Lazy Days, Oysters and Gymslips!

Lazy Days, Oysters and Gymslips!
Patnem, India

Patnem, India


We’ve just been lazy I’m afraid! Totally immersed in the Patnem beach rhythm: down to the beach, breakfast, swim, walk the beach, lie on bed reading, swim, lie on bed reading, lunch, games, swim, lie on bed reading, walk home, shower, sit by pool reading, g&t, walk to restaurant, eat, drink, walk home, bed…….. I am only saved from sluglike idleness by the sheer amount of walking I do. However, I am losing the snailshell of fat I put on over last year… slowly but surely it is melting away. Combination of walking, healthy food and no wine!

We went to the Steakhouse last night and watched Bridge of Spies with Tom Hanks. Absolutely brilliant film, most enjoyable. Gianna and Claire came with us.
Today we had breakfast first at the Capitol Organic restaurant in Patnem. Bob and Stuart also went to the Chai shop and bought some vegetable samosas for a reserve lunch. They are so delicious, freshly made and still warm from the baking. Lightly spiced and crisp on the outside. They wrap them up in a paper parcel for you and it’s all very cheap, about 5 rupees each. Fi doesn’t eat fish at all so they were just in case there wasn’t anything else! Bob and I, Stuart and Fi, Gianna and Claire then headed off in 3 tuks to Turtle Beach about 25 mins south of Patnem and across the Talpona River.
The trip is just lovely. I’ve described it before on the day we went to Peace Garden at Talpona but I always enjoy the utter utter green-ness of the surroundings, the brightly coloured homes and the blue ribbon of the river winding its way through. We established base camp at Surya’s restaurant on the beach – and some changes were apparent!
Turtle Beach is perhaps 2 miles of virgin sand, a base for turtles and so it is illegal to build anything on the beach or even have loungers on the beach. However the beach is backed by pine and palm forests and in there a few shacks have grown up, making the most of the fish and seafood supplied from the estuaries and lagoons that are further back still. Oysters have been a speciality for years, grown in the lagoon and served fresh for lunch. The shacks have been very ramshackle affairs with no accommodation. The beach is heaven although the swell is strong, it’s a surfing beach really. The saving grace for swimmers is that at one end is a lagoon formed by a sandbar on the sea entrance at low tide. It’s idyllic for swimming and wallowing in.
We come here once or twice every visit and enjoy a plate of oysters for a quid. We even stayed overnight once in a rundown fishing cottage painted bright pink inside with pink bedding and accessories, even a pink mosquito net. Fishergirl Barbie anyone! It would have been romantic if it were not for the fact that we discovered come early morning that our window abutted the fishing village communal sink and we were awoken by an endless stream of snorting and hocking as all the fisherman cleared their nasal passages and had good spits just beyond our heads. Nice.
Anyway, we wandered up the beach to Surya’s and what did we find but two very luxurious wooden huts for accommodation with big glass fronts, porches and smart Heals-style furniture! The shack itself had even smartened up. Big hugs all round from the staff even though they hadn’t seen us for two years! Slight disappointment with the menu because clearly there are costs to be recouped as everything had doubled in price. A plate of oysters (6) was now £2, large crab was a tenner and tiger prawns were expensive too.
We spent the morning in the lagoon which was as gorgeous as ever. Just idyllic. Then wandered back to the shack and had a nice oyster lunch washed down with some cold white wine. The wine hadn’t gone up in price – £6. After lunch we hit the loungers and hammocks under the trees and in truth we were all soon fast asleep!
The tuks came back for us at 4 and we headed home. Just in time to see the local school come out with everyone in their smart blue uniforms. The boys in shorts and shirts and ties. The girls were in old fashioned gymslips, shirts and ties. And I mean old fashioned. Pleated ones with a belt at the waist. The sort you see The Fifth Form at Mallory Towers wearing in old Enid Blyton books! They were even long gone when I went to school.

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