Over to Manish.....
We are back from our Goa trip and heres a brief update for your blog.......
We started from Delhi on Trivandrum Rajdhani which leaves Hazrat Nizammudin at 1100 hrs and reached Goa the next day at 1500 hrs a full 1 day and 5hrs. We have been enquired a number of times as to why we didnt take a flight and all about flight fares being cheaper. Of course, flight fares have nosedived and we have no nostalgia attached to good old train journey but still train remains cheaper especially if you are travelling with small kids. We had two, 4 and 6 years old and you have to pay full discounted fare for them whereas train you buy only 2 1/2 tickets.Anyway, we had kept a lot of activities books for the kids and Jo had brought a set of 5 Cosmopolitons , i thinks it was their 10th anniversary issue.
We arrived in Goa and checked into our hotel by the Grand name of "Marquis Beach Resort" (seen above in pic) at Candolim Beach , bordering the Taj Heritage village and Kingfishers House of Vijay Malaya. It is spread over 4 acres of land , having a beautiful landscaped garden and a swimming pool. Its USP is that it is absolutely close to the Beach. As close as you could possibly be. You just walk out of the hotel and you are on the Beach.
The Candolim Beach is a beautiful strech and it is not very crowded. Not many outsiders snooping into your privacy. No wonder it is shared by the likes of Vijay Mallaya and Taj Village. It overlooks the Fort Aquada, on its left and has the Calangute Beach on its right. Lots of activities and water sports are available which I will tell later. The only sore point is a stranded ship "River Princess" which has been there for the past 6 to 7 years. Having arrived after a long journey we straight headed for the pool.
Later the evening was spent with live music at the resort, that had announced "A night with a lady singer" Somehow the lady always stayed in the background. Good Prawns are served here. We started our day by doing what became a ritual for the next three days i.e. jumping in the sea and playing the waves and then cooling at the pool. Hired two Honda sooters available at the hotel gate for Rs 300/- each with petrol extra.
At Baga we met Leo who handed us a surprise gift sponsored by a resort celebrating its 14th anniversary, a T shirt for me and a 7 day free stay for two at Bali, Thailand or 14 days at Goa for Jo. Of course we were told to participate in a 1 hour presentation which we wriggled out. The Baga beach in day time resembled Chowpatty. The surprise was Mandrem beach, which is surrounded by coconut trees and gives a magnificient view.
We took a long trip to Arambol beach which is on the northern most tip of Goa around 30kms, and on the way visited the Baga Beach, missed Anjuna, stopped over at the beautiful Mandrem beach and finally hit the wild Arambol. Goa near Candolim was sophisticated but as you move north it becomes more and more wild.
We were told that the sand at North Goa is golden whereas it is silver/white in the south, some difference. The way to Arambol is through a small lane where you bump into dirty looking foreigners riding bikes.Another 1 km ahead is the Arambol Keri beach , if you are looking for those nude ones.
We had dinner at "Sweet Chilli" as suggested by Leo. Its a place where the local crowds hang out. The place had lovely live music and the singer played to the gallery as he had few friends sitting and rooting for him.He even played " Una paloma Balanca" , "I just called to say I love you," and "Summer Holiday" for my kids.Good place to prawns and Goan Fish curry chawal. We started our next day deciding to stay put at the Beach and not to move out. After playing the waves, we took a ride on the water scooter, I thought Karthik would fly off. We then went for a ride on the speed boat for dolphin spotting. The speed Boat took us at a point from where you could see the mouth of River Mandovi.Amazingly , there were 20 other boats waiting to spot these dolphins, poor little mammals.We did spot quite a few travelling in threesomes diving to hide themselves being surrounded, rather hounded by hundreds of eager onlookers. On the way back Mahika slept off on the speed boat.
We got back to our resort and cooled ourselves in the pool. We had lunch at the "Calamari Shack". It is famous for hosting the grand beach marriages, the "Salaam Namaste' types. I had to try Feni, I was a bit >conservative so I took it with Sprint, otherwise i was told that It smells really bad. It gives a great feeling of being in trance and you feel being a part of the sea.Jo tried King Prawns which were sumptous and I tried Fish. A bit expensive and uppity, but highly recommended.A bit of afternoon seista, then swimming in the pool and then we were ready for a night out. this time we tried " The Stone house". It is a place frequented by mostly foreigners especially The British. a decent ambience, the service is slow but the staff will explain it to you that when you are in Goa you relax.
The next day was our anniversary, the most uneventful day, We met my brothers family who were staying with a group of friends at one of the celeb bunglows, closeby, were the gleterrati stays. Karthik and Mahika were most excited on seeing their cousins. While Jo went for an ayurvedic Massage I caught up with some gup shup with family and their friends and some beer. Played water polo with a bunch of 11 -12 year olds.Lunch was good old rajmah Chawal, I was getting sick with the sight if Jhinga kekras.
The kids took to the sea with me. Unfortunately Mahika started having slight temperature,but her spirits were high. She was not willing to miss the fun. The group decided to have a full fleged water polo match which was chaotic.In the evening we decided to be on our own. My bros family was sweet enough to baby sit my kids and the kids were thirlled to be in the company of their older cousins and their friends. We decided to go to Baga by the night on our hired scooter, which we were told is the most happening place in Goa. Went to Brittos. It is one of the oldest restaurants and opens on to the sea.We got a nice table near the beach, but there was no music. had our candle night dinner. One of our friends were also in Goa and we caught up with them. Went to a rocking place called "Mambos" It had an entry fee of Rs 300 per couple. They were having a Retro nite. Played great music ....."I want to break Free..., Doors and the works..... They crowd started getting more and more and the place got full when we decided to leave and enter. Had a couple of beers at a place called "Lazy Days, and caught up with some gossip. Called up the day at 0100 hrs suddenly remembering the call of duty, Picked up Mahika who was better after having couple of doses of crocin syrup.
The next day was a final stroll at the beach and sadly time to say "goodbye Goa" . The kids refused to move insisting that we stay there for 20 days..... If not 20 we really feel one should at least stay for goa for at least 7 days, but then there is always a next time... this was our first trip to goa together as a family but we will be back again.... This time perhaphs will stay at South Goa , to see if the sand there is really white..... but that will be another story.... Until then.... Goa we love you.....