2007 marked completion of 21 years of our regular visits to Goa most often bi annually. Nothing can profess better how high it rates on our favourite holiday locations list. The sea, sand, surf, chilled out environs, virginal beaches ( some), garnished with lip smackingly divine cuisine ….all ingredients which spell ‘memorable holidays’.
The ‘Kaul Family’ can today boast of being virtually efficiandos in the field of recommendations for leading the ‘good life’ in Goa. Cross my heart. The best eateries, Goanese style, or Malvani, the best beaches, the most happening destinations.. all you have to do is ask and it shall be revealed.
But mind you, it didnt come easy. The trial and error phase was excruciatingly unnerving. Horrendous restaurants with sickening foodstuff, stuffy service , where cheating happened regularly right from your first drink, which was usually not what you had expected neither in quantity nor in the brand, followed by, say, Chicken Cafreal which was a pathetically manufactured dish, made from ready to eat green paste, left refrigerated for weeks and churned out to unsuspecting customers as the famed cafreal but came nowhere close.
Innumerable visits and tear stricken evenings slowly began to reveal the gems that lay hidden in Goa. Oooohh the beaches, virginal white sands, few knew of, where lazy afternoons were spent on shacks, underneath which sea water lapped warmly embracing your feet, chilled beer and huge prawns, mussels, fried to perfection. A good book and heaven was close.
This year we were lucky to get our bookings for Xmas and New year in Goa, which left us purring in glee and wide eyed anticipation of a joyous vacation. South Goa, where Taj Exotica is located is quieter with sprawling bungalows and unendingly wide and serene roads, almost empty beaches, compared with the maddening pace of Calangute – Baga area, with its hustle bustle, a hotch potch of tourists and bazaar both vibrating with energy..but not our cup of tea , especially this year. We were in a somber mood and wished to take it easy, simultaneously enjoying the proximity to nature which is inescapable if living in south Goa with its farm lands and quaint small town feel..perfect…or rather…Purrrrfect 🙂
We spent a good ten days which got over in a jiffy despite the langurous pace of living adopted by Goa-ites and us in tandem. Its amazing how Goa can just sleep..I actually mean..sleep between 2-4 p.m. Siesta time is a must there…come what may and believe that itself is so refreshing especially after Mumbai ..the city which never does. So shopping etc has to be scheduled accordingly, which can get pretty tricky. How? Well consider this.. our day began at noon while they were mid way into theirs, and now off for their siesta…so we found ourselves exclaiming ‘drat’ at regular intervals.
A typical Goa day begins with a late-ish breakfast , after a swim. Porridge on the terrace overlooking the pool, followed by a sinful, ham, salami, beacon, egg, sausages treat, saved only by the fact that its been cooked in olive oil.. as if that could melt away the thousand calories one has ingested, sans guilt.
A drive to a far away beach at Morjim or Vagator, or the really secluded other such like, ready for beer and sea food, dressed in goan chic or beach bare wear ( the terms been concocted as of now), body creamed to the hilt with sunscreen of SPF50, in the least..Goan sun is unrelenting. It bears down on you in all its brazen glory, while you darken into a mud cake apologetically.
Speaking of cakes..the legendary plum cake has been reduced to a legend in that its almost extinct. Belonging to the tribe who swears by a good bitter sweet plum cake mariated for three months before baking with its rummy flavour , I must warn you that what is available in goa at most places is a shameful chocolate with tutti fruiti kind of feel..light years away from the real one. However not habituated to giving up easily have located the bakery that yet adheres to the origins of plum caki-ing in Madhgaon.. a smallish one,modestly placed in the middle of a busy market but for me, it brought out a wide grin at the aroma it emanates. Of course it stores Bebinca as well! Not a great fan of it as much as hubby. For me its Plum and no other. I brought back a dozen or so … never know when this last bakery might just disappear from the face of the earth ( God Forbid!)
Surprise that awaited us this time was the Winters that greeted us in Goa. it was a minimum of 21 degrees which is COLD according to Goan standards. We actually found ourselves in jackets and shawls , late evenings ..and not daring to venture into the pool for a pre dinner swim.
When in Goa do as Goans do was a dictum we followed to the T. We celebrated Xmas goan style..had a great meal ,went for mass , prayed to Jesus Christ, heard soulful hymns beautifully sung and revelled in the flavour so uniquely Goa. New years eve was beach advent.. complete with wine, lobsters, fireworks and transparent joy crossing boudaries of races.. it was a new year for All.. so was the festivity. Good fun.
Its well nigh impossible to condense a vacation in Goa into few words on a blogpost. if one picture is equal to a thousand words, I guess I’d rather post some to depict visually what our trip encapsulated this time.
Find below pics of a visit to the church of saint Francis Xavier whose mortal remains have defied nature and have not decomposed for hundreds of years. Its an awe inspiring church. A visit to the flea market at Anjuna every wednesday, meals at martins Corner, which incidentally is also a favourite of Sachin Tendulkars and is our absolute regular haunt. Some tme ago , around 5-7 years back we swore by ‘O coqueiro’ the restaurant that got famous after Charles sobhraj was arrested there by inspector Zende when he escaped from jail.However, the quality has deteriorated, although the crowd has increased. but we are connoisseurs.. remember? Only the best can satisfy our palate..no compromises… Na..na.
A visit to the Nageshi, Mahalakshmi, Shanta Durga, Mangueshi temples was the highlight of our stay. Oh I am the temple going kind…. love the deities and the extravagance they live in. The peace it exudes, and the faith that gets re invigorated is worth it all.
So guys enjoy these exclusive pics selected from 500 or so other.. shot by hubby.. painstakingly if I may add. He actually carried three kinds of cameras and his tall tripod. You might discern the quality of the pics as being different as in ‘higher level’. It helps to have a professional as a hubby at such times.. at least memories are always well documented.
Notice the sea of sand…un stepped on..
Believe it or not this a snap of the moon rising at approx 6.30 p.m. simultaneously while the sun was setting on the horizon..what a sight it was!
The Casket of St. Francis Xavier with his miraculous body.
Breathtakingly Beautiful Interior Of Church Of St. Francis Xavier
At Anjuna- Crystal Guy..Loved his ears
Go karting in Goa
Glimpse of Go Karting Track
Martins Corner- For Good food and good times
King Crab; Sachin Tendulkars fave at Martins . Mine too
pics are in high resolution..taking a while to upload.. am at it..
Mangueshi temple- dedicated to Lord Shiva
Nageshi temple- Another Form Of Rudra Shiva
and oh yeah.. Have a Rocking year ahead guys..2008 will be Great!!
Three pics on slideshow..watch!