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Old 18th May 2011, 17:42   #46
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

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Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
No Beach in Goa can be private.

You are free to walk down on that beach. Just dont bother if someone asks you not to go.

But yeah being a local helps. A tourist might be hesitant.
Well, it wasn't the beach that had the "guests only" board but this walkway besides the tennis courts linking the two Taj properties.

By the way the MC on the boat we took the Mandovi cruise on this time (not the Santa Monica but some other cruise company) mentioned the Goa Marriott in Panaji having its own private beach.

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Even though, no one is allowed into the Jail. The sight from the Jail Entrance is worth watching. Especially the waves hitting the rocks on the shore and the small history about the jail is worth the read there.
Yeah we missed the jail, I guess. As always, there's a next time .

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I doubt if tourists are allowed to take a Helicopter ride there. It is mostly used by VIP's & etc, dropping down in Goa, especially the one's staying at Taj Agauda.
That makes sense.

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If you are speaking about Sinquerim Beach, which is beside Taj Aguada, then its a public beach and accessible to everyone. There's a very beautiful watch tower sort of structure which gives a clear view of the horizon.
Oh yeah I'm familiar with that structure. I spent quite a bit of time on it in my 2005 visit. This time we went close but didn't go in. At the time we went there though, it could've given us some nice close-up (relatively) photo ops of the River Princess.

Another thing the guard said was something to the effect of there being too much water at Sinquerim beach and so one couldn't walk down from Aguada to Candolim. I don't know what he was referring to because the stretch seemed "clear" to me when I looked at it (both from Aguada and Candolim).

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Candolim Beach does not get a constant flow of people due to the wreckage of River Princess, which has spoiled the view of the beach. It is off the radar of being a commercial/developed beach. Moreover, I believe Kingfisher Villa opens on the Candolim Beach at the rear.
Yes, there were very few people (maybe around 100 all told) and just a couple of shacks. Luckily there was a lifeguard crew, but they packed their bags and left immediately after sunset. Hardly anyone was venturing out into the sea to take a bath. I think I saw only 2 or 3 people do that.

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Good to see River Princess being dismanteld and cleared from Candolim Beach. It has already changed the ecosystem of Sinquerim Beach & Candolim Beach strech.
+1 to that.

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SpitFire, good to know that the removal of River Princess has been initiated. Any more updates about the same and the affect of its removal on ecosystem.
I think the latest in the round of controversies surrounding this is how much the scrap must be valued at. The government agreed to something and was obviously roundly criticized. The rebuttal they offered was that anything more and the scrapping company changed terms of delivery. Instead of them sending their vessels to the Princess, the government would have to arrange for the scrap to be sent to their yard, and apparently that's prohibitively expensive for the govt. This was what I read in the papers there.

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Last edited by spadix : 18th May 2011 at 17:44.
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Old 18th May 2011, 19:30   #47
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

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I think the latest in the round of controversies surrounding this is how much the scrap must be valued at. The government agreed to something and was obviously roundly criticized. The rebuttal they offered was that anything more and the scrapping company changed terms of delivery. Instead of them sending their vessels to the Princess, the government would have to arrange for the scrap to be sent to their yard, and apparently that's prohibitively expensive for the govt. This was what I read in the papers there.

Regards,
spadix
True,its actually a very funny case!I think for the 1st time,a government is paying a shipping company(Arihant) to break the ship,whereas normally the company makes the profit out of the scrap.

Reports say they are paying 99 crores to the company to break it plus a 5 crore duty and the company would pay the govt 12/kg for the scrap.Well whatever it is,after 11 long years,the ship is finally saying goodbye after causing a near ecological disaster in the area.There was also talk that the contract that has been entered is only for waterline-removal of the ship,which means the part that is visible would be scrapped,no mention whatsoever of the part that's stuck below the water in the sand.But then again this is hear say,the current news is that the top portion would be gone by end of May,and the below waterline portions would be gone by October-Nov(by the time the tourist season begins in Goa)All this courtesy a friend in Goa!Thanks to the ship being a lot of soil erosion has taken place and people with house on the beach have been suffering.
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Old 18th May 2011, 21:26   #48
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

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Well, it wasn't the beach that had the "guests only" board but this walkway besides the tennis courts linking the two Taj properties.
Ah, yes thats their property. But mostly they don't bother people strolling down there.

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Goa Marriott in Panaji having its own private beach.
He then most certainly is lying.

Like that ship, the Marriot Hotel is another edifice of the corruption rampant in Goa.

Where it presently stands was home to a small forest. A thick cluster of trees around which roamed foxes. If one went down that place along miramar beach. One could witness the fox hunting for crabs along the beach front mostly early in the mornings.

Today it is something totally unbelievable.

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True,its actually a very funny case!I think for the 1st time,a government is paying a shipping company(Arihant) to break the ship,whereas normally the company makes the profit out of the scrap.
Your friend knows well.

The ship was owned by a local company - Salgaocars. Who totally abonded the ship after it got stuck, due to the irregularities in its papers. It wasnt a legal vessel at the time of it getting beached.

After the ship was stuck, in the next two days everything pointing to any evidence disappeared. Everything of value was taken of.

The ship was then left to rust.

Now the irony of the whole situation. The Salgaocars through another salvage arm of theirs filed a request to clear the ship by producing a bill to the government!!! Running into a few crores. And they keep the scrap too.

The whole business got so murky that the village folk had to get involved.

Even the cutting salvage operation is mired in controversy. Huge parts of the scrap are kept along the river banks, around Mandovi and another river close by.

Oh and another note. I was actively involved in night guard for the the Olive Ridley turtles breeding on Mandrem Beach. Today though the Olive Ridley turtles are long gone from that beach, but it still has some off places for Indians. They are now controlled by the drug mafia. One needs to be aware of such instances while venturing to the interiors around this beach and the adjoining village.

A long story probably beyond the scope of this forum. Maybe someday at a meet in Goa.

Last edited by Spitfire : 18th May 2011 at 21:37.
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Old 19th May 2011, 15:59   #49
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Default Day 5 (April 26, 2011): Panaji

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Oh and another note. I was actively involved in night guard for the the Olive Ridley turtles breeding on Mandrem Beach.
That's very nice of you! On the map I see the tip of Morjim near the mouth of the Chapora river called out as the Olive Ridley turtle nesting site. That was news to me when I saw it.

That Mandrem is a nesting site is news to me as well.

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Today though the Olive Ridley turtles are long gone from that beach, but it still has some off places for Indians. They are now controlled by the drug mafia. One needs to be aware of such instances while venturing to the interiors around this beach and the adjoining village.
Hmmm. I'd heard from some well-meaning relatives before my trip that some beaches in North Goa are "unsafe" for this reason. I couldn't get the exact names. I suspected it could be Anjuna, based on an underwhelming experience during my 2005 visit and from whatever I read online. I asked the hotel owners if they knew and they said there are no such problems now.

I'll make a mental note to keep off Mandrem in future visits. There was a plan to visit the Arambol sweet water lake and Terekhol this time, but that didn't materialize. Otherwise we would've found ourselves quite close to Mandrem village.

It's just sad to see how Goa is being <unprintable> by all and sundry. Ill-behaved tourists are but the least of the problems, I think.

Day 5 (April 26, 2011): Panaji

Day 5 saw us heading to Panaji first up. What I really wanted was to hang around in Fontainhas and enjoy a drink or two in a bar-and-restaurant similar in style to Casandre. We spent some time roaming around but just couldn't find such a place. Still, Fontainhas is a good place to just walk around and get lost in. The narrow alleys and multi-coloured buildings remind you of laid-back old-town Europe.

My luck with cameras on this trip has been bad. I had the bigger camera with me but just as I raised it to my eye I realized it didn't have a memory card in it! I had removed it in the morning to transfer the pictures on to my laptop and forgot it in the card reader, which was in the car parked a few blocks away. Luckily it was bright and so the small point-and-shoot was up to the task.

Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad-p1060310.jpg

Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad-p1060312.jpg

Not exactly great weather for walking around, but there you have it.

On our way back to the car I stopped at a wine shop and picked up three small sample-sized bottles of Tequila. I asked the shop keeper for a permit and he said I wouldn't need one for the volume I'm carrying. This would come back to haunt us.

We then headed to Dona Paula for more water sports if the bug caught us. But the beach was dead that day. Perhaps that was good, because I wasn't really in the mood for water sports on the day. So we just bought some souvenirs, took a few pictures and then headed back.

The pictures were mostly casual mug shots again, so I'm again going to fall back on my 2005 collection, mostly, for the visual coverage.

Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad-p1060329.jpg
This is from the recent visit

The following few are from the earlier visit. Please ignore the small spots and the curved black line (most likely an eyelash) in some of the pictures. Some stuff must've gotten on to the sensor in the midst of changing lenses.

Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad-2005101515494790_1783.jpg
Dona Paula beach as seen from the jetty

Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad-2005101515520880_1786.jpg
Looking out at the sea

Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad-2005101515541290_1787.jpg
A view of the Mormugao port area

Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad-2005101515550000_1789.jpg
I've forgotten the significance of the statuettes, unfortunately

Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad-2005101515564400_1793.jpg
Sun bursting through the clouds to create a lone bright patch in the midst of an otherwise normal-looking sea

Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad-2005101516031770_1799.jpg
Vainguinim beach, if I'm not mistaken

Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad-2005101516061900_1801.jpg
This is just to the north of the viewpoint (west of the bridge leading to the jetty)

Regards,
spadix
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Old 19th May 2011, 16:49   #50
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Default Day 5 (April 26, 2011): Vagator

Day 5 (April 26, 2011): Vagator

From Panaji I thought we'll head to Palolem and check out a couple of South Goan beaches. After looking at the distance to Palolem, and the time (it was already near 2 pm or maybe past it already), we decided it's better to head back to Calangute.

While we were deciding what to do the rest of the day, the thought of going to Vagator cropped up. The beach looked good when seen from Chapora. So we headed there. Instead of taking the first exit to Calangute we went on the NH17 up to Mapusa and then followed the route to Anjuna from there. Somehow I never liked Mapusa and I didn't particularly enjoy the Mapusa - Anjuna drive.

After a bit of searching around for the right road to Vagator beach we eventually reached there, and to our surprise, saw a fairly busy market and lots and lots of tourists. It was pretty host as well (around 2:30 pm or so) and we were feeling hungry. We tried looking for some restaurants along the way but we had little hope as we already saw on Day 3 (Chapora fort visit) that there were slim pickings for vegetarians. So we parked the idea of a lunch for now and headed to the view point.

Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad-p1060352.jpg
The thinker

Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad-p1060355.jpg
Rocky Vagator

Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad-p1060366.jpg
Looking at maps now, it looks like this is Ozran and not Vagator. Vagator is probably the beach to the right (i.e. behind me as I stood taking this picture, and to the North of this point). Or is that Chapora beach? Anyway, it was definitely more populated, whereas this beach seemed to have more shacks (and hence more shelter from the sun). We headed down the small hill to this beach.

The idea was not so much to frolick in the water but just spend the afternoon looking at the sea. Not really ideal and I don't know why we were thinking along those lines instead of just hiding from the sun in the comfort of our room.

While the sands looked white and clean from afar we could clearly make out as we headed down that the water looked blacker and somehow less clean than at Calangute.

We headed to a shack and spent some time on those reclined beach seats for a while. We thought we'll try having lunch at a shack. How bad could it be?

The prices were the first shocker . We ordered a plate of fried rice and some manchuria (there was little by way of vegetarian options). Just these two together cost nearly 200.

The food took a *long* time to arrive. A really long time.

In the meantime we were "enjoying" a dusty stay. There was heavy wind and it was just kicking up the dust from the beach and blowing it into our faces.

We thought heading into the shack would help, but that was a mistake. Earlier we were sitting closer to the water, so there was little dust the wind could carry with it.

Once we entered the shack it was like sitting in full-blown storm of fine dust.

We were just too lazy and uninterested to go back to the seats near the beach. In any case a bus-load of tourists arrived in the meantime and occupied those seats.

The food arrived. Let me just say that under normal circumstances we wouldn't have even *touched* it. But we were extremely hungry and it was going to cost a fair deal and there were no other options in sight. So we just "stomached" it, literally.

In the midst of the meal I realized that I left my wallet in the car. Great! I was apprehensive about it but the waiter kindly let one of his colleagues follow me to the car when I requested for it. We'd had enough of this beach anyway so we headed back. It was nearly 4 pm now. The guy patiently followed us all the way to the car - a good kilometre if not more - in the burning sun without complaint despite the fact that it was parked at the farthest possible location in the parking lot . We paid him, literally doused ourselves in water and then got going, back to Calangute. We had a couple of glasses of absolutely marvellous sugarcane juice here on the way back.

Once we were back at the hotel we didn't really feel like going out anywhere else. The heat had taken its toll. We took stock of our situation and figured out that we'd seen pretty much everything we wanted to see. What remained was a boat ride to see some wild dolphins, some more beach and water sports activity and if possible a visit to some other beaches in South Goa or the ones to the very North (Terekhol, Arambol, Morjim etc.).

Per our original plan we had five days left (including driving back). So we could do the beach run on one day and the dolphin + water sports on the second. On the other days we could've fit Karwar, Gokarna etc. if we'd wanted.

However, something else cropped up and I had to visit Gurgaon the following weekend. I had to take an early morning flight on Saturday. So we decided to cut our trip short by a day here, which left us just two days (including the day on which to drive back). So the next day (Day 6) was going to be about the dolphin-watching and water sports. Everything else was cancelled.

That also meant this was the evening to finish whatever little cloth/souvenir-shopping remained. That was duly completed. I kept myself happy with a couple of beers. We had dinner in our hotel itself instead of going out and called it quits for the day.

Regards,
spadix

Last edited by spadix : 19th May 2011 at 16:50.
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Old 19th May 2011, 17:32   #51
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

Excellent pictures Prashant. Some of the pictures of the sunsets with water shimmering has come out real good. Which camera and lens you used? Need your help in cleaning the sensors as offered by you last time around.

Looks like you guys had a whale of a time with the water package. I did everything except the banana boat ride as it looked bit scary. The price that you got is slightly on the steep side as they offer parasailing at 800bucks for a couple if you negotiate a bit.

Its my turn now to visit Goa which is planned during monsoon during the independence weekend. But, unfortunatately will be flying as got some free tickets that needs to be availed.

Essentially, iam forced to go to goa

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Old 19th May 2011, 17:36   #52
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

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But, unfortunatately will be flying as got some free tickets that needs to be available.
free tickets!slurp slurp

Lovely pictures Prashant.Buying alcohol in Goa and travelling out of Goa is something that is problematic at any point of time irrespective of which border you cross out from!
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Old 19th May 2011, 17:45   #53
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

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Excellent pictures Prashant. Some of the pictures of the sunsets with water shimmering has come out real good. Which camera and lens you used? Need your help in cleaning the sensors as offered by you last time around.
Thanks Avi bhai!

Those sunset pictures were from the 2005 visit. The weather wasn't as kind this time. On both occasions I was shooting with my D70 and the standard 18-70 kit lens, mostly. Back then that was the only lens I had. In this visit I had the luxury of a couple of other lenses.

Any time for the sensor cleaning. It just needs a place which is relatively dust-free.

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Looks like you guys had a whale of a time with the water package. I did everything except the banana boat ride as it looked bit scary. The price that you got is slightly on the steep side as they offer parasailing at 800bucks for a couple if you negotiate a bit.
Yeah, the banana boat is scary and that's why we asked to be thrown off in shallow waters (5 to 6 feet depth).

The 2000 we paid was for the entire package which included all rides. On day 6 (post coming up soon) we took individual rides and para-sailing came to 800 for the two of us as you pointed out. And this was the "special" para-sailing (longer ride + a couple of dips in the water). I'll put up a video of the whole ride in my next post.

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Its my turn now to visit Goa which is planned during monsoon during the independence weekend. But, unfortunatately will be flying as got some free tickets that needs to be available.

Essentially, iam forced to go to goa
Sell the free tickets off to someone else for a discount and drive! So this'll become your 8th visit in 4 (or 5?) years, right? All the best!

Regards,
spadix

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Old 19th May 2011, 18:22   #54
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

The sea panorama snaps are amazing!

Apart from the hotel one stays in, what are the other good options to out in Goa esp. for Veggies? Most places are Non-Veg delights.

Any special places to recommend? Suhaas, CL and Luluks talked of all the good NV food out there ! Any suggestions for the veggies?
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Old 19th May 2011, 19:38   #55
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

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Lovely pictures Prashant.Buying alcohol in Goa and travelling out of Goa is something that is problematic at any point of time irrespective of which border you cross out from!
Thanks, ranjitp1!

Yeah - my sad story with the KA border cops will come up in the last set of posts that detail our return journey.

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The sea panorama snaps are amazing!

Any suggestions for the veggies?
Thanks, ampere!

Options are few and far-in-between for vegetarians. And they're (mostly) costly. With Goa, one must just forget about costs. Restaurants don't serve even drinking water for free, unlike in the rest of India. You have to buy water and they typically mark the price up.

That said, I've found the following places decent for vegetarian food (in no particular order) -
  • Sher-e-Punjab restaurant in Panaji (on 18th June road). Good selection, decent prices and nice service as well. We visited this restaurant at least twice in 2005, driving all the way to Panaji because one of my friends couldn't eat non-Indian food. I don't know how they are now.
  • Indian Spice on Calangute-Baga road. This is right next to the hotel we stayed in (Cap's Corner). Again, good Punjabi food.
  • Rasoi on Calangute-Baga road. 100% veg restaurant. Meals are decent. Prices are not VFM and could be a bit lower (around 20 - 30 bucks for the full meals, for instance) for what they offer.
  • Sagar-style restaurant (opposite to Rasoi and near a Tibetan souvenirs place) that offers typical Udupi meals. Very good VFM. Water bottle is also sold at MSRP .
  • Mykonos Blu - Greek restaurant just after crossing Baga bridge on Calangute - Baga - Anjuna road. Excellent but expensive.
  • Mambo - The party/hang-out place next to Tito's. While people come here for other reasons, the food was pretty nice. Expensive, of course. This was in 2005 and we dined thrice here.
  • Cap's Corner (restaurant) - Very very few vegetarian options but whatever they do, they do a really classy job of with regards to taste. Prices are in line with, say, those of Indian Spice or Sher-e-Punjab.
  • Udupi-style 100% veg restaurant somewhere on Swatantra Path in Vasco da Gama - I don't remember the name of this place, unfortunately. I faintly recollect it to be "Welcome" or something like that. I could be wrong. Tasty stuff and my Dad footed the bill but from the menu I recollect some items being pretty VFM and some not so much.

Those were the places I actually ate at, so those are my first-hand views.

Tito's/Britto's etc. do offer *some* vegetarian food and in the case of Tito's the prices and attitude of the waiter (in our case at least) were the deal-killers. The food actually tasted good, other than that sweet corn veg. soup which we still feel was actually chicken.

Casandre was nice too, although it's closed now.

Among the places I haven't visited, I've heard that the Tibetan places in Calangute are actually very good. There are at least two of them.

I'm sure there are some more. One must be willing to experiment a little bit. Sometimes it works (Mykonos Blu), sometimes it doesn't (beach shack).

Regards,
spadix
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Old 19th May 2011, 20:01   #56
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Default Re: Day 5 (April 26, 2011): Panaji

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That Mandrem is a nesting site is news to me as well.
There were pockets strewn around this end of the beaches right uptil Morjrim and beyond to Terekhol. Those areas are not well marked due to lesser density.

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It's just sad to see how Goa is being <unprintable> by all and sundry. Ill-behaved tourists are but the least of the problems, I think.
Yeah, the heart bleeds. Having grown up around these surroundings the degradation at such a rapid pace, hurts.

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Day 5 saw us heading to Panaji first up. What I really wanted was to hang around in Fontainhas and enjoy a drink or two in a bar-and-restaurant similar in style to Casandre.
Oh there are quite a few places if you stick to the road that passes by the small channel here. You could have gone to Avanti Restaurant. Some really good Goan/Portuguese fare here. Maybe next time.
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Old 20th May 2011, 03:47   #57
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

@ampere: We are also Goaholics and have visited Goa atleast 50 times in the last 25 years. As regards veg food, you can also keep in mind the following options in addition to what spadix has mentioned:

Navtara Restaurant - just at the beginning of the Mapusa-Calangute Road on the right hand side. Interestingly this place is owned and run by Catholics but is a pure veg joint with excellent quality and service - south Indian and Punjabi both are available.

Legacy of Bombay - next to Hotel Fidalgo on 18th June Road in Panaji - excellent food and service again and also reasonable prices - incidentally their menu card has a photograph of a Bombay Local Train on it - perhaps to make Bomabyites feel at home !!

Plantain Leaf - on the left hand side just before the Calangute-Baga Road junction - very good south Indian food, veg thali, and also Punjabi - generous portions and fair prices.

Anand Sagar - on the right hand side on the Calangute - Aguada Road just after HDFC Bank and before the St.Anthony's Chapel

Also, in Panaji nowadays there are ample veg restaurants, amazingly some even serving authentic Gujarati Khichadi etc. Kamat's can also be tried - adjacent to the Municipal Garden in Panaji - but I did not find the food up to the expected standards.
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Old 20th May 2011, 17:26   #58
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

For Goan Vegetarian fare look for one place called Cafe Tato and Cafe Bhonsale. Both around the Panaji Church area.

Ask anyone around they will guide you there.

Cafe Bhonsale is your pukka take on Irani hotels found in Mumbai. The ambience I mean.
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Old 20th May 2011, 19:14   #59
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Default Day 6 (April 27, 2011): Wild dolphins!

Day 6 (April 27, 2011): Wild dolphins!

You're in Goa, in the summer, and have been here for 4 days already. And all you have to show for that is perhaps 6 hours on the beaches, all told. Isn't that criminal?

Of course it is.

And we set out to address that this day. There was also the still unsatiated desire for water sports.

A dolphin-watching trip was in our plans even before we set out for Goa. The hotel would've arranged this for us near Terekhol but the captain of that boat said that the water was rough there and the chances of sighting dolphins were very slim. So we decided to take our chances at Mandovi instead, and that meant hiring a boat to get there from Calangute. The hotel owner said that a 6-seater boat would cost INR 1500 if it was just the two of us, so that's what we bargained for (the initial quote was 2000) and got in. We booked the boat from the same shack we'd visited two days earlier for the water sports package. There were two crew members on-board as well.

The boat ride out was quite something. The sea was rougher today than a couple of days back and boy, did it show or what! Every time the boat lurched up and crashed down on the surging waves saw us holding on for dear life. It was amazing just how those two guys were able to *stand* on the boat while we were finding it difficult to sit even with our arms holding tight on to the fuselage. The constant spray of salt water (we were sitting in the front to balance the boat) meant we could hardly keep our eyes open for long. This is not at all like what you see in the movies, where the actors happily stare at the sea with eyes wide open and talking merrily. We were having fun and wishing for the ride to end at the same time. Every sinew in our forearms was stretched to its tautest as we struggled to just stay put in our seats.

Once we reached the Mandovi mouth near Aguada hill the skipper turned off the whiny outboard motor (or would just keep it idling lightly) and we kept our eyes peeled open for dolphins, gently bobbing up and down with the waves.

And catch sight of dolphins we did. The first one just materialized for a moment over the waves and disappeared. I whipped out the camera (the small point-and-shoot) and immediately understood that still pictures will be a long shot because of the shutter lag. So I started taking videos. In the meantime, having seen us stop here, hordes of other boats suddenly materialized out of nowhere and were all over the place. The already shy dolphins just get scared in the midst of such activity, so we had to wait for a little longer. And then we were blessed with some more sightings. We bargained with the boat crew to let us hang around for a few more minutes (they'd started turning back). That cost us INR 200 but it was worth it as there was another nice sighting.

The combined video of all the sightings (except the very first one) -



It was much fun and we hated it when the boat crew finally stopped listening to us and headed back.

The journey back was a proper rip compared to the ride out. I think the skipper took it as a personal affront when I complained to him about the short time we spent there and went full pelt with the throttle, the boat bouncing a couple of feet or so in the air off every wave crest and crashing hard on to the water. The ride out was a stroll in the park compared to the return ride. I could at least keep my eyes open for around 40% of the time during the onward ride. Now it was probably less than 10% from all the water gushing onto my face. And this is despite my wearing spectacles. My forearms were aching now from constantly hitting the boat's fuselage every time I was thrown back onto my seat. We kept shouting for the boat to be slowed down but the crew either didn't hear or didn't care. We could hardly move out of our seats when the boat finally reached Calangute!

After the dolphin-watching was another water scooter ride to Baga and back.



Because of holding on to the boat so tightly during the dolphin-watch ride, I had lost some strength in my arms and was absolutely, simply unable to keep the scooter's handlebars straight in this ride. The sea was also rougher from two days back so that was another issue. Try as I might I couldn't keep the scooter straight when bouncing back on to the water after getting lifted by a wave. I gave up and asked the pilot to take the controls. He asked me to continue controlling the throttle however, which was easy.

Finally, it was time for para-sailing once again. Same boat, same crew. However this time we explicitly asked to be kept in the air for longer. A tip to the boat crew and this was taken care of. The crew was in a good mood so they also offered everyone who asked a dip in the water. I wanted to take the camera up with me but left it back lest it get damaged in the water.



All of this was followed by another long stretch of playing in the water.

There was a group of tourists (Telugu-speaking, just like us) around us who were kind of drunk on beer. One of them, a bald-headed middle-aged man was just going bonkers. After finishing his beer he just threw the empty can out into the water, hollering away to glory.

I was just boiling over and wanted to confront him but held back as it would've been 7-8 guys against one (me). He'll pay for it some day.

Anyway, we continued enjoying ourselves in the water, venturing out deeper and deeper and trying to catch a few big waves. There was one monster in particular that hit us squarely on our backs and must've pushed us inwards at least 15 feet if not more. Huge fun .

We finally left at around 2 pm, went back to the hotel, changed and had lunch. Now it was time for some rest and then getting ready for the drive back the next day. The evening was spent doing some more shopping and packing up. The Greek souvlaki bug that had bitten me was still hurting so we set out (early) to see what could be done about it. I couldn't see the counter at Mambo's the other night so there was no point heading there. Instead we searched for a restaurant called Mykonos Blu that the hotel owner recommended. It took a little while (we initially went to Britto's and hung around there for a few minutes while we figured out the exact location) and we reached it eventually. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the food was great and my wife, who usually doesn't easily take to "new" food, enjoyed it as well.

We returned to the hotel, requested the staff to wash the car and load the luggage into it as we would leave the next morning before they would wake up. Then I spent some time just chatting with the owners (and having another round of feni, on them again - very kind of them) before finally retiring at a little before 11:30 pm. I had to wake up at 3:30 am and as always, the excitement of a drive ensured that it was a long while - an hour at least - before I could finally fall asleep.

Regards,
spadix
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Old 23rd May 2011, 19:17   #60
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

Whatever happened to the rest?
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