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Published: February 24th 2011
We just came from the mountains where the autorickshaws were open sided and now that we are at the beach, they have doors! Add to that, the driver had a warm jacket and a touque on. At his suggestion we headed to Calagute and once there, drove down some narrow roads until he stopped at 2 guesthouses and knocked on the door at 6:30am. Kelly did a scrutiny of the offered rooms and we choose Cayden’s Place, where we have been ever since. Our room was a bit small and we did some searching for an alternative place – lots of variation in prices and sizes of rooms (some even apartments). What was particularly interesting was that we were shown rooms that people were already staying in – which prompted us to make sure that we left ours tidy all the time. Eventually we thought to ask the owners of Cayden’s if they had bigger rooms – they did and we eventually moved into a huge apartment (living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and large balcony) for only 100 rs more than what we were already paying. When Kelly was shown this place, the current occupants were actually still asleep. Wonderful owners
(a young family) and spick and span rooms. It is a trifle noisy overnight – once the bikes and voices quit, the dogs and roosters start up.
This is package tourist land with lots of Brits and Russians – the beaches are lined with beach shacks selling all manner of drinks and food and rickety wood sun loungers complete with tatty umbrellas stretching as far as you can see. The road into the main town is lined with stalls selling all sorts of Indian goods aimed at the tourist – jewellery, clothing, lamps, sandals, pashminas.
Cheap, decent food is a little challenging to find – the beach shacks all serve various Goan fish dishes (very reasonably priced by Canadian standards, but not when you compare it to what we have paid in other parts of the country). Every menu includes extensive “british selections” such as shepherds pie and pork chops. And getting a decent cup of chai and an Indian breakfast is almost unheard of. However, there are a few excellent coffee bars around! I fretted a little about having to pay 40rs for a cappucino – but compare that to the 222 rs an equivalent Starbucks cappuccino
would cost and that puts it into perspective. And we have found some eating gems – the shev puri, tandoori prawns and pau bahji that we got from the street stalls for my birthday dinner (120rs)and the Goan chilly chicken and onion kulcha that we had at Sia’s Viva Goa in Candolim. Kulcha is an unleavened bread like naan and stuffed with whatever…I am not sure how this differs from Paratha. And then there is kashmiri naan – naan wrapped around a mixture of banana,, pineapple and cashews.
Activities revolve around swimming in the warm Arabian Sea, lazing in the sun and perusing market stalls. We did rent a moped for the day and went as far north as the fort at Chapora and as far south as the fort at Aguada. Stunning scenery of coconut palms, beaches, old Portuguese stone houses, elephants – at least I was appreciating the scenery – Kelly was busy concentrating on the road, avoiding pot holes, judder bars, goats, cows, elephants and other vehicles and pedestrians.
(Oh, the fun of driving in India is first off getting used to driving on the other side of the road which is not hard until
your concentration slips. The joys of driving amidst a bunch of aggressive lunatics who are quite the opposite when not on something motorized. Our moped we rented was a little too small for my long legs and if I didn’t keep them splayed , the handgrips would lock on my knees when in a turn. Driving is easy once the roadrules are understood.
1. Give way
2. Don’t make sudden moves and stay left unless passing
3. Use your horn and not your mirrors
Driving during the day is one thing – night is not recommended. But we found oursel ves away after dark, so when in Rome……. Things we never do at home. KD)
Petrol is sold by the liter in old water bottles at roadside stalls. While “filling up’ we got an update on the Cricket World Cup which is taking place in India now. Canada had lost their game but “Canada is not good at cricket. The good countries are New Zealand (yay), Australia, India, England and West Indies”
Tomorrow night we take the sleeper train to Kozhikode and start the next phase of our trip by spending two weeks at an ayurvedic center. Should
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