We are staying at the Le Meridien at Calangute. This area falls in North Goa and we zeroed in on this hotel as this was my first visit to Goa and I wanted to visit the touristy places, most of which are in North Goa.
Le Meridien does not have a beach frontage. It is located in the middle of the town with shops and eateries at a stone’s throw; and for splashing around there is a pool surrounded by sun loungers.
Our two days in Goa started only after a leisurely breakfast at the restaurant in the hotel called Latest Recipe. We spent two hours here from 8:30 am to 10:30 am; the soothing ambience, cheerful staff and the delicious food kept us lingering here in the mornings. As a result our sight-seeing began only post 11:00 am.
One of the earliest books I read on Goa was “One sip at a time” by the late George Menezes; it cost only Rs. 65/-, but was worth a lot more. It was a collection of articles published by him in various newspapers. The anecdotes are set in Goa, Mumbai (when it was still called Bombay) and across the world where he has travelled, diving into all aspects of life; crisp, short and hilarious I enjoyed all the stories.
Through the author, I believed Goa to be charming place still steeped in the old ways and grappling with the new changes of which he was so appalled. I bought the book years ago; it travelled from my hostel to my parents home and remained at the back of the cupboard for years.
I returned home from the hostel after completing my engineering, tugging along all the accumulated text-books and story books. The relevant text books were passed on to my brother; who returned after his engineering degree with a lot more books. They are still stacked away in my parents home as my mom cannot bear the though of giving away books partly because they were expensive esp. the foreign editions and in other parts because of the belief that maybe someday they may be useful again, say for some reference work or can be passed on to cousins.
Years passed, but we never went back to the textbooks again, because both me and my brother never followed the engineering field ( a familiar story in the Indian middle class ) and my mother is yet to find someone to pass them to. But now she has realised that no one will want the old edition of textbooks as the syllabuses have changed and the newer editions will have more relevant data. So she is preparing to give away the books.
But the story books enjoy a perpetual life at home, as they are often re-read and I once again read this book “One sip at a time” after my recent Goa trip. In his book, the author talks about a Goan experience called “sucego” which he describes as a state of blissfulness, doing nothing. Goa is a perfect for experiencing sucego; although the author says for that “you have to be true a Goan and must have the tanginess of vindaloo in the marrow of your bones.”
Maybe derived from the Portuguese word sossegado meaning quiet, the Konkani (the Goan language) version is susegad.
That’s exactly what the people travel here for; to get away from the routine and daily grind of life. Me on the other hand had the thrill of being in Goa for the first time running in my bones. As a result, I had a list of touristy places to see and restaurants to eat from and jam-packed the first day. Having covered most of the famous landmarks, the second day was more leisurely. And to experience “sucego” I need to come back again !!
Here’s the itinerary for two days in Goa:
11:30 am – Fort Aguada
12:30 pm – Reis Magos fort
2:30 pm – Lunch at Mum’s Kitchen, Panjim
3:30 pm – Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, Panjim
4:40 pm – Church of Bom Jesus, Old Goa
6:30 pm – Dona Paula Viewpoint, Panjim
8:30 pm – Dinner at Lazy Goose, Calangute
12:30 pm – Lunch at Antares, Vagator
2:00 pm – Museum of Goa
4:00 pm – Mario Gallery, Calangute
8:00 pm – Dinner at A Reverie, Calangute
Our kid was not happy with the planning. There are no beaches in the list. How can you come to Goa and not visit a single beach? Scarilege !! As a consolation for the kid, he spent the evenings after the sight-seeing and before dinner in the hotel pool. More the next post !!