decided to hit the sack as everyone was feeling really tired.
Luckily we had a mosquito net to protect us from the wildlife overnight but sadly it didn’t protect us from the noise. Eventually the sounds of the waves took precedence over the sounds of crickets and dogs but then I was woken by a certain Pocket Monster kicking me in the back. At some point though I did fall asleep but I didn’t quite catch up on the sleep I had missed out on the previous nights.
We got up around and sat outside our hut for a while taking in the sites. We didn’t have to be out until so we wanted to make the most of the last hour. Eventually though we had to pack our bags and leave.
We met up with Kris and Marit and started their search for some accommodation to take them over the new year period. We wandered around for a while. We found somewhere to have breakfast and then continued the search in Chappora, the next town up from Vagator. Eventually after being followed by a cow we found somewhere that was cheap and they could stay in until the 2nd January.
We decided to head off to Anjuna beach after by getting the bus. We were the only ones on it this time. Anjuna beach is infamous for its beach parties and moonlit raves. It was a lot busier than Vagator and there were a lot of market stalls which took my interest.
After we wandered through the market we came to the beach. We walked along for a while before setting our stuff down and heading into the sea. There were a lot of rocks in the sea bed so me and Marit wandered along until we found somewhere a little safer. Seeing that we were looking for somewhere less rocky, a few of the local men took me and Marit by the hand and dragged us into the sea. Eventually I managed to get my hand back and we opted to go back to the shore and sit down with our ‘husbands’.
Wanting a drink we headed down the beach to where we could hear some trance music playing. Eventually we arrived at the bar and sat down looking out the sea. It was quite busy down where we were but we didn’t mind. A few beers and some fun in the water later, the sun began to set. A man next to us in Speedos was taking in the music and wandering around dancing with a straw hat on and a purple sarong. He provided us with a lot of entertainment.
As the sun set we, sorry, I carried on dancing until the sun had disappeared. We then wandered back through the market and caught a tuk tuk back to Candolim.
Once we got back we found Adam to get our key back and showered and got ready for the night. We were meeting Sam and Carol for dinner. We went to a place called the Green Jacket where I had King Fish which was lush. It’s a nice white fish with a similar texture to the Zander I had in
After dinner we retreated back to our room to play some more cards. Whilst playing, Adam started to fall asleep on my bed and we had to keep hitting him when it was his turn. The git still won despite being asleep. Sadly we didn’t take full advantage of his sleepy state so no funny photos as a result. Oh well. We hit the sack as our last day was fast approaching and we had a lot of shopping to do!
Our last day was upon us. We got up in the morning and headed down to Claudina’s and the beach. We played in the sea for one last time and then headed back to the room to get washed and showered. We grabbed Adam and then headed back into Anjuna to visit the market and say our farewells to Kris and Marit.
The market proved some hard bargaining but we managed to get a few nice bits of jewellery. We found Kris and Marit at the same place we were at the day before along with the guy in his Speedos with the straw hat and purple sarong dancing along the beach. After a quick drink we said our goodbyes, wandered back along the beach, bought some CD’s and a few other bits and then jumped into a cab back to Candolim.
Unfortunately the traffic was a bit of a nightmare on the way back and we soon hit a massive traffic jam. They don’t have traffic lights or a right of way from I could see in
On the alternative route we had the unfortunate pleasure of seeing the aftermath of a motorbike accident. Hardly anyone wears helmets and the unfortunate guy we saw wasn’t wearing one. I doubt he made it as an Ambulance would not be able to get through the traffic and the nearest hospital was miles away. It certainly makes you thankful for daft things like traffic laws and the NHS.
Once we arrived back in Candolim we met up with Sam and Carol and headed to a restaurant for dinner. Both myself, PM and Adam hadn’t finished our gift shopping and we were itching to get back to the shops. Whilst we were waiting for our main course I headed to one of the silver shops with Sarah. I managed to get some silver toes rings. After dinner we headed back down there and bought a few more gifts. We got some more gifts from the wood shop and another of the jewellery shops and eventually we headed back to our room to pack! By this point it was nearly and we had to get up at to get the coach back to the airport for our flight.
After packing, we crawled into bed at around for a few hours sleep.
This was the beginning of a very long day. Up at , we got dressed and headed out to reception to catch the coach back to the airport. Luckily when we arrived at the airport we were not mobbed by the stewards to take our bags. It took a while to get our bags checked in and then get through customs. Once through we checked out the duty free shop and then sat down and played more cards. I lost count as to who was the overall winner but I think it was pretty close between all three of us in the end.
The flight was slightly delayed but we boarded and set off back to Gatwick. The flight on the way home was much longer than the outbound journey. But a few films later including Cars and John Tucker Must Die, we had a slightly bumpy journey back into Gatwick and landed just after 3.30pm local time (9pm in Goa).
After getting our bags back we headed to the transit and the south terminal to catch a train back to Streatham. We were back here at but the fun didn’t stop there as we had a party to get to and Adam had a train to catch. So a shower and a pizza later we were back on the road heading to Wycombe.
We arrived at the station in Wycombe at and bid farewell to Adam as he got his train back to Banbury to start his marathon New Years eve jaunt. We pulled up at Tash’s and had a cup of coffee. Soon we were getting ready for the James Bond themed party at PM’s mate Gav’s place.
The party was brilliant although I was shattered and not my usual chatty self. Gav had kitted his place out and it looked amazing. We managed to make it to but then I had to go back to Tash’s and sleep.
So there you have it! Over 6000 words!! Sorry for making you read the equivalent of a dissertation. I hope you all find it interesting. I am sure I have missed lots of it out and I am really sorry there are no photos just yet. PM is working on them but hopefully I will have a link to them soon.
I will update the blog again soon with what I have been doing since we returned from New Years Eve!!