Monday, March 24, 2014

Holiday in Goa – La Casseta, Candolim and Calamari – 21 Mar 14

Some schools complete their term in March and give their children a 10 day break prior to starting the next academic year. This break in Ayaan’s school prompted the family to take a dip in the exotic beaches of Goa. When we got the invite, I readily jumped on to the band wagon; Jai was hesitant initially, but the attraction of being with the grand children was overwhelming.

We moved into the villa ‘La Casseta’ in Candolim - a very comfortable and well appointed 3 bed room villa with all the modern trappings and an attached swimming pool. Children enjoyed playing in the pool. Ayaan has learnt swimming and can swim a length. The twins are slowly getting used to the idea of water.

Figure 1- Villa 'La Casseta'

Candolim beach is fifteen kilometers from Panjim, beginning at Fort Aguada and merging with Calangute beach towards the end; it is one of the longest beaches in the state. I went to Goa as a tourist in December 2000. It has changed a lot since then. The tourists are omnipresent. The infrastructure has increased manifold. The approach roads are full of hotels, villa, resorts and umpteen restaurants to satisfy every type of culinary craving. During the day time it’s all about the sea, sun and sand but as the sun sets, the market place comes alive with colorful lights, music and dance. A festive atmosphere engulfs the entire town, like nowhere else.

The number of Indian tourists visiting Goa with large disposable incomes is on the increase. North Goa is no longer an exclusive hideout of the foreigners. Migrant labour from Karnataka, Bihar and the North East has found a livelihood in the ever increasing tourism industry of Goa.  

Figure 2 - With Ayaan

Figure 3 - Twins giving a serious thought

Figure 4 - Three generations stepping out

Each morning, after a good swim and breakfast at the villa, prepared by Reshma from Hubli, we would proceed to the beach. The beach is full of shacks providing shade and shelter from the elements. We decided to anchor in ‘Calamari’ – a clean shack with good toilets, shower and the rest. The weather was friendly and very comfortable in the shade with a fan. There is live music and chilled beer to uplift the soul. The sea was very calm and practically free of any white horses. Swimming in the sea is great fun and I was indulging in it after 6 years. Ayaan and I spent all our mornings in the sea, while the twins were content making sand castles in the shade.

Figure 5 - Akki and Neer in Calamari

Figure 6 - Twins enjoying the sand on the beach

Figure 7 - Jai,Neer and Ayaan tried their hand at para sailing - great adventure

Figure 8 - Rita and Ayaan bonding

Figure 9- Enigmatic sunset

Figure 10 - Calamari at night - all romance

Overcrowding of the beaches has its own flip side. Stray plastic bottles, vegetable waste from the shacks, plastic wrappers and similar objects do appear on the beach. The government needs to come down with a heavy hand and enforce ‘Zero Tolerance’ in this regard.

One of the evenings we went and had dinner in an exclusive gourmet restaurant ‘Bomras’. The food was exotic and worth every penny. The Jumbo Prawns in mustard sauce was the “pièce de ré·sis·tance”.

Figure 11 - The owner Mr Chris welcoming Mix.

Figure 12- Mix and Disha appear extremely contented.

Figure 13 - Neer, Akki and the twins, all pleased with the dinner.

Figure 14 - Jai and Rita all smiles

Staying in a villa and spending the day on the beach makes a lot of sense.The villa provides all the creature comfort and space for the children to run around.For a family outing 'villa shack combo' works out very fine. After three days of hectic fun we returned to Bangalore - completely refreshed and rejuvenated. The impromptu holiday gave us an opportunity to bond with the children. The sea is a great catalyst. 

Goa now has a new airport with a lot of teething problems (all of 32). They have to seriously look into overcrowding at the check in and security counters, cleanliness in the bathrooms, air conditioning in the top floor, parking etc.

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