Saturday 29 February 2020

A very buckety day

We are well settled into our life in Agonda - the sun is hot (34-36 degrees most days,) the iced coffee is good and the gin still tastes like ethanol and burns the whole way down. Wonderful. 

Whilst we have been here we have taken the chance to unwind, and also visit a couple of the local towns. Nearest to us is Palolem, which is far busier than Agonda, but as a result has a little more of a vibe and many more shops. It also means most of the restaurants are rubbish and that beggars are allowed to do their thing along the road side. I also once had a wee in an actual hole there. So you know, take it at face value. 

(It was labelled as a toilet, I didn’t just find a hole.)

That being said, Palolem is a tourist town, and the nearest local town to us is Chaudi. It is a local town in every way, and I vividly remember heading here back in 2010 and being terrified. There are many wonderful sights and smells here, including road side tattooing, live chicken shops (then killed fresh for you), and small children pulling at your skirt with desperate hands outstretched and sad eyes.

But don’t ever let this put you off if you get the chance to visit. Every now and again they have an amazing market, full of all wonderful things and tat you’d never want in equal measure - (last month Bertie and I bought the worst bat and ball known to man) - it also has loads of useful things like chemists where you just walk up and explain your ailments and they thrust packets of 30p painkillers at you. I always stock up on the cold and flu medicine whilst I’m here - they give you the good shit. 

(In 2010, Bertie and I bought sleeping tablets from a Chaudi pharmacy for the plane on the way back. The whole flight passed in a blur, but we both woke up covered in a mixture of each other’s dribble, with everyone on the plane shooting daggers at us. From what I understand, Bertie’s snoring was catastrophic, and I have a tendency to fart relentlessly when at altitude. I imagine I was less capable of being discreet when completely passed out.)

(Don’t you dare tell me you guys don’t fart at altitude too. Have you seen what happens to plastic bottles on planes? That’s what’s going on in your insides. A fart is a helpless by-product of some serious organ squishing.)

Anyway, despite trying to relax, there’s already been the most ridiculous evening - we went to buy a softly tinted bulb for our room as the one we have been given is quite stark. We chose a soft green hue from the corner shop (that I have consistently referred to as “Tesco”, and I’m very pleased to say it caught on between all our friends,) and as the evening fell last night, Bertie borrowed a chair from the restaurant to plug it in. Imagine our joy when it turned out to be a DISCO BULB. Our hut looked like some kind of ravers dream. We thought it was the best thing ever. Until bedtime, at least. 

It turns out the disco bulb didn’t like being turned off, and continued to sullenly flash lime green and blue light relentlessly. We (being both naked and already in bed) furiously ignored this, whilst also trying to ignore the increasing dog howls happening outside our window. This went on for two hours. 

It turns out the dogs REALLY don’t like endless green and blue flashings. I thought they were colourblind. Apparently not. 

After mutually agreeing that we needed to remove the bulb, but also not wanting to leave the room to get the chair; I suggested standing on the bathroom bucket - often used for bum washing, if you’re that way inclined. 

Well, my lovely readers, Bertie went straight through that bucket like a hot knife through butter. However, all credit to him, he did manage to take the bulb down at the same time. 

So that’s how today we ended up in Chaudi, buying a new bucket, and trying to work out how we explain to the owner what happened to the old one. 

Its only been four days! 

Wednesday 26 February 2020

Getting to Goa - the second time around!

Hi all! 

It’s been a little dry on the blogging front - mainly because I’ve been working my ass off trying to get as much money as possible as.... we’ve come back to Goa! 

This time around though we are back for longer, and therefore doing it on a budget! I thought it may be useful to see a different side to our travels, and any tips I pick up on the way. 

Firstly, we opted for a different route here. Having mainly travelled to goa via Mumbai/Delhi on British airways, we decided to give Qatar a try. Apparently they won airline of the year, and their flight pattern is completely different. You can redeem your air miles with any oneworld alliance partner, so everything was all good there when it came to spending the airmiles that Bertie had accured during touring. 

This trip broke down the flight time drastically. Don’t get me wrong, you’re still travelling for over ten hours, but you’re doing it with a gap in the middle! 

Whereas BA fly you for 10 hours, with a 1 hour hop to Goa, Qatar fly you for 6 hours to Doha, and then a 3 hr 20 trip to Goa. Personally I preferred this way more, as just at the point you’re over being on a plane, you get a little break to stretch your legs, have a wee in a toilet that isn’t a coffin, and accidentally spend £18.99 on a Burger King (more on that later.)

We also flew economy, as Qatar doesn’t offer anything other than that, or business. No premium economy here! The seats were roomy enough, and we struck lucky that both times there was no third person on our row of three! 

The food was really good, offering a vegetarian egg free option which was perfect for me. Everything was delicious, save for a cold rice pudding-esque thing. Congealed cold lumpy cream is not my thing. They did give out Godiva chocolates for pudding though.

Doha airport is also really incredible, if a little expensive. There was a Harrods there. Also special nod to Burger King there for the most expensive whopper and chicken burger known to man. I also had absolutely no idea of their currency and how it relates to ours (totally my error) and when something is advertised as “38D” - I have absolutely no idea what that means unless it’s referring to breasts. They don’t serve bras at Burger King. 

Anyway, flight navigated, we met our amazing friend Raju at the airport, who took us safely to our home, arriving at 4:45am. Along the way he took great joy in naming every animal we passed - “Keli cow”, “Keli dog”, “Keli cat” - because the last time I was here I told him we named our pets and he thought that was the funniest thing ever. 

When we eventually grow up and get a dog, I will name him Raju. 

I spent the prior two days doing a lot of haggling over whatsapp to secure us a room without spending a fortune. I love a haggle, but the language barrier was a slight issue. Major points to the man who resorted to sending me voice notes. 

We wanted a hut completely on the beach this time, so we can open our doors wide and just be at one with the ocean. After talking to a lot of owners, we have come to stay at Omkar, which is just the right level of indulging my high maintenance sleep requests (comfortable mattress, aircon, duvet) and Bertie’s desire to basically live as Mowgli on the beach and refuse to shave whilst having cows lick his beard clean. 

As you can see, I’ve bought my cheeks on holiday with me. 

We are paying 2000 rupees a night for our hut which is roughly £20/night. Most places were quoting me 4500, before settling on 3000 after a haggle, so I feel I’ve got a good bargain here :) it’s also out of peak season, so there are more deals to be had if you put the effort in. If you aren’t a total diva, a concrete room, or a room off the beach will cost you around £7-10 a night. 

Bertie’s currently having a disco nap and I’m about to go for a swim, but I’ll try and keep this up - hopefully I’ll do a little better than last time!