Diary of a holiday to Goa

If you are thinking about a holiday to Goa and you have never been before then it is a good idea to obtain as much information about the destination from people who have visited that place. Also, even if you have been to Goa before and you have fallen in love with the place it is good to read where other visitors go, what they can receommend you do when you are there and where the best places to eat are.
One of our regular customers has recently returned from Goa and she has written a diary about her 3 week holiday. We have obtained her permission to publish it on our travel blog, so, if you are interested in Goa then …read on !

3 week diary 

I know it is well over 2 months since we returned but unfortunately life takes over but I am going to make an attempt to do my report now.  Like a lot of other people when I look back perhaps we didn’t do much but lay around even though we were full of good intentions and we did read lots of books.  Hope its not too boring for you!I did try to take the rose coloured spectacles off this time and look at things with an open mind.  We did have problems with taxi drivers wanting to rip us off this year although in a way it was a good thing as it got us into using the bus, something we will definitely do in the future. Anyway I will now attempt the report on more or less day by day basis.

Friday/Saturday 11/12 December

Up with the larks (-5o) at 6:00 a.m.  We thought this temperature was unusual, little did we know it would still be this cold 3 months later, the start of the winter freeze.  After a final weigh in with the luggage we left home at 11:15 a.m for Manchester airport and hit a traffic jam for half an hour, fortunately we had plenty of time as we like to arrive early at the airport.  We had a quick check in and found we were 5 kilos under! 

Don’t know how they worked that one out as we had weighed everything about 6 times over before leaving home.  We thought of all the things we hadn’t brought for the children’s home.  We had lunch in Bar MCR where the dirty tables were a sight to behold and after complaining someone came and gave the table a quick wipe over, don’t know what they would have been like after lunch if that is the state of them before the rush.  We never had this problem in Goa, the tables we sat at were always cleaned first.  We like the food in there anyway so soon forgot about it. 

We had a quick run round duty free and had our usual spray of perfume to keep us going and were on the plane (Monarch) in good time although for some reason we ended up leaving half an hour late. We knew we were in for a rough ride and some unauthorised in-flight entertainment when 2 Brummies sat on the aisle seats next to us with their own supply of booze.   They had already had an argument with the stewardess before landing in their seats as she had told them they would be served no more drinks as they were well and truly topped up already.  Little did she know about the haul in their hand luggage! 

After the first round of duty free drinks had been around they produced their first cans and obviously were caught out and denied having any more in their luggage, but were warned they would be in trouble if they were caught drinking their own booze again.  An announcement was then made warning everyone of the dire consequences of being found drinking their own drinks.  A couple of hours later they produced the next round, unfortunately because of their inebriated state they weren’t very good at hiding it and were promptly caught again.  The Chief Stewardess promptly arrived and took their passports and tickets off them and warned them that if they were caught again the Captain would land the plane and they would be put off into the hands of the police.  They then settled down to sleep the rest of the way after much complaining.

We arrived in Goa on time despite the late take off and managed not to have to go through all the Swine Flu check ups for some reason.  We were waived through to the end queue and promptly went through to the baggage reclaim area.  We couldn’t believe it as we looked back at all the people queuing to be seen by all the masked men.  As we were one of the first to check in our luggage unfortunately took its time coming through.  This year we got the tour operator coach to the hotel as we have found over the last few years that the rooms have not been ready when we arrive so early and we are just hanging around anyway so thought we would save our money.  We only had a couple of drop offs so the journey wasn’t too bad.  On arrival we were shown straight to our room in the Senhor Angelo, Calangute.

After quickly unpacking and getting changed we headed for Calangute high street 5 minutes walk away through the little village at the side of the hotel for the usual essentials, i.e. malaria tablets, eye drops, rum and coke and headed to Valerie Travels to change our money.  It didn’t take long to buy the first 2 pairs of sandals either.  We then dropped our shopping off back at the hotel and headed for the beach and what substituted as Beach Queen shack which was a bit of chaos but at least there was something there they could call a shack.  It was lovely and quiet, just like it was when we first went 11 years ago, a shame it didn’t stop like that really but I suppose other people are entitled to their holidays as well! 

After eating lunch we spent the rest of the afternoon catching up with our sleep for a few hours and woke up in time for a banana milkshake while we watched the sunset.  Back to the hotel for a shower and then on to Seashells for dinner followed by a trip to the Sportsmans Bar to watch the ManU game.  After being plied with many drinks there we arrived back at the hotel at 2:00 a.m. – not bad for the first night after travelling through the night before.

Sunday 13 December

We went off to Ashvem/Morjim Beach to The Cool Place shack where we had Lobster for lunch.  New beach huts had been opened at the shack this year which we had a look around.  They were very nice and did consider staying there for a night but after some thought decided they were priced far too high like a lot of other beach huts that seem to be springing up, after all we only need a bed and a shower which is exactly what they give you but at a price.  In the evening we went to the Mermaid and back to Sportsmans Bar for more football.  Bed at 1:00 a.m., a bit earlier this time.

Monday 14 DecemberThe dreaded day, the dentist but this was lightened up by a visit to Chocolati afterwards, not what the dentist ordered!  We walked down to the Museum but couldn’t get in as there was a private tour going on.  We then had our first ever bus ride in Goa back to Calangute which we loved and will definitely do again.  We asked how much and he said 10rps so we gave him 20rps thinking this was each and were very pleasantly surprised to received 10rps back.  We even got a seat, something of a rarity even in England where I live and we got great Bollywood music thrown in.  Once back in Calangute we bought postcards as strangely people at home always want a postcard from Goa, must be for the touch of sun they get in the dismal English winter, we then bought more sandals and paid a visit to the opticians to check out the price of glasses.  Couldn’t order these just yet as I was having a lot of dental treatment done this visit and wanted to be sure I had enough money to pay the dentist first. 

Went to the money exchange on the way back to the hotel and then after depositing our purchases we headed for the beach.  We were waived down by the fruit lady who took us to Sangita’s house, our massage lady, so we spent a few minutes with her catching up and made arrangements with her for our first massage.  Watched the sunset again whilst enjoying a pineapple milkshake.  Saw Sangita again on the way back to the hotel and she invited us for dinner one evening and also invited us to her son’s schools end of year festival. 

In the evening ate at All Spice where we had 2 courses each, 2 G&Ts and 2 Kingfishers for 870rps.  We then called in at the Mirabai for Mojitos but as soon as we had drunk up we left as a crowd of obnoxious Russians came in demanding food even though they had been told it was closed.  The waiters were far too soft as it was obvious the restaurant was closed for the evening, we were the only ones in there and nearly all the lights were out.

Tuesday 15 December

Usual breakfast – toast, no juice this year must be the cut backs but we did pay £10 less for the holiday.  As usual extras could be had but were charged for.  We were happy with toast and tea though as we usually ate far too much in the day anyway.  After breakfast we telephoned Lynne at Candolim Boys Home to make arrangements for taking the things we had brought out for them.  Sangita came to the hotel to collect us and took us to the shack where she works during the day, Peters Shack.  She had worked at Domats shack the year before, Peters was just next door. 

We walked through the villages along the back of the beach which was quite a pleasant walk and we did this every time we went to see her there, much easier than having to muscle our way past all the Indians at the bottom of steps on the beach in Calangute.  We had our massages as soon as we got to the beach, something I had been dreaming of for months, she did a good job of getting rid of all my aches and pains although I have to admit the first massage was the most painful one. 

I have RSI and Sangita is the only person I know who can get rid of the pain so quickly and I have spent hundreds of pounds having massages in England.  Never again.  We then had lunch in the shack which was very nice.  It was good to find yet another good shack and yes we bought even more ankle bracelets to go with the ones we already have.  We went back to our hotel at 5:00 p.m. after another drink.  We went to Casa Portuguese in the evening but Francisco was away until the weekend so after dinner before we left we arranged to go back on the Sunday for a drink there.

Wednesday 16 December

D-Day for dentist! I had a 2 hour appointment and had to have either 1 bridge and a crown or 2 bridges, Sonja didn’t know how many bridges she would have to do until she had taken out my existing crown so I was terrified.  I needn’t have worried though as I didn’t feel a thing, I couldn’t believe it and I did have to have 2 bridges.  After the dentist I headed back to the beach where Liz had spent the morning watching them build the shack, writing postcards and having a manicure and pedicure – a much more relaxing morning than I had had. 

After lunch sunbathed all afternoon and had a sleep in preparation for meeting up with the other regular Brits at The Carvery in Candolim in the evening as it is usually a late night.  We didn’t get much sleep though as we were woken by the sound of someone beating someone up and a boy crying.  I sat up and they were both at the end of my bed.  As I sat up the man gave the boy an almighty crack against the side of his head and knocked him to the floor, I couldn’t sit there and watch him, although no-one else seemed to have a problems with this, so I jumped up and told him to leave him alone, he then told me he was hitting him because he was taking pictures of us and he had the boys camera in his hand. 

Well at my age and with my figure I ought to take that as a compliment so I wasn’t bothered and told him to leave him alone but he carried on and kicked him again at which point the shack owner (Vincent) came down and said something to him.  The man then started on Vincent and the argument went on for at least an hour with the man taking pictures himself of the boys building the shack.  It got more peculiar as it went on.  As it turned out the man apparently objected to our shack being built where it was because that was where his shack was usually built. 

If anyone is familiar with the spot our shack was the Beach Queen shack which for the last 11 years that we have been was on the right hand side as you went onto the beach but is now on the left hand side just a few yards difference.  Anyway I presumed from all this that the poor boy wasn’t taking our pictures but the man was stealing his camera off him to use to take pictures of the shack building to try and cause problems for Vincent.  It was all settled eventually by Vincent going to the licensing authorities and sorting the problem out. 

We eventually got to the Carvery for the meet up and after s a lovely meal met up with everyone with Chilly holding court and Mike regaling us with stories of their trip in the summer, we also met Travellingtrina and OH, Split & OH, Mike R, Chris & Alfie, Dragon7 and family and I am sure there were others whose names I am ashamed to say I have forgotten.  Trina did try to make things easy for us by making name badges for us all though.  After more than a few home made Baileys we were the last to leave as usual after a good night which made us feel really settled in.

Thursday 17 December

Dentist day again, this time for Liz at 9.15 a.m.  She had an injection free filling and didn’t feel a thing much to her relief.  Sonja really is a brilliant dentist.  I stayed by the pool at the hotel and finished writing the postcards and Liz was back for 10 am. so we headed off to the beach.  3 out of 4 days we have had no lunch so must be good for the waistline.  Left the beach at 3.30 and went back to the hotel for a shower and headed for Sangita’s house (our massage lady) and had a cup of tea with her and her daughter before heading off to the Dom Bosco boarding school which her son attends Monday to Friday at the other side of Panjim.  T

he show the school put on was absolutely amazing and we would have paid good money to see it.  We did look around for some kind of collection box but there was none to be seen.  We had a look around the school and thanked the school principal and the end of the evening, they do an amazing job at this school.  Sangita never stopped smiling with pride for her son all night long.  She works and saves really hard to send him to this school where they are only allowed to speak English.  We will definitely be back at the school for next year’s festival.  We arrived back in Calangute at about 9 pm and went to Sudans for dinner.

Friday 18 December

Dentist for me again today, only 1 hour this time, while Liz hit the beach.  I joined her later in the morning and we had lunch in the makeshift shack, they were still building the proper one.  We left the beach at 3.30 to go to Candolim Boys Home.  We took lots of party stuff for their party the next day and also lots of things for school which our friend had donated from her stationery company.  We stayed for about 1 hour and chatted to Lynne and took photographs and Lynne told us about all the bad weather in England and the airports being shut. 

On the way back to the hotel we tried to find Chilly’s place but weren’t very successful, definitely don’t do house numbers around her.  Wouldn’t have been any good anyway as we found out at the next meet up she had been doing too much ‘coffee’ drinking over the past 24 hours and was in a recovery position!  We then went on to Dangui Opticians in Calangute and ordered our glasses and contact lenses then back to the hotel for a drink at the bar.  After a shower and making ourselves look a bit more civilised we headed for Nishas where we met some lads from Castleford on their first trip to Goa, they were loving every minute.  We told them about the meet ups and other local delights then finished the night of at Mirabai for a late night Mojito.

Saturday 19 December

On the way to the beach we met up with Jenny another of our long term friends from whom we usually buy from on the beach.  She introduced us to her son Raju who had now left school and was working and yes we did buy some more sarongs and jewellery.  We then went to Peters Shack for a massage from Sangita where we stayed for the day.  In the evening we ate at Kasandras, the cheapest meal so far.  This is an old haunt of ours from the days when restaurants were in short supply and we had to eat mostly in hotels.  We like to go back for old times sake and the food is still just as good and cheap.  We then went on to the Sportsmans Bar for football then met up with Raju and took him for a drink at Mirabai.  We had 2 Mojitos each, he had Fanta.  After he left we watched a dancing competition on TV with the staff in the restaurant, something like X-Factor, it was hilarious.  Another late night/early morning.

Sunday 20 December

A day on the beach for a long rest.  The shack officially opened today and the priest came to bless it.  It was very busy and difficult to get a table at lunchtime.  We were invited to the official opening party in the evening.  It was a good night, we had a meal a few drinks and a good dance.  We weren’t too late into bed for once though.

Monday 21 December

After a nice long sleep we went into Calangute to book the trip to Agonda – Paradise Beach.  Unfortunately the trip was fully booked all the way through the rest of our holiday.  She said she would try and get someone to change their dates so we could go but unfortunately this didn’t work out.  We will have to book as soon as we get there next year.  We then walked down to the Post Office, replenished our rum stock and then down to the beach where Liz had a manicure.  We went to Over the Flames in the evening where we had a fantastic meal as usual and booked to go back for Xmas day dinner.

Tuesday 22 December

We did some washing before spending the rest of the day on the beach.  It was a bit hazy and humid today and not much sun around so I had a manicure.  On the way back to the hotel we passed the little shop where we get our water, coke and other bits and pieces from and they came out after us to give us a Xmas present which we thought was lovely.  We went to Alfresco in Apora in the evening and then to Mirabai for our usual Mojito.

Wednesday 23 December

Peters Shack to see Sangita for another massage.  Weather looks back to normal today.  The police arrived on the beach just as my massage was completed and suddenly half the sunbeds were removed from the beach but we had a laugh while the dogs chased the Police away, they are frightened of something then!  It was nice to see them running away for a change.  Liz had her massage in the afternoon when everything had calmed down.  As it was Wednesday we went to the meet up again and met up with Travellingtrina, Dragon7, Robbie, Chilli, Split, Chris&Alfie and friends and OH’s.  Another great night and good meal not to mention a few glasses of the home made Baileys.

Thursday 24 December

Today we went to The Cool Place at Ashvem Beach again where we had crab for lunch.  After lunch we walked up to La Plage but all along the beach around this area it was like Benidorm cum Russia.  The beach area was absolutely packed, we couldn’t believe it, it used to be so nice and quiet around this area so we headed back to our quiet spot, there are some still to be found.  The electricity went off twice whilst we were getting ready to go out.  We found the electricity went off a lot this year, far more times than it has over the last few years.  Last year we never had one power cut.  We ate at Infantaria in the evening and went to the new Cricket bar, which is where Rabbie Burns used to be, for cocktails. 

Friday 25 December

We went to get some more money changed then headed for the beach for the day.  It was manic on the beach today with Indians 10 deep.  We didn’t even try and get into the shack at lunchtime but just had fresh fruit salad and juice on our sunbed and had a detox.  Power cut again, while getting ready to go out.  Went to Over the Flames for Christmas Dinner where we met Chris and Louise from Walsall, invited them to the meet up  next week.  We had a 4 course meal which included beef and turkey and entertainment.  We had a great night and will go back next year for Xmas dinner.

Saturday 26 December

We were up early today to go to Chandor to visit the House of Chandor and Fernandez House.  These were amazing places and I must thank, I think it was, Lassigirl for telling us about these places.  We thought Fernandez House was the most interesting but the House of Chandor was full of the most amazing furniture and Ming China and the people in both houses were really nice and friendly.  Would definitely recommend this trip.  We went onto Majorda beach in the afternoon, a new one for us.  There seemed to be lots of Russians here but we went to the far end and to Alberts Shack which was nice and quiet.  We had a lovely meal in there and although it was another hazy day we thoroughly enjoyed it.  Went to Pagoda in the evening.  We used to love this restaurant but wont go again.  2 years ago we found that it didn’t seem as good so gave it a miss last year, we thought we would give it another try this time in case it was just having a bad night last time but we didn’t really enjoy it.  As can be expected at this time of the year the traffic was manic around Calangue/Baga.  Back to Mirabai for our Mojito fix before bed.

Sunday 27 December

Went to Domat shack for a change this morning, we like the food in here and it was nice to see everyone again.  We then walked down the beach to Candolim to collect our wristbands for the Sunburn festival which starts today.  The venue had moved this year which confused us somewhat but eventually we were tagged and had a look around before heading back to the hotel.  Another dull day.  We headed for Sunburn at 7.30 and stayed until it finished at 10 pm and then walked down the road to Tonys Place for dinner.

Monday 28 December

Dentist for me again today – more dull weather, getting worrying.  Brightened up fortunately.  Tried the museum in Candolim again but still closed for private parties.  Went to opticians to collect glasses and bought drinks to take home.  Went back down to beach and on way left a shopping list with the little shop listing all the things we like to take home, e.g. nuts, soap, polos (very cheap in Goa) and said we would collect on Wednesday.  Had lunch and a sleep on beach before Sunburn tonight.  The festival was much busier this year, 15,000 over 3 days.  We decided we would get VIP tickets next time, had enough of being trampled under foot.  Went to Infernos for dinner after the festival at 10 pm but had to wait over half an hour for a table while the obnoxious Russians and Indians forced their way to any vacant table.  We British are too polite, we always have to queue.  Our various courses were all brought at different times and they brought the bill as soon as they took the plate away and refused to let us have anything else as they wanted to close, wasn’t impressed.  We weren’t the only people in there at the time.  Won’t go back.

Tuesday 29 December

Can’t believe it, another overcast day, but nevertheless down to the beach, we needed the rest before the final long stint at Sunburn.  Went to usual Beach Queen shack and after lunch headed for Sunburn arriving at about 4.30 pm.  We danced until 10 pm and my feet were numb and I could hardly walk but we managed to stagger to the Roma Pisa on Candolim Beach Road caked in dust.  We headed for the toilets first and tried to clean ourselves up a bit.  We were very impressed with Roma Pisa and will definitely go back again, the staffs were very nice and friendly.  After leaving we had the usual arguments with the taxi drivers who wanted 300rps back to Calangute, we told them what we thought about that and carried on walking and picked a cheaper taxi up on the main road.  We got out of the taxi at the Mirabai and booked a table for New Years Eve.

Wednesday 30 December

Overcast!  Glad we didn’t come out last week, would have been most upset with this weather.  Dentists for final visit  and then went to collect contact lenses from opticians.  They still hadn’t arrived from the supplier so I paid for them and he promised to post them to me.  (See separate post on this).  We picked up our shopping from the little beach shop and then we headed Peters Shack to see Sangita for a well earned massage after yesterday’s 5½ hour dance marathon and hoping that the sun might make some kind of appearance. Back at the hotel late afternoon we did some packing, couldn’t put it off any longer, the final day was looming unfortunately.  Back to the Carvery in the evening for the meet up for food and drinks with Travellingtrina, Dragon7, Chilly, Split, Chris&Alfie and OHs and friends and obviously some I have missed the names of.  At the end of the night we said fond farewells to everyone until next year and arrived back at the hotel at 1:30 am after usual arguments with taxis.  As mentioned before, never had so much trouble with taxis as this year.

Thursday, 31 December

Hurrah! Woke up to sunshine today, thank goodness.  Made the most of it by staying on the beach all day with a final manicure.  Back to reality next week doing my own again.  The beach was manic with Indians again but I suppose it is their country after all so we can’t complain too much.  In the evening we had dinner at the Mirabai, we took Jenny and Raju with us.  Jenny was in her element, she had never been in a restaurant before and had really dressed for the occasion.  It was nice to see her looking so happy, she has had a really hard, sad life but brought up her son brilliantly.  She gave us both presents of a bag to add to our collection. 

The entertainment was very good in the restaurant but the meal was only average but Jenny and Raju enjoyed their food.  After dinner about 11:00 pm we headed back to the hotel and got changed to head down to the beach for fireworks at midnight.  We were given seats within the confines of the shack which was well barricaded from the crowds but unfortunately they didn’t manage to keep the ‘unwanted guests’ out and fighting ensued in their attempts to evict them and so we headed back to the hotel at 1 a.m.  It was a shame as we had such a great time on new years eve last year but I think we were probably just lucky as it was a lot quieter due to the terrorist threats.

Friday, 1 January

Sadly our last day, we completed the packing and headed off to the beach where we both had a facial to get rid of all the grime and grease we had been plastering on for 3 weeks.  Sangita had invited us to her home for dinner in the evening which was nice as we wanted an earlier night as we had to leave the hotel at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday morning.  After dinner at Sangita’s we went for our last Mojito at Mirabai and said goodbye to the boys in there.

Saturday, 2 January

We had an uneventful journey home back to the cold weather of England, all the washing and ironing and work the following week.BUT we have now booked again for 3 weeks from 10 December 2010 and are already planning our holiday.  Jenny has invited us to her home to give us cooking lessons and hopefully we will get our overnight trip to Agonda and get into the museum in Candolim.  We are bringing a first timer out with us too so may be doing repeat trips to show him the best of Goa.  The only bad thing about that is we come home on new years day so it looks as though we wont be having any sleep.

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