In Florida, where I grew up, you can drive all the way south to Key West from about Savannah, Georgia on U.S. Highway A1A along the coastline. All the while the ocean will nearly always be within sight on your left. I guess I expected Goa to look something like that, but it wasn’t. On the long ride from the airport in Panaji, we’d get only occasional glimpses of water in the distance, but nothing really stupendous jumped out at me until we crossed this long bridge. The sight of oceans and marinas always stirs my blood a little, probably because of the Florida connection. (This begins the “out” portion to which the title refers. The “down” part will come a little later.)
During our stay we arranged to take a Sunset Cruise that featured a Goan dance troupe performing a program, for our cultural entertainment, of folk and religious dances with traditional dress. One of the dances was the Portuguese peasant dance, unsurprisingly spanish-influenced. It was still daylight when we got on the boat for departure, so there was a chance for a little sightseeing before the sun went down. If memory serves, the palatial tile-topped building in the skyline in the photo below is the Baga Marina Beach Resort Hotel. There’s also a church and a dome-topped orange temple, and you can see what appears to be homes along the edge of the river.
Then the sun begins to take on the appearance of a giant over-easy egg yolk as it begins its dip from a pink colored sky into the golden sun-rays splattered on the water. Then we hear the music and the dancers make their appearance. At its conclusion, the D.J. begins a selection of music, and invites the audience to come down to dance. The stage is quite small, so he designates couples only, ladies only, etc. so everybody has an equal chance to enjoy themselves. The rest of us watch and laugh and drink. The best part comes near the end when the men are invited to come on down! to dance Bollywood style. Yay! ML commented that she had never seen so many men dancing together and alone, except maybe on a trip to Greece many years ago, or maybe a gay dance bar. I reckon it all depends on how many drinks you’ve consumed that makes the difference, but it’s a sight none of us will ever forget. (Sorry the photo is so dark, but it is night as I said.)
We passed several boats that were mostly dark like the one we were on. This boat seemed to be a more glamorous casino-type cruise with lights flashing, but whenever we passed by I didn’t see many people about. Maybe the liquor on the lighted boat was better and everybody had already passed out on the lower decks. Or maybe the big spenders were just being tight that evening.
I wanted to show you this picture, (below) because it illustrates what I’ve said several times how you should always walk in India with your eyes cast downward to where you’re walking. Imagine if you were walking down this street on a dark night, maybe to drink a few bottles of Kingfisher (beer) at Molly Malone’s. And let’s say that there are parked cars, and other cars passing you on your left, and you decide to move to your right to avoid the traffic. One minute you’re on solid land, the next minute you’re stepping into an abyss. An accident just waiting to happen.
That’s exactly what I did trying to avoid the traffic and ended up in the drainage ditch in the picture below. It doesn’t look very deep, but I’m sure it’s about 24 inches deep at least. What a thing to happen not even half way into our trip. I had a cut in my hand, dug some glass out in the bathroom of the restaurant we were going to, and a purple/black bruise from my hip to my knee. It only faded completely a couple of weeks after I returned home. There’s no such thing as a hazard warning for pedestrians. But this accident was one that waited for me!
By the way, the dogs usually lie in the streets. I asked Hubby why they lie in the streets where, by the looks of all those limping around on three legs, they’re being run over or killed. Because they don’t belong to anyone, he said, they’re fed or get their food from whatever they can find around town and on the beaches. Sometimes families will take turns feeding them, but if they go into a yard to rest they’re shushed away by the property owner. So if they’re not on the beaches, they’re in town. The only place they can rest is on the street. There are hundreds of these pye dogs, which literally means “ownerless half-wild Asian dog,” around. They’re very docile, but I try very hard not to look at them because they seem so sad. I think how horrible it would be to go through life with no one to care for and love you, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. If ML had not taken this picture, I would not have had the only photo to remember my infamous fall at Goa. That and the bruise deep inside my thigh that I still feel two month later.
The next post will feature a close-up look at the Madagoan Railway Station and the train that takes us southward to Kochi. Hope you’ll join me.