Goa happened, and did exactly what it said on the tin, providing a splendid couple of days wandering up and down beaches and eating the freshest possible fish. I was a little hampered by my still sprained ankle (bestriding the shifting sands was an often painful challenge), but all in all, a grand time.
There were many highlights. If you ever find yourself on Colva Beach, do pop into Boomerang, a brilliant beach bar / restaurant that serves extremely good fish (and much more) cooked in simple, beautiful ways. Once found, we kept returning, because it’s that sort of place.
Also make it your job to jump a boat and search for dolphins, but don’t bother in the afternoons. You’ll be encouraged to – many locals will try to drag you onto their vessels throughout the day, a capitalist gleam in their eye, promising that you only pay full price if you see a dolphin, with half price rates if they don’t show (and they don’t). However, get yourself down to the beach at eight in the morning, and those same intrepid dolphin chasers will happily announce that you won’t pay anything at all if you don’t see anything. At eight in the morning, this is a safe bet, because the Arabian Sea off Colva is absolutely teeming with the buggers.
Though will they stay still long enough for decent amateur photography? Will they hell. The skipper of our small boat was as entertaining as the marine life, amusing himself by playing chicken with other vessels and showing off handbrake style turns that really shouldn’t be possible on the water. At one point, he sidled up to another craft to pass across a big bag of weed and take payment. It all added zest to the boat trip.
By chance, Diwali happened while we were in Goa, and the hotel threw on a fireworks display. By further chance, this was on the 5th of November, so we got to watch explosions on Guy Fawkes night after all. Insanely dangerous explosions, at that. The staff who were responsible for setting them off had a recipe for success all their own. Having lit the various rockets and fountains of fire they had prepared, they then stood over them, staring down at them to make sure they were working okay. Only at the moment of detonation did they decide that it might be a good idea to run away.
Add to that roaming farm life, sinister packs of dogs, questionable eighties bar music, and a genuinely relaxed pace to local life, and a holiday was had.
Roll on Christmas in Thailand.