Chaudhi is the nearest little non-tourist town to Patnem. It takes about 20-25 minutes to walk there, a pleasant trip through the water meadows and hamlets along the way. Kingfishers can often be seen on the telephone wires and also the white egrets are everywhere. Chaudhi itself is dusty, untidy…. busy…. a madhouse of scooters, buses and lorries. The only reason to go is to visit the many useful shops there are there: banks, watchmakers, opticians, computer shops, a proper supermarket, clothing shops, mobile phone outlets. We had a few errands to run today so off we went.
Saturday is market day proper when there is a very large fruit and vegetable market in town but everyday there are fruit and veg sellers there: some quite structured stalls, others just ladies with some produce spread on a cloth by the roadside. There is also a daily fishmarket. I am always amused by the medical services offered here. I must stress that most of the medical and dental services are state of the art and at least the equal of the UK, probably better. But some offerings by less “conventional” practitioners make me smile. I took a photo of one of the typical posters advertising such a chap. LOL
First stop is the Krishna Hotel for breakfast. I’ve talked about this before. “Hotel” is the name often given to local cafes here, it does not imply there are actually any rooms for rent. The speciality of the Krishna is the Masala Dosa which is a super thin rice pancake wrapped in a curl around a filling of potato, onion and herbs, lightly spiced. Rather like the filling of a Cornish pasty but without any meat. It is served with two sauces: one spicey and one cool, yoghurt and coconut. Just delicious. We each had one and I had a black tea and Bob had a cup of Masala Chai. Total bill 80 INR or about 80p.
Suitably sustained we went about our business, crisscrossing to various shops. If you waited for the traffic to stop, you’d never get anywhere, so you have to be brave and step determinedly out and trust the scooters will weave around you. I say scooters. Don’t try this with the local buses or lorries because they take no prisoners!!!! I had a very good forage around the supermarket and bought their entire shelfful of a hair product called Silk N Shine which is the most amazing leave in conditioner. I will take it back for the girls. I also bought some stainless steel cooking/serving bowls. You know, the kind with two handles that you get in Indian restaurants?? I got a large one and two slightly smaller ones. Will be useful for all sorts of things and they were very cheap at about £2.50 each.
Met Bob at the tuk tuk rank. He had got all his jobs done too. Returned to the Tubki by about 1130 and then spent the day here around the pool. We were totally alone and it was very lovely and felt like our own private domain.
Stuart and Fi had gone on a day trip to Dunshagar Waterfalls, the Spice Farm and the Elephant Farm. They got back about 430, totally knackered and jumped right in the pool too. They liked the waterfalls best. Joe and Janet have their lovely daughter Kirsty, her husband Tony and their two gorgeous little children Amelia (6) and Henry (4) here now. Yesterday was their first day and they have been very much enjoying the beach and making sandcastles etc. I hope one day to bring some grandchildren here. No pressure at all dear girls!
Last night Stuart, Fi, Bob, Gloria and I ate at RoundCube on the beach. Absolutely excellent food and very delicious Gimlet cocktails which were 2 for 1 up until 8pm. We had a few…. then some free brandies. Then tottered back to the Tubki to find the Dunlops all up and carousing around the pool so we had another brandy with them just to be sociable. Tonight we are hosting pre drinks at our place before heading off. Stuart, Fi, Bob and I are going to Dropadi in Palolem.
Spoke briefly to Lu who was stuck on Eurostar in Folkestone en route to a foodie shindig in the champagne caves of Epernay. 2 days of champagne quaffing apparently. Lucky girl.