Saturday, June 19, 2010

Beaches of Goa

Goa is famous for their beaches & knowing that I'm a beach person, you must be wondering why I've not blogged about their beach yet. All the beaches had red flags which meant swimming was out of the question. That wasn't the reason.

These beach huts were closed in preparation for monsoon

THIS IS the reason why

We stayed in South Goa & on the second day we arrived, we went to the beach only to find it covered in oil slick. Just another unreported oil leakage that happened off the coast of Goa. I spent the rest of the day trying to find reports of oil tankers colliding or oil spillage near Goa but no luck and the rest of the time, cleaning our flip flops & swimsuits off.

We thought our beach in the south was an isolated case. But it was the same even when we went to the north, near Candolim.

More importantly, it made me realise how detrimental the BP oil spill is. Here I am complaining about washing the oil stains from my bikini so imagine the severity of what happened in the Mexico Gulf. I refuse to order any seafood after that, just think about the marine life & wild life affected by this. Images of oil soaked brown pelicans will haunt me for a long time.

For me, this little incident brought the issue closer to home. We should be very very angry why our waters & beaches are polluted.

Is there any wonder nobody is in the sea ?

This is Fort Aguada which is extremely popular with the local tourists. Everybody wanted their pictures taken there.

Last remaining beach huts before the monsoon starts.

We had a refreshment aka cocktail stop at the Fort Aguada Beach Resort. The weather was blazing hot & even tho we went sightseeing in an air conditioned car, we needed a break from the heat. We found a table facing the fort that had a nice breeze, ordered a caiprinha & we were all set. The barbed wire was a little disconcerting & so were the birds lurking around.....

The little one doing a take away

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Market Day in Margao

Margao is a 15 mins drive from our hotel in South Goa. Like all Goan towns, it has its fair share of Portuguese influenced architecture & buildings. Some more run down than the rest. We headed there to get some necessities but mostly because it was market day.

I love going to markets & whenever I travel, I always try to go to one of the local markets - be they food markets, flower markets or flea markets. As gritty & chaotic as they may be, they are always an experience.

I believe it was a end of harvest 8 day market fair in Margao. The people who went were mostly locals & as far as I could see, we were the only foreigners. My only grouse when going to the markets is that people seem to think it's alright to touch your children. I know there is nothing malicious behind the act but think what it is like getting your cheeks pinched or face touched by complete strangers 20 times a day. This is not just in India, it happens everywhere in Asia - Vietnam or Thailand especially in crowded places like markets. Other mums - do you have the same problem ? How can you avoid it ?

Anyway back to our market in Margao. It was quite well organised. Most of the stalls were grouped by type - all the sweets were in one row & the toys were in another. Of course there were the street carts which sold anything from spices to snacks to sugar cane juice.

This is a manual merry go round
See the guy in white, he gets it going by cranking a large wheel

You know this country is cricket mad
when even a small town sells cricket bats with star pictures on them

We bought a doll from there but within 2 days, one eye was dislodged & the head fell out

A one man toy stand

This lady selling spices had the most beautiful eyes

Taken from the menu of Mum's Kitchen
Andoli - a unique pedestal mounted inverted kitchen knife cum grater for fish, vegetables or minces. Enables squatting upon, while cutting away for long stretches of time. In comfort.

It really was a bazaar.
Anything that you can think of they were selling it there

Very fascinated with the Indian sweets
but resisted trying any street food

We did buy some kachang from the kachang puteh man tho
And guess what - we got to see how nuts are roasted Indian-style

All the kachang stalls have a clay oven behind.
They feed it with wood to heat up the sand

They then take the sand & mix that with the nuts
Using the heat from the sand to roast them

Sieve the sand out & then repeat the process 3-4 times

Until the nuts are roasted
I never knew you could use sand to roast nuts
Well you learn something new everyday

This little un was oblivious to everything that was going on

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Scenes from Bangalore

There are no direct flights between Singapore & Goa so you would have to make a stop over. If not for the fact that flights to Mumbai are expensive, I would have loved to spend a day there. Going with a cheaper option, we made a transfer in Bangalore which entailed staying there for one night.

So that first night in Bangalore was my first time on Indian soil. We didn't have much time to look around before going off to Goa but here are a couple of shots taken as I took a walk near our hotel.

We stayed in a small quirky boutique hotel outside of town. Not recommended if you want to be near the action of the city centre. It is located in the midst of several construction sites & touted to be close to the IT hub, on their website. But it was perfect for a one night layover.

Roof top bar / restaurant

The breakfast room

Decent sized rooms
& ours came with a little garden

Their cute French restaurant that we didn't get to try