Day 38: Panjim, Goa 6/11/11
Another sleepless night but we awake at seven to depart the busy, grubby, disappointing Baga. The bus we catch to Panjim is typically Indian – extremely busy, extremely hot, extremely sweaty, extremely cheap and extremely entertaining.
A half hour troop round Panjim with bags in search of a room sees my Kingfisher vest’s debut end in a soggy, sweaty mess. We find somewhere cheap, clean and comfortable and it turns out that the owner’s cousin is an MP in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. Small world.
Gemma still not 100% so we have a lazy day and watch a few films and pick up some comfort food and what seems to be the first fresh fruit of the trip. We have a little gander and discover that we are in a very nice part of town, with charming old Portuguese style colonial buildings, a huge waterfront and some friendly locals. Unusually for India almost every shop is shut on a Sunday, due to the mainly Catholic beliefs of the local area. We see goats and chickens outside the butchers looking smug. There are significantly fewer goats and no chickens on the way back.
Food in Panjim is unbelievably good value. A 70 rupee (90p) thali sees me with copious amounts of rice, poppadoms, three chapattis, chutneys, three veg dishes and dessert served on one big silver plate in smaller individual bowls. This predictably ends in a swollen belly and a headsweat but I think I know where we might go for dinner tomorrow…
Panjim, Goa 7/11/11
Finally slept! Gemma had been out for shower gel and odomos before I had even awoken. We went for lunch – roast pork noodles and a Bailey’s cake with added spiders for Gemma.
Took the bus to Old Goa. Another Indian bus ride – people, noise, etc. Some very old, impressive churches and religious monuments on show, including the remains of St Francis Xavier. Right up the street of some little Irish old ladies we know…
Whilst in Old Goa we take a visit to ‘Wax World’, which is a museum, art gallery and fun hall rolled into one apparently. Some incredibly poor wax works makes the entry fee worth every penny.
Head back to town for a new sim card (very difficult to get hold of), an India and a Mumbai Indians shirt and a Gemma finds us tickets (with free replica shirts) for Sporting Clube de Goa. I take a visit to the local gym next door and, pouring sweat, realise how long ago Globogym seems. Another thali for tea (cat sick chop suey for Gemma) and bed.
Panjim, Goa 8/11/11
A quiet morning and we then head to Dona Paula, where we are led to believe there are some nice beaches. We arrive to find not many beaches and thousands (exaggeration) of people. Some beautiful scenery and views over the coast and harbour so naturally people are very keen for some photos with us.
We take the bus up to Miramar (next village up) and find a really wide, sandy public beach. There are not many people there and we have a nice day on the sand. However, do not fancy the water due to the big ships coming very close to the shore and the amount of rubbish being washed up. I find a watch and restore it on the beach. Fancy myself in the watch industry.
Walk the 2 ½ miles back to Panjim and pass lots of sports fields and cricket pitches. Go for tea and Gemma officially declares she has had enough of Indian food.
Day 41: Panjim, Goa 9/11/11
Well another quiet uneventful day to report on…
We get up early and pack our stuff as we are due to be swapping rooms today. Turns out we don’t. Check to see if the gym is open. It isn’t.
Another bus journey, this time to Margao to watch the football kitted out in our Sporting Goa shirts. Some spectacular scenery on the way and we arrive wt the Nehru Stadium around three hours before kick off. We mill about, grab some chow and a cake and realise we still have two hours.
We enter the ground and bizarrely there are people who live in flats in the stands themselves, where the boxes would be. I have heard of the Highbury development and Maine Road but a working stadium?
Find a seat (only about 29,000 spares) and have a wander onto the pitch. We wait about and notice there seem to be a lot of junior teams around. Still no sign of the teams half an hour before kick off.
Turns out to be a kids’ tournament around the outside of the pitch and eventually the teams appear to warm up. There is also some ‘pre-match entertainment’ in the form of a DJ and some Goan dancers. We are then cherry picked from the crowd to perform a traditional dance with these people (You will dance! We provide the coconuts!). the crowds for our appearances in India are getting bigger, this one around 1000 by now and after 60 seconds of out of time, out of rhythm, out of this world dancing we get a rapturous applause from the Sporting army.
The game is anti-climax after these events as is the rest of the day. How does it keep happening to us?
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