We’ve hsd our first Farewell from the group. Sheena, Dave, James and Matthew left in the early hours of the morning to return to the world of work. Their time seemed to go so fast but they really enjoyed themselves and we, of course, enjoyed their company. Had a farewell dinner at Casa Fiesta last night – all 14 of us – which was a lot of fun. The staff managed very well with our huge table. There was much fish pollichattu on the table!!!

The hot weather continues but not as hot as Monday. I had breakfast on the beach with Fi because Stuart and Bob were playing golf again. It’s a great time of day – the beach is so peaceful and the sea at its calmest.

Yesterday we experienced the annual farce that occurs when the Tourist Officials come ‘unannounced’ to inspect the beach. It has been going on as long as we have been coming to Goa. We were lying on our beach beds about 11am when all the boys in all the shacks came running out and started packing them up and carrying them back into the shack. They remove everything – tables, chairs, beds, sunshades….. It is illegal to have anything on the beach unless you pay some sort of very expensive licence apparently which hardly any of them do. The inspection party came round about lunchtime and walked up the beach checking everywhere. They could hardly fail to miss the drag marks in the sand or the stacks of umbrellas and beds just inside the shack borders!!!!! They departed about 3pm and everything came back out again.

The Tourist Authorities have some very odd ideas really. On one hand they want and need to promote foreign tourism in Goa. But they seem to fail to understand what western tourists want in some respects. A very large proportion of tourists here are 50+. They are not going to come if they have to lie on the hot sand with no shade. Obviously there is a need to protect the turtle beaches but Patnem and Palolem are not turtle beaches. The powers that be issue a list of rules ie no hawkers, no sunshades, no tables etc and then pay the merest lip service to enforcement. Thank heavens in some ways….

Patnem continues in its quiet and quirky ways…..

The sunsets have been spectacular and the clear skies have shown the stars and planets clearly. Last night Venus and Jupiter were clear almost in a line above us and we could see Orion’s Belt and the Plough. Not as well as it used to be before the shacks got so well lit, but pretty good .