Holi, Colours, New Arrivals and A Boat Trip With Eagles

We are just coming to the end of the 5 day Holi festival/holiday in India. It is a festival of colours where life and the promise of new beginnings is celebrated. It’s always been relatively low key in Patnem due to the split community of Christians and Hindus plus holidaymakers but these days there are more mainland Indian tourists here and this year it is bigger than we’ve seen it before. There is always a lot of drumming that goes on for some hours. And a lot of family activities. On one day lots of homes in the neighbourhood open their doors and welcome all comers with food and drink and socialising. On another day there is dancing at various open houses. Of course the most famous bit of Holi is the paint throwing and the paint parties. The paints are powdered organic compounds and you buy bags of these bright colours and throw them over each other. It’s a lot of fun as long as you are wearing your old clothes. Around here you are still pretty safe – people won’t do it if you aren’t obviously taking part.

We had a lot of fun on the beach colouring ourselves – it all washed off in the sea.

We had new arrivals on Monday morning. Lucy’s long time friend James arrived for a weeks stay with his lovely lady, Emma. They live in Dubai now but James is from Leeds and we’ve known him since he was 16. They had a slightly daunting start when they arrived at their beach accommodation at about 0530 to find no one about and had to resort to sleeping on beach loungers for a few hours accompanied by a party of beach dogs naturally. All is now well however.

We have had some good meals out of course. Dropadi, Tantra, Casa Fiesta….. The weather remains hot – 36C during the day and about 26 at night.

Today we went back to Palolem to take our long awaited river trip to see the mangroves and the birds. Its the most spectacular hour and the best £3 fare ever. You are punted up river and into the mangroves and the boatman points out all the birds and features that are hard to spot for the uninitiated. Then at a quiet spot on the river he pulls to the side and takes out a bag of chicken bits that he throw out. All of a sudden you are surrounded by swooping red and black kites and huge sea eagles. They swoop in and grab the chicken from the water or even the air. An amazing sight. We also saw cormorants and a kingfisher plus other colourful water birds. Amazing.