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Chapter ten - Benaulim

sunny 32 °C

Day 42: Benaulim, Goa 10/11/11

We wake up fairly early for our last morning in Panjim and again I visit the gym next door. I am not quite as sweaty as my previous session, a sure indication that I am much fitter after one session and am re-approaching the levels of Daley Thompson fitness and charisma I held prior to leaving the UK.

We catch the bus to Margao to catch another bus to the coastal village of Benaulim further to the south. Whilst at Margao bus station we catch a glimpse of the Fatorda Stadium and briefly relive yesterday’s cameo…

The bus to Benaulim is, of course, busy, sweaty and bustling, full of women returning home from the market laden with fish, vegetables and fabrics. We alight in Benaulim and our first impressions are of a small, friendly, relaxed town – a perfect match for what we were seeking after the busy(ish) Panjim and the chaotic Baga.

Find a room at the Max Guest House on account of its name and are blown over by the huge, clean and remarkably cheap (400 rupees a night) double ensuite with a kitchen area.

We head for lunch at a family run place, where we are served by Ria, the charming three year old waitress. This is followed by a stroll to the beach and with my foot healing nicely I am excited at the prospect of some quality beach time. In this excitement I fail to look where I am going and my foot ploughs straight into the sleeping policeman and the end of my toe is shortened somewhat. Sickening to be so close yet so far as my left foot pisses blood, a sure fire way to ensure some more medical attention by Nurse Cribbin is necessary.

We have a drink in a beach side shack, head back to dress the injuries and are delighted to see a week old piglet running free in the garden of the guest house. That elusive bacon sandwich seems a touch closer during the night…

Day 43: Benaulim, Goa 11/11/11

A lie in and some breakfast and we are ready for a day at the beach! Over breakfast I enquire into the whereabouts of the nearest gym and receive directions from the friendly three year old waitress from yesterday.

Arrive at the beach and realise just how much we love this place already – the beach is wide, golden and sandy, with very few people on it, which makes it even better. We set up camp at a quiet little beach shack, enjoy their sunloungers and their beer and cocktail menu. Bliss, although with two dressed feet the sea proceeds to tease with some enticing waves.

Head back to Max’s, shower and realise we have most definitely caught the sun today! We eat at a place called L’Amour, where the vindaloo is not quite as fiery as one would think. Am engrossed in my new book ‘Gang Leader For A Day’.

Day 44: Benaulim, Goa 12/11/11

Wake up a little groggy after a few too many beers on the balcony! We take a leisurely stroll and find the gym, enquire about membership, and on account of Max’s being full from the 16th onwards, we search for some more accommodation. There is some incredible stuff at some incredible prices. Find one with a puppy, which Gemma wants to steal.

We meet our new neighbour, Ian a Scottish guy in his mid-fifties before heading back to the shack on the beach for some food and a few 40p rum and cokes. Bliss. Head to a rooftop restaurant for some food and buy a pricey bottle of rum and some coke. We then sit out and play cards with a few drinks. A strange sound fills the air and Ian runs out of his room, trousers round his ankles and clutching his throat. Extremely scary stuff and the Heimlich manoeuvre runs through our heads. Luckily he is OK but a fright nonetheless.

Day 45: Benaulim, Goa 13/11/11

Head back to the beach again for another day of perfection. Gemma was not 100% again this morning but we head out for the day. With a physical NEED to go in the sea we devise a way for me to keep my wounds dressed and allow me to swim. Using a pair of marigolds, we cut the thumb off and stretch over my damaged toe and to cover the other foot we cut the arm off the glove and use as a sort of sock. Despite looking like something out of Stingray, the new look allows me to hire a boogie board and not have to look longingly at the sea. Needless to say the rubber broke and the toe sock cut all the blood off to my toe, causing numbness.

We head out for dinner at a very nice looking restaurant where unfortunately the food didn’t quite hit the same heights. Some more cards then bed after a fairly uneventful day.

Day 46: Benaulim, Goa 14/11/11

Join the local gym at the Benaulim Community Centre, where my monthly membership costs me 600 rupees. Very basic gym but good enough for me but find it bizarre that trainers are to be left at the door. Not even Globogym has rules that strange.

After searching for new accommodation we learn we can stay at Max until the 30th November – perfect. Back to the beach (soft drinks only now I have been to the gym) and try the frogman look out again using the other rubber glove. Again it fails epically. An odd Russian couple at the beach pose as for a sleazy photoshoot up against an old fishing boat. Highly amusing stuff.

We go for the rooftop restaurant again, which tonight is full of Brummies. I try my hand at giving Gemma a henna tattoo again but it is awful, confirming that the good one I did once was a fluke.

Day 47: Benaulim, Goa 15/11/11

Go to the gym first thing, shoeless of course. Breakfast on the balcony, then we decide to rent some bicycles and ride down to Colva, the next village over, in search of a decent wi-fi connection. Gemma had a nice, new, shiny purple bike, I had no such luck and ended up with a rickety old rust bucket that I thought might fall apart at any moment.

No joy on the wi-fi front but we spend the day at the beach in Colva, which is nice but not as nice as Benaulim beach. The guy that served us in the shack we used was adamant that he knew us but we could not think why or how he could. Nevertheless he lent us the shack’s full size surfboard which we took full advantage of.

Went to the internet café (after seemingly spending all day previously there!) and the excitement of the gym, the bike ride and the sea hit us and we were dead on our feet. Dinner then early bed.

Day 48: Benaulim, Goa 16/11/11

Sleep well after yesterday’s fun but I wake up with a head cold. Gemma kindly tends to me, emerging from the shop with ginger, lemon and honey tea, some lemsip style pills and a heap of love and makes me feel much better.

We head to the beach to find the shack has put a big electric sign up – progress. A very lazy day ensues.

Day 49: Benaulim, Goa 17/11/11

Gemma’s efforts make me feel much better and I head to the gym for a morning workout. Gemma has breakfast laid out on the balcony for my return – she knows how to spoil me. We head to the beach a bit earlier than previously and find it is much hotter than when we go slightly later in the day. Gemma has forgotten to sun cream up and we head back to the room.

We have a very lazy afternoon reading our books on the balcony. Life is good. The Max Guesthouse resident dog takes a tour of the place and for a change of scenery decides to have a little lie down in our room. Gemma walks into the room later to find him asleep down the side of our bed. Cheeky get.

Dinner is good in a small place and Gemma is entertained by a tiny kitten in the restaurant. She pleads with me to let her keep it but I have to put my foot down and say no. This wins few friends.

Day 50: Benaulim, Goa 18/11/11

Well, I have two bits of advice for all the kids reading. Firstly, don’t eat yellow snow, which is generally considered a fairly standard and solid word of guidance. Secondly, if you ever come across a Chinese made kettle element attached to a plug and called a ‘coffee maker’ do not buy it and more importantly do not use it.

Gemma kindly tried to make me a cup of tea, using the new water boiling contraption. Sat outside on the balcony I hear a hearty bang, ‘Tom!’ and Gemma panicking somewhat. Go in to find a smoking bit of electrical junk, which promptly bursts into flames. A quick rescue, a blown fuse and a candle lit shower later we head to the beach. Another tough day for the traveller follows. A very Indian tea tonight of pizza and pasta. Very nice.

Day 51: Benaulim, Goa 19/11/11

Head to Margao to book train tickets to Hampi and then on to the next Sporting Goa game. Get into the ground a little bit closer to kick off this week but still early enough to enjoy the excellent pre match entertainment. Naturally, Zumba the lion was in good form but the troop of African dancers from Kenya flip, dance and balance their way into our hearts, especially given the entertainment of last week’s game. One of the dancers could fold his body up on itself, having the ability to do press-ups with his ankles round his ears. Scary stuff.

The game is better this week, with Sporting running out 2-0 winners. We get a wave and a mention from the MC this week, but he drew the line at asking us to dance like the Nairobi boys, which was lucky.

The bus ride back to Benaulim was hell, with at least thirty people too many crammed into the body of the vehicle. Jostled by the crowd and unable to stand up straight due to the height of the bus’ roof one was not comfortable. Gemma finds herself a seat, sitting on the engine at the front of the bus. Why was it hot she asks? Maybe somebody used a ‘coffee maker’ there last week…

Day 52: Benaulim, Goa 20/11/11

Sunday so the gym is not open but we take the opportunity to get on Skype and talk to the folks back home. We decide to try to find somewhere with wi-fi and troop down the beach in search of an elusive wireless network. It ends up with us running to the internet café next door to us to give us a nice early sweat and sheen. Spend quite a bit of time in there speaking to anyone with a webcam and the will to listen. Ends up with me getting restless, hungry and bored so I head for a shower. Sorry Gemma.

Get to dinner and watch the Liverpool Chelsea game, with Glen Johnson popping up with a great winner. All quiet at the Bridge!

Day 53: Benaulim, Goa 21/11/11

Get talking to the guy who works at the gym, who is a cricket fan, Rahul Dravid fanatic and avid viewer of WWE, which he informs me is not real fighting. WWF on the other hand is real fighting he tells me and I do not have the heart to say anything. He also collects coins and gives me a lucky 10 rupee coin.

Back to the ranch where Gemma discovers a litter of puppies next door. She is straight round to see them and when the owner says she can have one she starts to get a bit excited…

Baby animals in the vicinity include piglets, puppies, kittens, chicks and calves. Gemma wants to adopt them all. Huge tandoori platter for me, Gemma has a good spag bol.

Day 54: Benaulim, Goa 22/11/11

Quick gym session and give the manager a few English coins in return for the lucky 10 rupee one he gave to me. We visit the puppies next door before heading to the beach. A change of route is required due to needing to take some glass bottles to the restaurant we got them from. The new route takes us down a long, deserted straight road where there are mountains of fish being dried in the sun. Being a fish lover Gemma naturally loved this and proceeded to very maturely make reference to the smell that lingered around them…

Day 55: Benaulim, Goa 23/11/11

Gemma wakes me up with a tray of breakfast – omelette (spicy), orange juice, cereal and a croissant for her to celebrate 5 years together. What’s more is she adds a small bottle of Indian made ‘Champagne method’ bubbly to make it even better. Good girl!

Fairly uneventful day from there – I visit the gym, we have lunch and head to the shack for some more beach action. We have some very good food at Luna Italian restaurant – the main menu does not kick in until next week but the pizzas are outstanding.

Day 56: Benaulim, Goa 24/11/11

Wrote this entry into the diary a week later as I had left a gap. As a result, memories of the exact happenings on this day are a little hazy but as an educated guess I went to the gym, we went for lunch before venturing to the shack on the beach where I spent some time in the sea. We may well have then gone for an extremely nice, extremely well priced dinner.

Day 57: Benaulim, Goa 25/11/11

Happy birthday Anne! Quick gym session (now looking like Ronnie Coleman), breakfast and we are away. For the second time we decide to hire some bikes for the day and turn right at the crossroads to a place we have never been before. It is very hot going and Benaulim’s slightly touristy centre becomes more and more local, with wedding dress shops, family run supermarkets and some very local looking bars the norm. We hang a right and end up on some very deserted road well off the beaten track before ending up at the gates to a very swanky looking hotel resort. Dead end it seems. Ring Anne to wish a Happy Birthday.

After some much needed drinks we head to the beach, both a little bit saddle sore. We head for dinner and engage with a little too much rum on the balcony.

Day 58: Benaulim, Goa 26/11/11

Wake up still feeling a little the worse for last night’s rum. Foolishly decide a few beers with brunch would help. How wrong I was!

A bit worse for wear so Gemma looks after me. She gets lunch sorted before encouraging me to go to sleep for a couple of hours.

We head for dinner and have a good meal which helps us along with the aid of a couple of Kingfishers. Sit and watch the football, unfortunately surrounded by a Birmingham City fan and a Villa fan. Gemma heads back, I have one or two for the road and am well and truly ready for bed at this point!

Day 59: Benaulim, Goa 27/11/11

Wake up hanging! Gemma is less than sympathetic to say the least and I head down to take the washing to Annie. She tells me that it will be ready for 8pm tomorrow. I meet Gemma on the beach and we sit there talking until the sun sets. We head for tea and I try to detox. Oh, the life of the international globetrotting drunk!

Day 60: Benaulim, Goa 28/11/11

Our last day in the lovely town of Benaulim sees one of us still worse for wear after the weekend. Said person visits gym to try to fully sweat it out. I also receive my second haircut of the trip. An improvement on the first but I should hope so at 50 rupees.

Excitingly, we head for lunch at a place we have never tried and try a dish we have never tried before (Tibetan Momos). These turn out to be very nice, like Chinese dumplings but a bit lighter and the first (and probably last) beef we have had in India. The Goans are very different to the other Indians we have encountered on the trip.

We buy some little trinket souvenirs and make some beautifully home made Christmas cards before we decide to head to the beach shack for the last time. It is extremely windy on the beach and the sea is rather choppy with a rip tide that makes it impossible to get past your thighs in the water. These conditions conspire to make it seem more Bude than Benaulim. We say goodbye to our friends at the shack and head back to shower and pick up the washing. In true Annie style she has not touched our washing yet, but on account of our early exit tomorrow, she promises to have it done by 6am.

We go to sample the Italian menu at the open air Luna restaurant and have sat down and ordered when Tropical Storm Billy arrives and there is a mad scramble to erect a makeshift tarpaulin shelter in the dark of the powercut. Gemma gets soaked but the tagliatelle is divine.

Posted by tevs 02:37 Archived in India Tagged beaches india goa benaulim Comments (0)

Chapter nine - Panjim

sunny 32 °C

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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Posted by tevs 05:33 Archived in India Tagged football india goa panjim Comments (0)

Chapter eight - Baga

sunny 31 °C

Day 36: Baga, Goa 4/11/11

We awake reasonably early given the previous night’s epic card games. Sandeep suggests we jump in his cab to the airport as it will be able to drop us in Baga. We hurriedly get our stuff together and packed before the cab driver decides he cannot do this.

We get the hot, sweaty bus to Baga with our life’s belongings on our laps and an old lady’s bony elbow digging firmly into my side but with the help of an ice cold Mountain Dew we are able to get through to Mapusa and catch the much quieter connecting bus to Baga.

Arriving in Baga with all our stuff we have a short recce round to find some accommodation and eventually plump for one close to the beach for 400 rupees per night. It is very basic and I think for a place where the walls reach the ceiling and hot running water you have to pay extra but more than adequate for a couple of nights.

Taking a walk around we realise that Baga is very busy, very busy indeed, and not at all what we have experienced in Anjuna and was not a particularly welcome sight. Whilst the throngs of human traffic in the big cities is quite exciting, on the beach it is not what I would call ‘acceptable’ and the wide, golden beach is ruined by walls of holidaying families and hundreds of jet skis. A quick game of cricket with a family from Mumbai softens my stance only slightly. Oh well, we only came for tomorrow’s tomato throwing festival…

A good dinner and drinks to the smooth sounds of Gary, the Indian pub singer, and we are able to enjoy classics originally by such artists as Blue, Elvis and Bon Jovi. Close your eyes and you could be at Smokey Joe’s Roadhouse.

Day 37: Baga, Goa 5/11/11

Wake up early after a poor night’s sleep, which is surprising given the distinct lack of Z’s over the past few nights. Gemma screams and wakes the whole of Baga at 6am at the sight of a cockroach in the bathroom.

We get out and search for the tomato throwing festival we saw advertised in the paper a few days ago. Asking about we get some very vague answers. To cut a long story short it turns out it has been cancelled.

Our Costa experience is completed when we visit a British greasy spoon for scrambled eggs on toast complete with football shirts on the walls. A quick visit to the market sees us come away with a 100 rupee battery charger, which is a welcome addition to the stuff as it fits the phone and camera we wisely brought without a charger.

To escape the madness of Baga we make the most of the facilities on offer at the local swanky hotel and lounge by the pool, naturally making friends as we do so. This may be due to my foot preventing me from swimming, and ultimately clearing the pool area as I have countless times before…

We chat to the neighbours for a couple of hours in the evening and after some weird goings on involving some of the neighbours and some Indian holiday makers we decide to make a move asap tomorrow, especially as the day ends as it begins with Gemma freaking out at a cockroach.

Posted by tevs 05:29 Archived in India Tagged beaches coast goa baga Comments (0)

Chapter seven - Anjuna

sunny 33 °C

Day 25: Anjuna, Goa 24/10/11

We are up earlyish for our flight to Goa from Mumbai and catch a rickshaw to the airport. Our ticket states International Terminal, the airport police say otherwise. It emerges we are at the wrong terminal, so a cab to the other one. Good start to the day.

Catch our flight and fall asleep in Mumbai. Wake up in Goa.

A very hot, sweaty cab to our hotel in Anjuna reveals how tropical Goa is, with palm trees and humidity aplenty. Find the beaches, which are beautiful. Not an awful lot else to report. There are lots of white faces here, which is a bit of a strange sight given the previous few weeks. Also lots of new age travellers and ageing hippies.

Day 26: Anjuna, Goa 25/10/11

We have a lie in and some HBO action and take a stroll to the main beach. There are lots of cows on the beach on their holidays it seems, as well as lots of people at one end, where there are bars and music. Bit sociable for us so we head to the much sandier, quieter end where we enjoy some golden sands and the warm Arabian Sea with some cold, cheap Kingfisher.

Some further exploration and it turns out to be a very quaint little town away from the bars and restaurants, with a very creepy looking Catholic church in the middle.

The friendly offers of some of the shadier locals runs through our heads as we fall asleep. Want good smoke? No? Want opium? No? Motorbike, taxi, rickshaw? No? Come see my shop…

Day 27: Anjuna, Goa 26/10/11

A strange breakfast – I have slightly watery scrambled eggs, whilst Gemma bizarrely has a bowl of baked beans with some toast and mayo drowned mushrooms.

We visit the Wednesday flea market, where there is a huge range of goods on sale. Some incredible trinkets and pieces, ornate door handles, spices, teas, clothing, food, music.

We do ok for ourselves, coming away with some shorts, a couple of t-shirts, some spices and new sunglasses (RIP my Stevie Wonders) and a new nose ring for Gemma. Costs a fortune. Haggling is good fun and the hundreds of stalls give plenty to see.

Head to the beach and have a game of football with a local kid with a huge smile on his face, using a polystyrene lump as the ball. Still a kickabout is a kickabout. Have a huge mound of laundry done for about 3 quid.

Day 28: Anjuna, Goa 27/10/11

A early lunch to set up the day – very good prawn noodles for me, whilst fatty isn’t hungry and makes do with mixed fruit pancakes, non-veg club sandwich and chips. Shocking amount of food.

Head to the beach and there a few fairly big waves today. I have a good hour of body surfing and see our football friend again, whose family run one of the beachfront bars.

We try to find our way to some of the restaurants I checked out earlier, but they are inaccessible in the dark. Try a couple of different places, including one that tries to serve us overpriced but warm beer. Nice one mate, but I think we will try somewhere else. Thanks.

Eat on the seafront – great food and then get caught in the most incredible storm on the way back. The thunder and lightning are amazing and the bolts of lightning lighting up the sea are quite stunning. We get absolutely drenched on the way back and see the most enormous frog on the way back to the hotel. It is absolutely huge.

Gemma is not well in the night and helpfully informs that she ‘is not very good at being ill.’

Day 29: Anjuna, Goa 28/10/11

Wake up and Gemma is still not very well. A quick hotel room workout follows for the healthy members of the party.

Thomas out to source some lunch. I eat alone in a roadside joint, listening to some dickhead Brits talking nonsense and arguing over who they think would win in theoretical fights. Could have stayed at home for that one…

A Goan mackerel curry and rice is the spiciest meal of the trip by some way. An ultimate head sweat amuses the locals and amazes the kids. Still though quite delicious.

A takeaway nutella pancake for the invalid and we spend most of the afternoon reading on the hotel room porch. A ‘massive ant’ mistakes Gemma’s toes for a mixed fruit pancake and a club sandwich. She is ‘not very good at being bitten'.

I go out to pick up food and quite strangely emerge with an Indian takeaway in India.

Day 30: Anjuna, Goa 29/10/11

Gemma is still not 100% and after we have lunch together she makes a move back to the room. I have an hour at the beach and am rather chuffed on the way back when an Indian guy asks where I got my FCUK t shirt, which has accidentally become all I wear.

Prior to my trip to the beach I drop off the laundry and the laundry guy, a possible Denzel Washington character with his slightly greying hair, thick set build and rosary beads (no shirt), takes one look at the brilliant blue skies and blazing sun and says ‘bad weather’. Sure enough Michael Fish is right and I am driven off the beach by a thunderstorm.

Watch some footy – Chelsea ship five at home and fortunately the late kick off is not shown. Just as well as Liverpool scrape past the Albion.

I am a bit sociable and have a drink with some guys in the hotel, before we head back and prepare for our early morning start to be Bollywood extras.

Day 31: Anjuna, Goa 30/10/11

Wake up and Gemma asks what time it is. ‘Quarter to six’ I say and we get up and get showered. Gemma then comes back, when she is dressed to tell me that it is in fact ten to five. Second time I have done this and it is good to see my time spent working for a fine watchmaker was not wasted.

Oh well! Gemma is still not well so it is just as well that we don’t wake up again until 6.35 and miss the bus to the set. We have a lazy day on the beach and go to pick up the laundry from Denzel. He is not in and the nearby church has a candlelit procession on. My detective skills lead me to deduce he is at mass. Go back later. My suspicions were confirmed.

Dangerously we go back for dinner to the last place we ate before Gemma was ill. We like to play with fire

Day 32: Anjuna, Goa 31/10/11

Due to be back on set today, we are determined to catch the bus, so the watch is double checked before anyone stands by what time they think it is…

We get to the meeting point with the French woman who ‘casted’ us for Gemma’s ability to deliver a line and my previous experience as a Shakespearean actor. The ‘6.30’ am bus in fact does not turn up until 8 am. Not sure whether to blame the French or the Indians. The other extras awaiting the studio bus include dreadlocked Italians (pastafarian?), some crazy Russians and some general hippy types.

Arrive on set for a breakfast of jam sandwiches and receive our costumes. Gemma gets to wear her denim shorts and bikini top whilst I get an undersized orange Goa tourist tank top to wear with my board shorts. Good look.

Most of the other extras are crazy, drunk, stoned Russians. We have a long day dancing to a Bob Sinclar song. The final scene involves a fight in the crowd. I get pushed out of the way by one of the actors, a world record holding kickboxer apparently. I could have had him.

Get back on the bus and get paid. 1200 rupees for me, 1500 rupees for Gemma for showing a bit of flesh. I strongly recommend never watching Billa 2 if you come across it.

Long day but very funny. Make a porch friend whilst reading my book.

Day 33: Anjuna, Goa 1/11/11

Wake up and watch most of a film, Ghost Rider, before the power cuts out ten minutes from the end. Power cuts seem to be an annoying fact of life in India. Go for a very Indian slow lunch of pizza and pasta and a few cocktails. Tough life.

Catch a few waves after lunch – lots of surf and I am washed right up the beach whilst body surfing. Sandeep from Finchley, last night’s porch friend joins us for a while.

When we get back to the room there is a great big frog in the bathroom. Needless to say Gemma is less than calm. I try to catch it in my cap, from where it jumps on me. Eventually catch the frog in the bin and successfully release him back into the wild.

We go for dinner with Sandeep and a nice but rather strange Swedish guy. Sandeep, Gemma and myself head for a few drinks. They hit the BOGOF cocktails but I opt for the finer stuff – Royal Stag Indian whisky.

Day 34: Anjuna, Goa 2/11/11

Wake up next morning and the Royal Stag works its wondrous morning after magic. We head to the Wednesday flea market and a few beers in order to level some people out.

Gemma buys a beautiful decorated elephant off a one armed market trader for 700 rupees. Bargain but seems a bit big to be taken in the backpacks.

A frog similar to yesterday’s has taken up residency on Sandeep’s door. I try to catch it for him and Gemma tells me ‘it will jump in your face’. Sure enough a slap to the side of the head by a ball of flubber ensues. Hats off Gemma, you should become a tarot reader.

After some awesome tandoori chicken kebabs we head back to the guest house with a few beers and sit out for a game of cards. This where things get interesting…myself and Sandeep head out for some more provisions to see a woman in a nightdress walking a dog down the road on its hind legs. Imagine doing the tango with lassie and you’re partway there. Play cards until around half three.

Day 35: Anjuna, Goa 3/11/11

We opt to post some goodies home and are advised to head to Mapusa, the nearest big town. Waiting for Gemma to get ready, the Swedish guy from the other day walks past. When asked what he’s up to for the day, he says he’s just going to sit in his room. ‘I have LSD’ he says and pokes his tongue out to show us. Strange considering he claimed not to drink the other night.

Take the bus to Mapusa to post the huge parcel, which is sewn into some fabric by the woman at the post office. Mapusa is a fairly big busy town, with a bustling market region. Gemma is called Barbie Doll, I am told I look like David Beckham, whilst ‘Bombay boy’ Sandeep is the ‘Indian Becks’.

We get back and meet another English guy called Blade and a German guy. We eat with them and then have a few drinks and some more cards, which ends at 6 in the morning.

Posted by tevs 07:09 Archived in India Tagged beaches coast goa Comments (0)

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