Pampering, New Glasses and Palolem

We’ve had a busy few days. On Thursday Bob and I went to Margao, the largest town in South Goa for the morning. The principal reason for the visit was so that I could get my nails done at a salon there. It is currently impossible to get anything other than the most basic manicure in Patnem or Palolem and I have laboured long on my talons…. too long to have them butchered. And they would be as I know from bitter experience.

Clive organised a really nice car to take us for the roughly one hour trip. It cost £20 to go, spend about 2 hours there and then come back. He was a good driver (not always the case) so we now have his number. I really like the journey to Margao. You pass over quite a hill range, covered in deciduous trees that have the look of English woods as autumn is coming on. There’s a haze over the valleys that is caused by heat but could just be an autumn mist…… Of course there are patches of tropicals – bananas etc. There’s a lot of water here and you see lakes and large tanks of water for crop irrigation. Smallholdings growing many different types of vegetables, small bustling villages full of dusty looking shops and general stores…. As you get closer to Margao, the Portugese heritage of Goa becomes more visible: beautiful colonial era Catholic churches, white fronted with bell towers and great wooden doors. Often the churches have courtyard walls decorated with blue and white Portugese tiling, absolutely gorgeous. I also love the old colonial era bungalows nestled in the trees with their great wraparound porches. Some of them have been renovated from their sleepy collapse and look very splendid, others are projects waiting to be tackled.

Margao itself is a mixture of the stately old Portugese heritage and the dusty chaos of a modern Indian town. Ugliness and beauty hand in hand. Anyway, we found Nail Master Manish (great name) easily enough thanks to Google Maps. Bob waited in the ac lounge while I was tended to. Super service and I was highly delighted with the results – £16 plus taxi ride. I probably can get away without another visit till I get home, but maybe the girls will want to go when they are over and we can have a girly trip.

yep… all mine…not stuck on!!!

We got the taxi to take us back to Chaudi rather than the hotel because we’d had a text from Durga Optics to say our glasses were ready. They’d done a fabulous job with mine. New lenses in Lucy’s posh frames. She used to go to a very trendy optician near Brick Lane in London which was definitely not Specsavers. Very pleased with the lenses and the difference in vision was noticeable. Bob got his two pairs too and they are very good. It was a bargain. £180 for 5 pairs of glasses, 2 of them being varifocal.

Had a rest in the cool and then went across the road to the little beauty salon there and got a pedicure. Your feet take a bit of a beating out here due to the sand and dust so it is good to get a real scrub and a file over them every few weeks. I must say that the lady at Golden salon did a fantastic job including a foot and lower leg massage and all the works. It was £8 for about 75 minutes. I shall definitely go again.

Thursday night we ate at Cow Corner which was lovely as usual. Sheena and family were all very impressed with the food – they hadn’t been before. The chicken in mushroom sauce is just to die for. It’ s the sauce really. I could eat a pot of it on its own.

Yesterday we all hied off to Cozy Nook at the far north end of Palolem Beach. Of course we had our favourite breakfasts – I had a mushroom and spinach omelette, Bob had poached eggs on rosti. YUM! It was just an idyllic day. The sea is so calm and clear there, you can just bask in it for hours. Sheena and the fellas went on the birding boat trip up the river at that end of the beach. They were excited to see the kites and sea eagles feeding and also the kingfishers, bee catchers, cormorants and other birds. The scenery is lovely and it is a world away from the beach.

Last night we all ate at Little Ganesh in Patnem. We have learned it is better to split the party into two tables booked 30 minutes apart. That way we can all be together but it doesn’t overwhelm the service. A most enjoyable evening. Food was very good and cheap there, as usual. Bob had chicken biriani – a huge mound. I had a bowl of dal palak and another of aubergine curry, 2 g&ts and 2 beers. A tenner including tip. Brilliant. There was some lovely music from Cow Corner as we walked past. Might have to go there next Friday night if they have it again.

Good days.

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