This morning we had some errands to run which involved a visit to our local market town, Chaudhi, or Canacona as it is also sometimes called. It’s a dusty, bustling town about 30 minutes walk or 5 minutes by tuk tuk from Patnem. It’s the place you go for things not easily available in the local tourist mini marts or the village store, or to use the ATMs or to get a local phone sim…. or to visit the opticians. Things like that.
But first we had breakfast at Eve’s. Gloria came and joined us which was nice. I had porridge, Bob had the regular English breakfast. Very good. Then we set off walking. On the way we passed Dinesh’s guesthouse where we stayed 2 years running a few years ago. The Pink House as we call it. He’s such a great chap and always so genuinely pleased to see us. Sure enough, out he came and there were hugs all around. His rooms were full up he said which is good news.
Then, on to the Tubki resort a little further down the road. We have also stayed here a couple of times and very comfortable it is too. Our friends from Cyprus stayed here two years ago and they want to come back next year so asked me to check it out and also get some rates. There are a whole new lot of apartments now in new blocks next door to the original hotel. There are 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. In the original hotel, there are nice suite rooms and also poolside studio apartments. We like the poolside apartments, which are actually the oldest and cheapest of the accommodations and we always stayed in them. What we like, quite apart from the proximity to the pool, is that you get a multiple room setup. They have an a/c bedroom in the rear with a little service patio off it for drying etc, then there is a corridor leading back towards the front with the bathroom off it, and then at the front is a very large lounge with a kitchenette. The lounge has double patio doors opening to a little terrace which is right by the pool. We like them because they are great for “gatherings” because you can open the doors up and have drinks by the pool without everyone having to come into the bedroom. They are not as smart as the newer rooms but we like them. Anyway, saw the manageress, who remembered me, and she is emailing me prices for the different room types which I will pass on. The little swimming pool is still in use in front but there is a new larger swimming pool in the new block of self catering apartments which all guests can use.
We met Nick on the way out so we all walked into Chaudhi together. It’s a nice walk especially first thing in the morning. Once you get under the new underpass (road still not open) a lovely green vista of the distant ghats (hills) opens up. There’s a little stream passing through meadows with cows and buffalo grazing nearby and you commonly see white herons and kingfishers in the trees.
Chaudhi is not the most attractive of towns to be honest. Its dusty and untidy and very busy with traffic always but I thought it was looking a bit tidier than usual this time. There is a new garden centre on our edge of town and maybe that made it look more attractive.
Anyway, first call was the atm to get out some cash. We use our Halifax Clarity card. We withdraw cash on it and then before the end of the day we use internet banking to transfer the money from our current account to the credit card thus avoiding any charges. The Halifax card doesn’t levy a foreign transaction charge unlike many cards.
Then on to the optician. We have our latest prescriptions with us. I chose a really nice pair of “best” glasses for my distance prescription, with Reactalite lenses. I also chose a pair of sunglasses with a bifocal prescription and deep blue lenses. The frames for both sets are really nice. Both pairs are about £70 i.e. £35 each. I could have had cheaper frames. I will get them next week. Glasses are a real bargain here. Bob has saved £800 on his two pairs, basically paying for two return flights out here. They are also willing to fit new lenses into existing frames, which is something you will struggle to get to happen at your local Boots.
Went into the phone shop and topped up our local sim with some extra international minutes as we have a few calls home to make on business matters. It costs 14 rupees for a minute to call the UK. That’s a lot cheaper than the £1 a minute (90 rupees) it would cost to use our UK phones.
Got a tuk tuk back to Eve’s which cost £1. Changed into our beach clothes and off to the beach for the afternoon. I dropped a bag of laundry at Amelia’s laundry on the way. Amelia’s husband, Suresh, is one of our favourite tuktuk drivers. Her laundry business has funded his tuktuk and a brand new house they have just built. She’s able to cut back on the laundry now, just doing personal laundry rather than sheets etc for local businesses. An amazing achievement. I’ll pick the laundry up tomorrow night. I daresay it will be all of a couple of quid.
I spent the afternoon reading. Bob played games in Salida. There was some breeze today and combined with the spring tides, the sea was a bit rough. Had more of a “wade and dip” than any sort of swim. I didn’t feel like getting rolled in the surf.
Walked back with Gloria. Bob went to the village barber for a haircut and a shave. Got both and it was £2. Gloria and I looked in the Bunty shop which is the rather trendy westernized boutique at the end of the beach road. I think the girls will probably have a field day in there when they come out.
Tonight we ate in April20, a restaurant about midway down the beach and arguably the best Indian food in Patnem. The original restaurant is in Palolem and called Dropadi and I actually prefer it. Not that the food is any different but its a much buzzier atmosphere. Anyway, the food was excellent as usual. I had palak paneer and some vegetable curry. Bob had chicken makhana, rice and naan. Loads of food.
We walked back up the beach and back to Eve’s. It was music night and the courtyard was rammed with people. It was the same guy as last week. He sings an acoustic reggae/r&b set. A friend was helping him out tonight. A better singer we thought.