After three weeks of Indian railway trains I was so pleased to be on our way to Goa albeit via another train, the Mumbai – Margao Express, an eleven hour train journey. By the way never trust the word ‘express’ in India. As usual the carriage was straight out of the 1800s and peering through the windows I suspect they hadn’t been cleaned since then.
Anyhow, leaving behind the hustle and bustle of Mumbai (Bombay) and Kolkata (Calcutta) before that, we were in desperate need of rest and relaxation. And a few cold beers.
Arriving at Margao late in the evening we realised we could have left the train at Thivim which was very local to our hotel and would have saved us an hour or so ride by taxi.
Goa was once a Portuguese colony until 1961, yes that recently, and one of the most perfect Goan/Portuguese combination left behind is Vindaloo. I’ve posted about vindaloo elsewhere on my blog – use the search facility on the right for more. Originally a Portuguese dish the Goans substituted vinegar for wine and added red chillies. Vindaloo is now a staple in curry houses on every British high street but in three days during our R&R we never came across it.
I also read that football (soccer) is more popular than cricket in Goa but I didn’t see any evidence of that either.
Goa is completely different to the rest of the country that we experienced in fact we could have been in a different country. Goa is one of India’s richest states with the highest GDP per capita — two and a half times that of the country as a whole which is reflected in the lack of evident poverty, begging and filth.
Besides very nice beaches, Goa had something to offer us by way of a hotel which was like five star luxury compared to the back packing flea pits we had stayed in to date. And what is more, everywhere had free WiFi, everywhere, even the beach bars. And copious amounts of cold beer.
And within 2 minutes walk from the hotel was a clean beach and gleaming Indian ocean. Strolling there my travelling companion, Tony, who snapped Tito’s bar which my cousin, who is now living in Australia, saw pictures on Facebook and exclaimed, ‘that’s where I met my husband in 1989!’ or words to that effect.
And at the beach I had Aloo Gobi. It was fabulous and just £1.30. Tony had started with Delhi belly in Mumbai so he couldn’t join in. The soda water was his before he retired to the hotel leaving me with cold beer and a view. The owner asked if we would be returning later as they were setting up tables and chairs for a romantic dinner. I told him that we weren’t gay, I was just his carer.
I did return to the beach bar alone the following day for more Aloo Gobi and cold beer. I engaged the owner who admitted that the food was cooked by his mother and reheated in the kitchen behind the bar. Well done his Mum I say.