We flew out of the UK on the 10th January from Gatwick, direct to Goa, on Thomas Cook Airlines, having stayed in the South Terminal at the Bloc hotel the night before. We had a bit of a drama at check in with our seats. Had booked them back in April 2018 and paid extra to be able to choose them, we had picked two seats in a side row of 2, literally front row of economy so with extra leg room. All our paperwork referenced these two seats. Anyway, when our boarding cards were printed at the desk they were for two different seats in the middle of a row and no extra leg room. There followed a raft of emails, tweets, calls and face to face confrontations with Thomas Cook staff and all we managed to gain was our money back. However, they had already sold our seats again so…… Anyway, by some weird combination of fate, with no help from TC, except for a lovely gate agent, we did eventually end up with our seats as booked AND our money back. We were not alone, quite a few people had the same problem.
The flight itself was excellent, really good food, service, nice staff. Cant fault the flight, just the systems behind it. We landed after about 9 hours, very quickly through immigration and our bags came out quickly. And all of them were there! Always a relief. Eve Resort had sent a car and driver for us and we found him outside and were on our way. It takes about 75 minutes from the airport. Lovely to see the guesthouse again and our usual room was waiting for us.
Since then we’ve been sleeping, swimming, sunbathing and reading and sleeping some more. We were so tired by the time we got here after a sad and stressful time. It is very quiet here in Patnem. Quieter than usual this year and it is just the place to regather your spirits.
Marylyn and Clive who own Eve’s made us very welcome and really they can’t do enough for you. Since we were here last they have expanded their restaurant out into the front garden area and have a covered dining hall and bar there. It is staffed by the people who used to run the German Bakery in Palolem and the food is really excellent and they are doing good business. We have eaten there a couple of times now and it’s good. Seems popular at breakfast too with people walking down from other places to eat there attracted by the bakery with lovely croissants and pastries.
We have spent our days at our favourite beach shack, Salida del Sol, and again received a warm welcome after a two year absence, from the staff there. They are all Nepalese and come down to Goa for the season. Lovely fellas. We have seen some of them grow up from young boys to married men.
Its the same when we walk down the little shopping lane that leads to the beach. So many of the traders come over to shake hands and welcome us back with genuine friendliness and pleasure. You don’t get the feeling its all about the money at all. I actually tear up a bit.
We’ve been coming here for 10 years. Have a look at the main menu of my blogsite under India for blog entries for previous years ( two years). There have been changes over the years, but not much. The main road through the village is tarmac now and better lit. The wifi is everywhere and amazing. The beach huts are of much higher standard and there are better little hotels off the beach in the village itself. But, essentially its still the same place with the little general store, primary school, chai shop café…… we still see the same people who come here every year, getting a bit older, like ourselves. Its not party central by any means. You really have to go to Palolem, about 10 minutes by taxi for that. Neither is it luxurious. Its just a lovely, authentic village with a very good “feel” about it and where you can totally, totally relax.
Our friend, Frede, was here when we arrived and we have spent some daytimes with her, under the umbrellas. Bob’s cousin, Susan, and her husband, John, from Hythe, arrived 2 days ago (its their fourth visit) and their friends, Nick and Jan, arrived last night, their third visit. There will be a slow trickle of friends arriving now until we reach the middle of February when there will be a bigger influx coming for Bob’s 70th birthday. Our daughters are coming with a group of their friends and I’ve been sorting out beach accommodation and transport options for them as they want some expeditions.
The weather is as perfect as ever. Cloudless blue skies. A steady 32C during the day, about 26C in the evening. The sea is warm and reasonably clear. I can see my feet when I’m chest deep. Its not glassy here, there’s too much sand.
The prices are marginally up, but not by much. A beer is just under a pound. A G&T (double) (local gin, Schweppes tonic) is about £2. A curry dish is about £2. 2 eggs on toast for breakfast is £1.20. We budget £20 a day for the two of us for food and drink and generally we make that work, unless we eat in one of the few posher places, but even then dinner for 2 this week with 2 rounds of double g&ts was only about £18.
Bob has been to Chaudhi (Canacona) our local market town and got a local sim for the phone. It was £8 for unlimited local calls and texts and a gig of data per day, for 3 months. International calls as charged but not too bad. We don’t cook here at all – it’s not worth it, but we have a fridge in the room and a kettle, so we stock up on cold drinks and water, milk, tea and coffee and a few snacks. The tap water here is not recommended for anything other than washing, so we have bottled water for everything including teeth cleaning. The local tourist restaurants are scrupulous with using mineral water for everything – washing salad, ice, drinks etc. In ten years we’ve never had any problems other than what you might expect if you suddenly switched from a European diet to a solid diet of spicy food!
So we are settled in for a very relaxing winter here. It’s great to be back. It feels like coming home.