Posts Tagged ‘Goa’

For those dear readers and followers of my occasional missives you will know of the strange situations and sometimes confusion regarding my first name. ‘Why, Where, Who’ helps to explain a little, as does searching for ‘Carol’, …check it out, top right.

What I find difficult to fathom is how both in India and here in Pelekas, people refer to me by obscure names. OK, in general, fortunately, they do begin with the letter ‘S’ apart from the ‘C’ word, no pun intended. For those who know my world well, you will understand my disbelief that out of the Greek blue, our new landlord, despite numerous times informing and correcting him, he insists on calling me ‘Sheila’.

In India, I had to repeatedly answer to ‘Shirley’, strangely enough also to our landlord there. You can tell I’m getting used to this.

It was only at the end of our migration to Goa that I was told the reason why Shirley was the chosen title. It was tactfully explained by our dear friend Amin that saying the word ‘Sally’ and addressing it to me would have been totally out of order. The equivalent word in Indian would be like shouting across the street at me saying ‘Hey you, Bitch!”. Funny uh? Now can anyone explain the Sheila phenomenon? That’s a BIG ask.


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Mornings start best with a lovely cup of tea. Being in India, the world’s largest tea drinking nation, the states of Darjeeling, Assam are not far away. Afternoons are complete with a delicious, refreshing masala chai, tea infused with aromatic spices, cardamom, cinnamon even black pepper.

In the run up to today’s important state election in Goa, the authorities have enforced very strict measures to avoid civil unrest and maintain local peace, as in Greece, the subject of politics can raise the blood. It feels like a curfew at night, shops, bars and restaurants have closed early at 10 and, wait for it….a total ban on alcohol started on Thursday.

Being totally oblivious to this, as the sun set we naively set off on our bikes to our favourite eaterie, Pedro’s for pre dinner drinks and a game of Scrabble. We find that whisky & soda is a perfect accompaniment to curry.

Ashok, a characterful Nepali, who is almost our personal waiter there, and in my opinion I see him as our protective Nepalese ghurka, saw us pull up on our trusty steeds. Like all good waiters he knows our ways and always serves our drinks quickly. This night, he came up to us and whispered the problem he faced regarding the alcohol ban. Naturally, we were somewhat thrown and rather dismayed. However, he said that he would try to find a solution and after speaking to the proprieter Thomas, Ashok then appeared with a heavy tray carrying china cups and saucers, sugar bowl, spoons and tea pot. Not quite sure what was going on initially, he lifted the tea pot lid to reveal what looked like iced tea, that ‘water of life’ iced tea! With my Scot’s Hebridean heritage and adoration of the old Ealing film “Whisky Galore”, I had to chuckle. “Oh Captain Waggett, there can’t be a ceilidh without whisky!” Oor proud ghurka would have made a “braw chookter”.

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Dyeing to see you

Always a thrifty Scot, old T shirts get the tie dye treatment out here in Goa, to extend the life and look of old garments. Dyeing anything generally suits this purpose, it’s regenerating.

When I have returned to UK, it has always been a shock to me, in comparison with Greece, that there are so many grey and white haired people. The chemists and supermarket aisles have plenty of choice for ladies wishing to change their hair colour.

Well here in Goa, it’s similar, but behind clandestine drawn curtains at hairdressing salon windows, often under the cover of night… it’s the men who are at it.

Now some of us ladies know, it’s a slippery slope as the upkeep draws you into a whirlpool of future appointments and fear regarding ones roots. Level of maintenance is high. Like our dear Greek males, the Indian man is rather proud of his moustache, now let’s be honest it’s an outdated look for modern chaps, but we can forgive our Goan fellows who are still, rather charmingly, in a different era, and so are still partial to upper lip facial hair. A friend of ours, known as “Mr John” sports a Captain Mainwaring type of clipped affair, bless him, but Mr John, pleeease, it is NOT a good look when your roots are starting to show their true colours!  Get down that barbers, jaldhi, jaldhi.

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Goan “country” style

During the times that we have been in Goa, we’ve noticed that they like a party or two. Catering and party equipment posters are everywhere, pinned to telegraph poles like death notices in Greece. The musical entertainment is, let’s say an acquired taste, a distinct melting pot of styles and eras.

Definitely a kinda hint of country with an evvvanggelllicaal twwwang, I can hear rumbles of Kumbayaaah my lord,…my lord indeed, possibly Rene and Renata stylie, tie a yella ribbon round the ol’ oak tree, even Vic Reeves and the pub singer, it’s not great in my opinion, however, they do take these celebrations seriously, setting up stage, decorating chairs and table and rehearsing etc. So, on hearing the described musical notes and vocals mid Saturday afternoon, I anticipated a nearby wedding reception or maybe even a birthday party that evening.

It was with genuine concern that I said to Nick that the singer’s embarrassing flat notes were almost too much to bear and rather made ones toes curl. Same time next day, the rehearsals continued, I thought OK, so it’s a Sunday event. Lovely. Now when it came to Wednesday, the proverbial penny dropped, what an utter eedjit I am, it was some twit on a karaoke machine. Ha! Complete fool, me, that is.

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Incredible India…

Our recent magical train journey from Mumbai to Margoa in Goa reminded me again, amongst many other things, of the colours of this incredible country.

My notion is that sometimes a country’s flag indicates its’ food & lifestyle, think: tomato, mozarella & basil; oranges & flamenco sangria red; ruby red port, vino verde green & maize yellow; turmeric, white basmati rice & bright coriander; blue white & red colours have, in my opinion & observations, more religious & political backgrounds, however, the Scots can refer to colour of skin before & after their holidays. As a fellow Scot, I can say that.

Incredible India, … in my eyes it has 3 main colours, hues of roasted peanuts, from the toasted charred fibrous shell to the earthy brown red shades of the paper skin & the pale sandy cream of the delicious nut.

Southern India is green, think shiny lime, unripe matt banana, deep & dense waxy mangrove, vibrant fresh chilli.

The accent colour is without a doubt, delightful pink, with a clash of marigold orange. Amongst a vibrant paddy field of emerald, suddenly a sari of shocking Schiaparelli astounds you, a candy pink temple suddenly appears ornate with it’s sweet baby pink Ganesh & pastel pink carvings. Brilliant sun shining through paper fine bouganvillea petals making them day glo magenta. Bowls of ripe pawpaw & watermelon, pomegranate & cut pineapple, drinks of falooda & mango juice, garlands of orange marigold & dusky pink roses…it’s a visual feast.

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Seems rather odd that ex First Choice/Thomson/Der Tui colleagues might be working just down the road from here in sunny Benaulim, South Goa. The Taj Exotica hotel is a short walk along the beach from where I am sat in our office cum balcony looking out onto coconut palms. Not bad really, seems a million miles and a different world to that of “FC weddings days”. Staying in this utterly fabulous flat with all mod cons in great comfort, all for 10.00 euros a night, a bit less than the Taj guests pay. You know I love a bargain. Just about to start some work, all’s well in the state of Goa.

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Incredible India…

Namaste! It’s not long to go now, oh my, oh my, this memsaab is getting definitely excited.

Just the thought of getting the visa is making the flutters in the tummie. To enter the Gateway to India, you can experience a flavour here…

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