Before settling in for a quiet night (because of an early flight the next day...hateful!) we watched the sun begin its descent into the Arabian Sea from our cabin at Bogmalo Beach Resort.
The blue sky began to turn orange and small groups of people gathered on the beach. One by one, the boats on the water began making their way back to shore.
Before long, it was all over. The sun dropped, the light faded and our visit to India had come to an end.
Thanks India. That was mighty good fun. Even with the boy's day of spewing!
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary...
After spending a couple of hours by the pool drinking cocktails, Flashie and I had an idea that we might hire a driver again the next day and nick off to the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary. Because who doesn't love a Sanctuary in the middle of big cat country? Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but the Sanctuary is apparently a jungle resort set among rollings hills, and the area is supposedly frequented by panthers, leopards and swamp lynx so hopefully we wouldn't get ambushed by a trilogy of felines with a hankering for human kibble.
We filled up with a decent breakfast and headed out towards Ponda and into the mountains to have a walk around the Bondla Zoo Circuit. It’s not a big place; you can get around it in an hour easily enough but calling it a sanctuary is a fair stretch.
It's ruined I tell ya...ruined!
The good thing about hiring a driver in India is that they're very happy to essentially be at your beck and call for a pre-determined time. So if you want to spend half an hour inside a cathedral or 10 minutes looking at that interesting thing over there - they just happily wait. Of course, you pay for this privilege but to an Aussie, it's a nominal fee. We spent half a day in different locations around Old Goa before returning to our digs, in what was about a 60km trip, and I think it worked out to be about A$20.
Sé Catedral de Santa Catarina..
This is the Sé Catedral de Santa Catarina, (aka Se Cathedral) in Old Goa. It’s about 500 years old, the largest church in India and dedicated to Saint Catherine. It’s only fitting then, that I should go there for a sticky beak.
Dawn/sunrise beach happenings. Yoga, running....some people are just too energetic in the morning. It's easy enough to be upright at dawn when the weather's warm but I can't see the appeal during winter. Wait, but it's winter in Goa now! Perhaps I wouldn't sleep at all if it was summer time.
I walked for 2 and a half hours so I had two breakfasts that morning. That’s normal, right??
A walk along the river and beach at dawn is chilly enough for a light cardigan, but the temperature climbs quickly and the daily average temperature is around 30c. The water isn't much less than that.
It's a day of recovery for the boys, and relaxing by the sea for the girls. And margaritas. It's also a day of margaritas for the girls. Margaritas are our friend.
Mandrem Beach, North Goa
Waiter: “Would you like a tasty beverage while you’re hanging by the beach?”
Me: “Why yes, yes, I believe I would!”
Random touristy bits in Hampi...
Winter in Hampi: 36c, blue skies and sunshine and more sunscreen than you’ve ever seen in your life.
We pre-arranged a touring day with Raj from a local tour company, and met up with him shortly after watching the morning elephant washing ritual on the banks of Tungabhadra River. Raj had organised wheels for us (3 motorcycles and a tuk-tuk) to move about between monuments and we managed to cover quite a bit of the Vijayanagaran empire area.
The Hampi shrines and memorials contained in the UNESCO world heritage site are a sub group of the broader Vijayanagara ruins. Most of these were built between 1336 and 1570. The notable exception is the Virupaksha Temple which is a 7th century Hindu temple. The area contains various examples of civil, military and religious architecture and includes the Sacred Centre, the Royal Citadel, Hemakuta Hill Temple Complex and Zenana Enclosure.
Monkeys and temples...
If you had a competition for best big temple-like structure in Hampi and it was judged by monkeys, which one would win?
I have to confess, I totally love the ramshackle corrugated tin number. A for effort, surely?
Please give priority to…
......wheelchair bound folk who will no doubt have a great time trying to get up these steps.
Nope, there's no ramp.
The Wedding Day….Part II
But wait…. there’s more!
The bride and groom are led to his parent’s house where family and friends are waiting to welcome them home.
The Wedding Day….Part I
“The actual ceremony doesn’t take long”, everyone said.
Let there be bangles!
A Haldi ceremony requires family, friends, bangles, coconuts, bananas, bangles, ritual, tumeric, bangles, a couple of outfit changes, a couple more coconuts and a whole lotta mess! (Did I mention the gazillion bangles?)
Et voila! One bride and one groom, in their respective family houses - beautified and purified before the wedding ceremony day.
Balders is now unable to drink alcohol (booo!), do any housework (yay!!) or leave the house until after she’s wed. Might as well get an early night, then!
The Mehndi Night signalled the beginning of Balder's 4 day wedding festival in Goa where we all got henna’d up without getting liquored up (ok, there might have been a couple of cheeky beers involved).
How's the serenity?
Another day, another boat trip into serenity central...
"The island's that-a-way"...
We went on a boat jaunt to a secluded beach that the locals call an island but "it isn’t really an island...there’s just no easy way to get to the beach, so we call it an island”. Can’t argue with the logic of India! Situated between Palolem and Agonda beaches, it's a tiny little place called Butterfly Beach and is accessible via boat or a trek through forest.
A passage to India...
6 go on an adventure!
A bunch of us headed off to India right after Christmas for Balders' wedding. We kicked off at Palolem Beach in Goa where we spent New Year's Eve (with about a million other people) drinking Kingfisher beer for next to nothing, and dodging fireworks.