I’ve recently returned from a trip to Goa. I’ve been to India before and was captivated the first time round, so when I got the chance to go again, I jumped at the chance.
We’d booked the holiday some months earlier, Sheena and I, and were so-o looking forward to going. The flight to Goa from Gatwick is about eight and a half hours so although we left the UK at 13.25 we didn’t reach the hotel until about 07:00 Goan time. In any event, we were having breakfast in our hotel by 07:30. It’s about a ten-hour flight coming back home, which is a bit of a drag (no pun intended). The difference in time is something to do with the tail wind.
Dona Sylvia beach resort in Cavelossim had been recommended to us and we were not disappointed. If I have a complaint to make about the hotel, it’s that there are a lot of switches in the room and no guide to tell you what they all do. Maybe we should have known, or maybe we should have been more systematic in our fiddling with the switches but we did struggle for a few days. We had the ceiling fan on every time we turned on a light and got the lights to work at sometimes, and not at others…. Sheena and I have both travelled quite a lot and can usually cope with these things so I’m inclined to think that there should have been a manual. The hotel is going through a refurb so hopefully it will all be easier next time I visit.
For us Brits, eating out in India is very inexpensive. In fact, pretty much everything is inexpensive. There are some things in the supermarkets that cost more, such as baked beans, and I suppose if you are a Brit abroad for a few months, you might want them, but the local food is so fresh and well-prepared, I’d rather eat that.
The beach is a short walk through the hotel, although, surprisingly (to me, at any rate) it doesn’t have any rights to it. Some of the hotels do and I rather think the Dona Sylvia has missed a trick.
On our first day on the beach, we met a woman whom we affectionately called “Dog Lady,” although I now know her name is Jane.
Lying on our sun beds, white as a magnolia painted wall, it was probably a bit of a give-away, but she said,
“Are you English?”
“Yes,” came the response in unison.
“There’s a dog under the sun bed next to you.”
We both looked. There was.
“They are going to come and take him away. There’s something wrong with his eyes and he needs treatment. It’s just it’s not very nice, the way they do it, and if you are animal lovers, you might find it distressing.”
It transpires that Jane has an association with the Goa Animal Welfare Trust,
a charity that helps to neuter, flea, worm and generally look after the many stray dogs in India. The guys from the charity turned up soon after and caught the dog easily so off he went to be looked after. We saw this happen a few times while we were there, but I must say, I didn’t think it was at all cruel. Of course, it probably helped with the Brits feeding the dogs a few minutes beforehand…
We had stray cats at the hotel too, although they are apparently nothing to do with the hotel. One was an albino who was sitting on a chair in our veranda when we got home one day. Blondie was very talkative, and wanted to come in.
“No,” said I, when Sheena popped to the bar, “You’ve probably got fleas.”
I did weaken and got her a Pringle, which she seemed to think was ok. Good job she just walked around me and didn’t sit on my lap; she did have fleas, and so did I when she’d left. We had a few visits from Blondie during our stay, and for a tiny little thing, she made a lot of noise.
We had a few trips out while we were over there, and saw some beautiful sights, about which I will tell you over the next few weeks.
© Susan Shirley 2016