Posted in Goa, India, travel, True Story, Inspirational

Destination Goa (part 6)

images (2)

We were really tired after the million flights and we wanted to get to our hotel asap.  We were concerned if we could find our driver from Acron Waterfront amongst this massive crowd.  Just then we saw the name board  with our names on.  Hard to explain our feelings at that time.  It was a combination of relief and excitement.

We walked to our van.  I don’t think it was parked legally.  But I think that was the norm. Our van started off surrounded by a lot honking.  I put my seat belt on.  My sister in law Jan tried to put hers.  But her side belt was broken.  I joked that was her punishment for making me marry her brother.

Our actual holiday was now starting.  Our driver didn’t speak much English.  But seemed like a nice guy.  He smiled a lot for the million questions we were asking.

We were trying take in all the scenary of Goa.  Looked pretty green.  But we also saw snippets of poverty.  Modern billboards adorned the sides of the freeway.  Battle between modernisation and poverty were rather evident.

Poverty is confronting, especially if you are from the western world.   But, only a few of us want to really get involved.  Most of us our sympathisers from a distance.  Jan and I belonged to the same hypocrisy club.

We were hoping and praying that our hotel was somewhere nice.  Acron was on the other side of Baga bridge or beach or both.  It was a fair distance away from the airport .  The road was becoming more remote.  Our concerns were hightening.

Eventually we entered into Acron.  It looked really beautiful.  We were greated by more smiling faces at their outdoor reception/ office area.  We were immediately offered a drink. I think it was Gauva juice.  We were sceptical about accepting the drink due to all the warnings re water.  We were assured this was clean and safe.  I took a few sips.  It did taste nice but was scared to take in more sips.

We booked the garden view rooms, as they were a few bobs cheaper.  It was still pretty early in the morning, but they announced that they had a Waterview room ready and they were going to give it to us and didn’t charge us anything extra for early check in nor for the upgrade of the room.

We were both so tired this gesture was heaven sent. Good start to our holiday.  But…

Posted in Goa, India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, travel, True Story, Inspirational, Word prompt

Destination Goa (Part 3)

passport

 

Passport – check, Tickets – check, Phone – check, Phone – charger check, Ipad – check, Thyroxin – check.  I was anxious that I was going to leave something behind.  I was already anxious about this trip but to make things worse, just days before the departure, the Indian Government called in all the 500RS notes.  This in turn caused a massive shortage of money in the country.  Also couldn’t buy any Indian currency in Australia. And we heard reports that there were massive queues at atm machines and banks. “just our luck” we thought.

I was anxious of the unknown safety issues, I was excited about meeting my buddy and having a well earned break, I was sad about leaving hubby, son and my baby dog, (well I had to include and hubby and son to avoid judgement. But then again no shame in admitting that I was glad to lose them for a week or so to get a bit of rest, but my doggy on the other hand, I am really going to miss him).  Those droopy eyes were telling me “mummy don’t leave me”.

Australian immigration – it took me all of 5 minutes to clear.  Just like Jim Jeffreys said, Aussie airport and it’s security practices/measures are rather unique.  Not exactly unique but definitely very different to most other airports.   Don’t get me wrong, it is safe as anywhere can be.  But, just don’t have the same panic and stress ridden atmosphere.  The guy checking your passport, no sorry there is no guy checking your passport, a machine does matching for you. You have almost no human contact.  You see plenty of humans, but no one seems to care about you, they just want you to just piss off, without giving chance to form a queue.  You will be rushed through automatic sliding door after door and you are now way too early for your flight.

Took my tablet out and started to write, continuation of my story “friendship and war…” well I haven’t settled on the heading yet.  With all the travel plans I hadn’t touched this for sometime.  Read the last page I had written, did some editing.  Then continued on with the story.  Couple of times I stopped and glanced around to see what everyone else was doing.  It looked like they were practicing boredom.

Finally time to board.  Once again I had to smile sheepishly at the young good looking guy, well not sure if he was good looking, but he was definitely tall and ask him if he could put my hand luggage up in the overhead locker.  He was only too happy to oblige. Again not sure if he was happy as such, but nevertheless helped the short damsel in distress.

The problem with living in Australia is that, it is really down, down down there.  And also it is a such a huge country.  And if you are from South Australia, it takes nearly 3 hours before you can leave your own fricking country.  I watched a movie and some comedy skit on a tiny screen, with screen moving as per the front persons movements.  It was better to get back to writing.  I put the tablet on my lap rather than on the moving tray table.

Drinks cart was a welcome interruption.  “Sav Blanc” didn’t taste like any “Sav Blanc ” I’ve ever tasted.  But it was free.  Also, this was the beginning of the “girls” holiday.  So, I convinced myself, “holiday begins now”. So rubbish Sav blanc or not I had to have it.  But all in all it wasn’t too bad a flight.  Spoke to hubby from the airport.  Sent a couple of messages to Jan. But she didn’t answer.  She must have been still mid air.

I did some window shopping.  I planned what  to buy on my return journey.  Had a cup of tea, a massage, visited the butterfly garden and time passed.  Time for my next flight. The one that I was most anxious and nervous about.  Mumbai here I come.

 

Cont…

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/passport/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/security/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/luck/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/clean/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/automatic/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/nervous/

 

 

Posted in India, Sri Lanka, travel, True Story, Inspirational

Destination Goa (part 2)

Goa beach

We both liked the sound of Goa.  We started to do more research about the place from the internet as well as from known people.  Glenn was great at calming my nerves. As well as giving me valuable information about the place and giving me tips on the do’s and don’ts.  We got to know Glenn through my youngest son.  He was the Director for many of the drama productions my son was involved in.  Glenn is white on the outside but truly an Indian on the inside.  He visits and at times lives in India for long periods. At this particular time he was living in Mumbai and regularly visiting Goa.

The advise we heard from many was to avoid South Goa.  Russian mafia seems to have an influence in that part of Goa and makes it an unsavoury place for Tourists.  But, then again it would depend on your age group and your interests I think.  Glenn summed it up nicely.  He said South Goa for Russians is like Bali for Aussies.  Glenn also gave me places to eat and have a drink.  Places where if I say his name and said I was Glenn’s friend I would be treated well.

I also had a chat to another friend and work colleague.  She was from Goa, or her family was from Goa.  She was born in Africa but her family originally comes from Goa and she still had many cousins who lived there.  She gave me a array of phone numbers, just in case we needed some help.

Armed with places to eat and phone numbers to call we were now feeling a lot more confident in booking our flights and accommodation.

Once again my buddy became a fly at the buffet.  For weeks we were stripping Trip Advisor website to shreds. Every review was scrutanised.  In the meantime one of her friends parted the words “you must stay at Taj holiday village”.  https://vivanta.tajhotels.com/en-in/holiday-village-goa/

We had looked at this previously (many a times I might add), but now when we were finally ready to book, they did not have the dates available.  The only option given to us was that they could accommodate us for the last two of the dates of our holiday.  Jan was happy to take it, I was happy to take any thing.  Horray, at least two days of our holidays we had a bed to sleep on.

So now we had to find another place for the beginning.  Finally we settled on Acron Waterfront.  In a way it was good that we did not get more than two days to stay at Taj as it was very pricey.   https://www.acronwaterfrontresortgoa.com/

Along with trying to get accommodation in Goa, we also tried our best to align our itineraries. So, for me it was Aus to Singapore, Singapore to Mumbai, Mumbai to Goa.  I was supposed to reach Mumbai around 9.00pm and then our flight to Goa was next morning at 5.00am.  Jan after her million flights would reach Mumbai at 1.00am and leave for Goa on the same flight as me at 5.00am.  Return journey, we would reach the airport at the same time but I leave to Mumbai and she would to Bangalore to get her connection for Kerala. This way we thought we could share the same cab/shuttle to and from the airport.  Strength in numbers was our thinking.

I had a five or six hour stay in Singapore. I wasn’t concerned about that, I love that airport.  I could spend a whole day without any trouble, my credit card might, but I have no issues of a lengthy stay at Singapore airport.  On the other hand I was rather worried about my stay at the Mumbai airport.  Found out that Mumbai had a Airport Transit hotel. So I made a booking for me, per my memory they do hourly or 4hr blocks. http://www.nirantahotels.com/

I was taking every precaution I could, I even bought a new handbag just for my travels. No, it wasn’t an excuse to buy another handbag.  All my handbags are designed so I could just dump stuff in there.  No zips or any other sealing mechanism.  So I bought one that had a zip, straps that I could put it across my shoulder.  All this to prevent the bag snatching.

Glenn kept assuring me that Mumbai was very safe and there was a lot of respect for “aunty” age people.  But, I kept thinking what would a “white man” know.  And he had just ticked me off by putting me in the “aunty” age group.  For the benefit of other possible travelers to India, the other advise given to me was mainly regarding water.  So only bottled water and no salads.

I did get a few jabs.  Can’t remember what they were for… possibly for Malaria, Hep B and Hep C and something else.  Not sure which Hep I took.  Sometimes people have natural immunity to one of them.  It’s best to do a blood test to find out if you have this natural immunity.  You need to start on the jabs about a month before.  My advise would be to check with your GP a month ahead rather than rely on the above information.

Applied online for the Indian Visa.  Be aware there are many bogus websites.  I guess one way to find out if you are in the right website is in the number of stupid questions asked. If you are in the right website, then you would need information on pretty much everyone and everything.  I was surprised they did not have a question about my cat.  It would have been hard to explain that I do not own a cat.  The problem also was that until you answer the question you cannot go to the next page.  My dad passed away 30 years ago, they needed his occupation, qualification etc. Anyway, I diligently got all the information and submitted my application as I did not want to be deported. I uttered “bloody Indians” many a times (don’t judge me yet, I am apologetic for my judgement by the end of the trip).  My visa arrived within about 2-3 days.

My dog was sulking as I started packing.

Cont….