Today we journeyed forth! Bob and Mick went to the Lalit hotel one beach down and played golf on the course there. £40 for 18 holes, buggy, hire clubs, beers and water. They really enjoyed it. Maureen, Gloria and I headed north by taxi, first to Margao and a favourite shop called Fab India. They are a chain found throughout the country and they sell ethically produced Indian clothing and lifestyle items, with a share of the profits going back to the handicraft villages. The clothes are really good quality, very fine cottons and silks. I bought several kurtas (tunics) there, 3 long and 1 short. I have lots of Indian style trousers of all sorts that they will go with. They averaged at £12 – £15 each and I estimate they would have been in the £40 to £50 range at home. Very nice items. I also bought some ear rings and some other small items.
After that we headed to Benaulim on the coast to meet Martha, a friend of Gloria’s and with whom she will be staying for the next three days. Benaulim is very different to Patnem, very much more built up and developed. The beach is huge and looked very nice, great clean sand. There are lots of western style housing developments though and some timeshares. It reminded me of North Goa. I didn’t like it that much and wouldn’t want to stay there very long. Anyway, Martha was a fun lady and we had a good lunch at a Nepalese restaurant just down the road from her apartment.
Left Gloria there and our taxi took us on a lovely tour of the backroads along the coast heading south to Patnem. The countryside is so green and lush , straight out of the Jungle Book really. Saw lots of farming along the way: rice, chillis, soya, lentils. Also many herds of cows and buffalo, some of which were blocking the road. This part of the state is still very Portugese in architectural style and there are many colonial era bungalows and houses nestling in the trees, all painted bright colours like orange,yellow, sky blue. They look lovely. There are also many, many churches often with attached schools and seminaries. We passed one huge church which was holding a service and it was packed inside with extra seating being used outside.. Not a sight we see in the west a lot these days.
We travelled across several rivers and inlets by bridge. We also visited Cabo di Rama an old Portugese coastal fort, now a historic monument. It’s a very large moated fort on a headland with wonderful ramparts and old cannon littered about. Inside is an ancient well, a church and lots of old buildings. We clambered up to see the views which were magnificent. Well worth a visit.
Got back to Patnem about 430. A very good day out and he only charged us £20. We will use his services again as he was a good driver.
Quick dinner at Salida and an early night!