Paul and Rita's World Tour 2006/7 - India


 (not yet)
World Tour 2006/7 home page home


So what if its less than twelve months since we were last in India, we like it, and we havent been to Goa and the South West for 10 years, so it's about time we went back.  So many people have said that Goa has got to commercial and busy, we thought we'd better have another look.

History:  Many and varied Language: Hindi mainly, but lots of others and many people speak some English at least  Population: 1.05 billion, and growing Money: 1GBP = 86 Rupees as at 24/1/07. Toilet Situation: Outlook: Grim to delightful, depending on situation. British Tourists per year: 600,000

Diary shortcuts - click on item to jump to section

23rd Jan 2007 - Arrive Mumbai
24th Jan 2007 - Mumbai to Goa
25th Jan to 9th Feb 2007 - Colva, Goa
9th to 13th Feb, 2007 - Mumbai


Tue 23rd January, 2007

Arrived at Mumbai International, good flight but a bumpy landing, 6 out of 10 for effort.  Our visas seemed to be in order and we were soon through immigration and even our checked in bags came out fairly soon.  Outside of arrivals was the usual greeting you find at most Indian airports, a wall of bodies with small pieces of paper being waved hopefully in your faces, all having other peoples names written on them.  We've only once ever been met at the airport by someone with a piece of  paper with our names on, must be comforting sometimes.   Having broken through the wall of bodies, we found out the ATM was back the other side, so through the wall we went again and attacked the ATM.  In a lot of countries I'd be worried about withdrawing money from an ATM in sight of so many people, but not so much here,  although we were in a small room the walls were  mostly glass, and even if they couldn't see us, what else would you go into an ATM for!   Loaded with dosh of the rupee form, Rita piled into what passes for a queue in these  parts at the taxi booking stand, managing to impose her way gradually to the front and booked us a taxi into the city. 

45 minutes later we pulled up outside our selected hotel, not holding out too much hope of getting a room as it is a popular choice of the Lonely Planet guidebook, and as it was 10:30pm we were probably the last to arrive.  And we were right to be pessimistic, they were full.  No problems, found a place nearby that gave us a room for 900 rupees, not brilliant but ok.  

Back to Itinerary

Wed 24th January, 2007

Up fairly early to try and sort out transport to Goa, the best option being a flight if we could get one for today.  We wanted to get down there as soon as possible so we could sort out accommodation for Tony and Veronica, who are arriving in Goa from Manchester tomorrow, but we also wanted to get out of Mumbai before Republic Day, a public holiday in India and also a potential trouble day as far as "naxalites" and other terrorist go.  Found a good local cafe for a masala dosa, then right around the corner there was a flight booking agency, where we were able to book a Jet Airways flight to Goa this afternoon, 3000 Re each.  The glight was at 2:35pm so it didn't give us much time to pack and get out to the airport.  Had an expensive pre-flight beer in posh bar in domestic terminal, 300 Re for a small bottle, its not that expensive in London!  Guess it must be frequented by Bollywood stars as they jet around the country.

Short flight, only an hour, but they still managed to serve up a curry.  What a great airline. No beer though.  What a crap airline.  Arrived at Dabolim (aka Goa) Airport at 3:30pm.  The increased security at the airport, due to the impending Republic Day, meant that the crowds just outside the arrivals hall were bigger than usual, but it was quieter inside as only passengers and staff were allowed there.  Negotiations for a taxi were brief, although because we didn't know what the going rate was, when offered a taxi for 600 we offered 400 and got it for 450.  The best rate should be around 350 to 400, so we found out after, so we didn't do too badly.

Got a room at the Lucky Star Hotel in Colva, 550 rupees for an ok room.  It is next door to the Longhuinos hotel, which we thought would be suitable for Tony and Vron, but after checking into the Lucky Star we went next door only to find they were fully booked.  Doh!   Spent a few hours wandering around Colva, checking out all the half decent places for availability and suitability, the problem being we weren't really that sure what would suit them, so we figured we'd better get something reasonably nice for a couple of days and they could sort themselves out after that.  It was a good job we did, it turns out that we've arrived on one of the busiest times of the season and there are hardly any rooms available.  We managed to get a half promise that we could get first refusal on any room that became available tomorrow morning at the Star Beach Resort, at least it had a pool and looked ok, even if it didn't have a bar!  Back at the Lucky Star we had an excellent curry for dinner.    Back to Itinerary

Thu 25th January, 2007

Up early and down to the Star Beach to see if they have any rooms, our luck was in, they had a double but it was one of their expensive ones.  Never mind, Tony's paying, and they need a room for a couple of nights to get sorted, we'll take it.

Sent a text messgae to Tony to tell him we'd booked somewhere and there'd be a taxi waiting outside the arrivals hall for him  I didn't mention I'd be waiting there too, thought it might be a nice surprise.  Set off for the airport at 4pm in one of the little van s that passes for tourist transport in these parts.  Wasn't sure which flight they were arriving on, and there were two exits from the arrivals halls, although Tony had told me the flight arrived at 4:25pm, there wasn't a flight listed on the rather limited arrivals information board, and by 5:15pm I was getting a trifle concerned that I might have missed them and they'd got another taxi.  But then I glimpsed Tony coming out from the arrivals hall, so I hid behind the crowd and thrust my "Our Kid Tony and Vron" notice high into the air.  It was great to see the surprise on their faces as he spotted the sign almost immediately, then I appeared from behind the crowd and started waving.  

Back in Colva and at their new hotel, they were quite pleased with the room, and we cracked open a couple of beers and a bottle of wine to celebrate their arrival, luckily they had a fridge in the room.   


Some time later....

I dont know where the time has gone, and we don't seem to have done anything!  Tony and Vron love to sunbathe and generally lounge on the beach by day, and have a nice meal in the evening.  We've spent a couple of daytimes with them, doing similar, but it's not really us, as many of you already know.  But it has been nice sitting in the shade and relaxing, and the food has been fairly good.  Because of the number of foreign tourists, there is a wide variety of food available, European as well as Asian, and even beef and pork on the menu, a rarity in India.  I've spent a fair bit of time trying to get my laptop online, which should be a straightforward proposition in India, but never turns out to be.  I'm now online, after buying a new modem, and although its a fairly slow connection it only cost be 12 rupees a day, unlimited use.  Can't complain about that.  Except, of course, it doesn't always work!

We've also been making plans and arrangements for our home in Normandy, not easy at times because of the time difference and not being there.   We seem to be stuck in Goa somehow, we had plans to go on to Mangalore and then further on, but it's just not happened yet,  maybe because we're getting more engrossed in our plans for home, but I think it's also because we've run out of steam, after over two years of being without a home and travelling for most of that time. It wears you down a bit. and although we've really enjoyed everywhere we've been, and we're still enjoying our time in Goa, we think it's about time we went home.    

Back to Itinerary

Fri 9th February, 2007

Arrived in Bombay for our last few days in India, before we go home.  We had left a bag at the left luggage room when we had flown down to Goa, and were a trifle surprised to find the building had been demolished in the two weeks since we were last here.  So where's our bag then?  An hour of driving around in a taxi on a wild goose chase finally ended when we located our bag in a dark and dusty upstairs room behind the Airports Authority canteen.  Obvious really, I dont know why we didn't check there in the first place.  The bag was covered in brown dust, but otherwise seemed intact.  The only bonus was they didn't have the nerve to ask for any money, it should have been 13 rupees a day.  Once in the Colaba district, downtown, we struggled to find a half decent room for the first night, one of the problems of arriving late afternoon.  Ended up in a grotty room with no windows and a dodgy communal toilet at the end of the corridor, 450 rupees a night.  Ah, the joys of cheap travel.   

The following morning we moved to the Carlton Hotel, sounds posher than it looks, but we managed to secure a nice room with en-suite, and even air-con.  Whopping 1250 rupees a night.  We figured that if we're going back to European weather, perhaps we'd better start getting acclimatized, its going to be 25 degrees cooler!

Time to shop.  Having not utilised our joint 46kg checked-in luggage allowance on this trip, we've decided we might as well stock up on a cheap goodies to take back with us.  The cloth market at Mangalden was a bit disappointing, we couldn't find the silk we were after and what they had seemed very expensive, compared with the silk we had bought in Bangalore last year..  The shiny stainless steel shops caught our attention, as they always do, and I bought a great griddle sort of thing, for cooking dosas on. Expect dosas for breakfast when you come to stay with us in Normandy.

Time is rolling on and we've had a good time in Bombay, although its a lot more expensive than Goa and other parts of India.  There are some very lively bar/restaurants down here in the Colaba district, full of locals as well as tourists.  We're sad to be going back early as far as not staying in India for longer, but on the other hand we're really excited about getting back home.  We've got a lot of work to do!


World Tour 2006/7 home page home