When we woke to set off to Goa we both said it felt like we were going on a holiday within a holiday if you know what that means. We quite excited to get on our way with the knowledge we could have a good break and a recharge. Not to mention a few beers, some seafood and plenty of sun. On all our journeys we have made sure we have arrived in plenty of time for our departures (usually 1 hr - 1 and a half before). This is mainly to suss out the station which can be pretty big and hard to get around. Mumbai was no different, but we were both a little pissed to find that our 655am departure to Goa was now going at 1130am but eventually left the station at 1pm. Yes a hell of a delay, we were'nt that bothered all in a day of a life of a traveller in India I'm afraid. The omelette sarnies in Mumbai station were ace.
Another observation we have made while travelling on trains and buses is how nice some people are and how interested and pleased they are you have chosen to visit their country. However old indian ladies are the rudest people we have come across. They think they should be spoon fed from the age of 50 and without them onboard the train or the bus there would not be a service.
Our sleeper journey to Goa was ok, we were sat with a family for a change and Matthew got talking to some Indian lads that were having a break from studying. This developed into card games and Matthew taught them how to play crash. This took easily 30 minutes before we got into a game, it did'nt matter it was fun and it passed the time quite well. Gemma slept most of this journey for a change.
Due to our delay we were able to phone ahead and get a room in Benaulim which was lucky because we did'nt arrive until 230am the following day.
We chose Benaulim on another travellers experience and we did'nt really know what to expect as both our guides realy did'nt focus on the place.
It surpassed our expectations, quiet with not to many large hotel resorts, not alot of travellers, a fantastically long clean beach with a good choice of resturants on the shore line. Our guesthouse was also good value, but when we found out later that Kim and Steve were paying the same as us and they had a fridge and 2 balconies we were dead jealous. They were in the middle of 2 month stay in this place though which also made us jealous again.
Most of our days were spent at the beach we would go next door for eggs and beans (beans untampered with great). Take a 30 min walk down the beach to the even quieter part, lay in the sun (Matthew under 2 brollies) both with factor 60 sunscreen on, take at least 5 trips to the sea, caught some waves with the boogie board, yes I know impulse buy, have'nt worked out yet how this will be carted around the world for next 10 months, but sod it!
The one thing we did do other than sit on the beach was have a cooking lesson. We met a really nice man called Shiva who sold us some post cards and tried to get us to go on a bird watching walk. We said that it wasn't our thing but did he know where we could get a cooking lesson from. He immediately nominated his wife without even asking her. I'm sure she loved that bit of news when he got home that night!
So the Sunday before christmas Shiva picked us up in a Tuk-Tuk, we stopped off to buy the ingredients and then went to his house to meet his wife and 3 kids. Shiva and the 3 kids could all speak really good English. Shiva's wife spoke basic English, but Blue the eldest son translated for us so we could write it down. We made a Dahl, a vegatable and lentil dish, Masala Fish(that was gorgeous) and another dish that we were not keen on. It had a vegetable called bittergourd in it that was extemely bitter even with a lot of sugar in the dish. It was not pleasant, Matthew and i came to the conclusion that they must eat it for health reasons because they did tell us that it has an antiseptic in it! The best part of the day was when we had to make the Chapati's. Matthew went first and he did ok, but his chapati was square. It was my turn next and i did slightly better in the fact it resembled a circle, but it wasnt that great either.
We found the day with Shiva and his family really rewarding as we have contributed to their daily meals for the folowing few days. It was also a really good experience to spend a full day with a goan family and eat traditional goan food.
While at the beach on some days we asked around if there was any special things the resturants did on Christmas eve and day. It seeemed like there was a few places that did special buffets and we opted for Pedros seafood one for 350 rupees each (4 pounds each) the seafood was divine with the biggest mussels we had seen. washed down with about 4 - 5 large kingfishers each we really got into Christmas mood especially beacause we had our flashing hats on.
Christmas day was no different to the other days at the beach accept we met Kim and Steve who were staying in the same guesthouse. We did'nt make it home from the beach, watched the sunset and got in at 330am well oiled again.
It was nice to spend time with Kim and Steve and we found we all had alot in common, especially where it came to sharing our experiences from Inida.
However every good thing has to come to any end and with recharged enthusiasm we booked a train to Cochin in Kerala for New Year and with the Far East fast approaching better start researching a new guide book.