First Days in Patnem

We slept pretty late on Thursday and we decided to have a quiet day and get a few tasks done rather than go to the beach.

Our friend Joe arrived at about 1030 after an overnighter from London.  We had breakfast together at Eve’s and a good catch up.  He’s here for a month.  The first of our Eve’s Group to arrive.  I had a brilliant Spanish omelette.   Very fluffy.

Joe then turned in for a while.

Bob went into Chaudhi, the little nearby town, and started the process of getting an Indian SIM for our phone.  It takes 3 days and you need a variety of documents and photos in order to get one.  He has to go back on Tuesday to pick it up.  He also bought us some local gin (£2.50), some Schweppes tonic; shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, water, a massive bag of cashews, coffee, tea and milk.  And he got some cash out of the atm.  He walked there and took a rickshaw back – our friend Shiresh, who often drives us around.  His wife runs the village laundry and they have built a new house on the proceeds of it.  As she only charges about a £1 for a bag of washing, that’s a lot of washing……

I unpacked all our cases and sorted the room out.  We have cruisewear with us as we are eventually cruising back from Dubai after we stay with Lucy.  I hung all of that up so that it doesn’t crease.  Our Goan wear is much simpler and that went away using our excellent packing cubes, first used on our Rockies trip.  I set the charging block up and all our toiletries and readied our beach bag.

We had a very quiet afternoon, some napping…

Some amazingly good news is that Marylyn and Clive, the lovely couple who own Eve Resort and built it literally from the ground up, are expecting a baby in May. They have wanted a child for a long time so this is just the best news. So happy for them all.

Met Joe in the bar at 6 for some g&ts and then got rickshaws into Palolem to meet Frede and her friend for dinner at Dropadi.  Palolem seemed very much quieter than usual.  I guess the airfare problems have affected a lot of people.  Dropadi is always busy and buzzing and we found Frede at our reserved table looking over the beach.  We met here 8 years ago when she had the room next to us at Dinesh’s guest house.  Generally we only cross with her for a couple of days because she would come out for Xmas and New Year and then go back to work but this year she has retired and so is here for much longer.  Anyway, we had an amazing dinner –  the food there is superb.  I had my all-time favourite, palak paneer, washed down by another g&t.  Bob had mixed Balti with rice and a butter naan and a g&t.  It all came to about £16, which is on the pricey side for here but well worth it.  We rickshawed back to Eve’s and had a nightcap with Joe in the bar.

This morning we were up bright and early and down to the beach for about 845, to our beach shack of choice: Salida del Sol.  The staff have largely been the same for 10 years and we were greeted as old friends with hugs.  Even the cleaning ladies came to shake hands.  So nice.  I had 2 boiled eggs (1.20) and plenty of black tea.  Bob had his favourite Indian breakfast of puri bagi which is a bowl of very lightly spiced vegetable curry served with three large puffy Indian fry breads.  It costs about £2.  Frede wandered up at about 930.

Patnem is just as lovely as always.  A few changes.  The Magic Shop has undergone massive refurbishment.  The Magic Shop is what we call the village store.  There were stacks and piles of some articles in the doorway area but mostly you spoke to Keshan, the owner, through a big hatchway, asked for what you wanted AND AS IF BY MAGIC he would produce it from somewhere out of sight.  No matter how esoteric your request would seem.  Well… over the summer it has been transformed into a very high end little modern supermarket – still owned by Keshan.  He is extremely proud of it needless to say.  Nice to see local people prospering from our holidays.

There are also some more small guesthouses going up around the village centre.  There are no large or even medium sized hotels in the village.  I hope it always stays that way.  Just small places run by local people.

After breakfast it was down to the sunbeds and pegging out.  The sun is very hot – you have to have umbrellas.  The beach is very quiet as usual.  More bins out this year.  Not very scenic but they serve a good purpose I suppose although there has never been a litter problem of any note on the beach.  We had a lot of swimming today – it was very calm, no waves at all – or more accurately bobbing up and down in the water.  Lovely.

Joe came down at about 12 having had a good sleep in. A lifelong actor, he is a nightowl, sitting on his balcony till 2am and then sleeping late.  Bob joined him in the shack and they played quite a few games of cribbage.

Came up from the beach at about 4pm and showered off.  Went to Joe’s room for a g&t at about 630 and then headed down to the beach to meet Frede for dinner at Shivas.  A bit of a mixed bag to be honest.  I had dal palak which was delicious.  Bob had prawn masala with pea pilau and a stuffed paratha.  He felt his prawn masala was a load of stodge with only 4 actual prawns.  I tasted it and it was nice but it was thick.  The cocktails were nice – 2 margaritas each and the bill was about £12 with tip so no complaints there.

The beach was lovely tonight and with a huge full moon overhead.  We used to get an amazing star field sky but there is too much ambient light from the shacks now….  A very good first sun day.

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