Arrivals, Passport Dramas, Beach Days and Fireworks

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We have had a couple of lovely days relaxing in the sun on Patnem Beach.  Just swimming and sunning.  Not to say there haven’t been some dramas and heartstopping moments.

Our daughter Daisy flew out from the UK on Thursday with Qatar Airways from Gatwick.  Or rather, she was scheduled to……  She arrived early at the airport for check in and was very surprised when the desk clerk seemed to be making a very close inspection of her passport.  She was even more surprised and totally distraught when he announced that he was not happy with its condition and that it would have to be referred to Indian immigration authorities to see if they would agree to let her fly.  Her passport has one year left to run, and the cover is a bit worn but the inside pages are all intact, the photo page clear and she used it to enter France just a few weeks ago.  Anyway, she had to stand at the desk for 50 agonising minutes, sobbing, while they took photos of it which were sent off for a decision.  She called us and of course all we could do was pace the beach helplessly, blood pressure soaring like a coffee pot perking…. eventually she was allowed to proceed but it was a horrible occasion when she was staring down not only the loss of her holiday but the cost of the plane ticket, a considerable sum to a young person.  I have since researched this, found newspaper articles and apparently Qatar are exceptionally rigorous in this for some reason and stop one person at least on every flight.  So…. be warned: if your passport is nearing the end of its life and you are approaching a Qatar flight, it would be wise to renew it in advance.

Happily the rest of her journey proceeded very well and in Doha she met up with two friends of ours from Cyprus, Pamela and Eddie, also on their way to Patnem. They came by the same car from the airport to Patnem, arriving around 415, a very speedy transfer having landed at 0240.

We had eaten at Ciaran’s in Palolem that night.  Nice food, lovely jugs of sangria, brilliant live music from Lonesome Guy but dreadful service.  Pity.

We had a brief chat with Daisy and then grabbed a few hours sleep, getting down to the beach at about 10. Saw the local cow herd on the way down and the lovely village primary school having a singsong in the playground.  I love their uniforms – very old-fashioned English style.

Friday night we ate at Namaste on the beach.  We were a big party because we were joined by Heather and Chris, also friends from Cyprus. who are staying with 4 of their friends in Patnem.  Had a lovely dinner which ended with a most amazing firework display from one of the other shacks.  Someone’s birthday I should think.  It went on for about 15 minutes. They love fireworks here – any excuse for a display.  The biggest ones are Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve on the beaches when they are literally raining down from heaven on you.  Most nights there will be fireworks somewhere though.

Tonight we ate at Casa Fiesta in Patnem.  It’s one of our favourite restaurants on the beach, and Mick and Christine liked it too as they chose it for their final dinner.  Sadly, their two weeks are up tomorrow and they fly back to the UK.   We have enjoyed their company so much, we hope they will come back again another year. Anyway, a very good dinner.  Margaritas were 2 for 1 and delicious..  Daisy and I both had the same main dish which was a large, thick fillet of kingfish in a cheese and mushroom sauce, with vegetables and chips.  Bob had a chicken pad thai.  It was about £8 per head including 2 cocktails each.

Came back to eve’s for nightcaps and turned in….

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