Going Goa, Gone
Panaji Travel Blog› entry 20 of 23 › view all entries
It had to happen sometime and we're quite amazed it hadn't earlier - the tummy bug. Hil succumbed in Agra, but a day's rest and some Royal Free supplied antibiotic put her swiftly on the mend. In the circumstances, neither of us could face the 3 tier overnight train to Varanasi. We moved to plan B. Go to Peter and Susie's in Delhi and see what else we could fix up. So we took an air con car from Agra along the Grand Trunk Road. We passed the surgery of Dr R Singhal, Dental Surgeon, MDS (Luck); the murky oil refinery at Mathura, "Synthesing technology with ecology"; and a huge amazingly well-ordered march - apparently of landless labourers wanting a better deal. They were going the 280km from Gwalior to Delhi, and walked in 3 straight lines hundreds if not thousands long, accompanied by water bowsers and supply lorries.
The Nesbitts were their usual very hospitable selves. We got on the computer, checked flights and decided we'd head for Goa for a last 10 days R and R before returning to the English winter. No online bookings are allowed in India with non-Indian credit cards, so a tortuous 30 minutes telephone booking ...F for France, O for orange, R for Russia....followed. The tickets were to be collected at Delhi airport. But like most things in India, it all worked. The tickets (scrappy printouts) were there. The Indian Airlines Delhi-Goa flight stopped at Mumbai, and was only an hour late arriving. We got a full meal on each leg. Eight cleaners got on at Mumbai, two carrying the vacuum cleaner between them, one carrying the machine, the other the hose.
Out to Old Goa, then , the original Portuguese capital, to see the splendid churches and the mortal remains of St Francis Xavier in the Bom Jesus. We took the bus - 7rps each. The road followed the Mandovi River, lush with coconut palms and other exotic flora. Only the churches remain in Old Goa and it's a favourite spot for Indian tourists. They stood by the high altars to have their photos taken, and peered, as we did, at the glass case revealing the Saint's body. Yet another India..
Now off to Palolem, to our beach hut.