Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 3: Agonda -- Patnem -- GalgiBag.

 (more on goa : click here 

Day 3: Agonda à Patnem -à GalgiBag.

Sometimes we have good days and sometimes bad. But having a good good day on an already brilliant holiday is something one cherishes even more so.It was serendipity at its best.
The day was long and eventful. We discovered 3 beautiful beaches, met some wonderful people and ate really good food.
The day started with a dolphin ride, a short motor boat trip to the sea, a few kilometers off the coast. It is a 600 rupees trip. Out in the open sea, it is quite peaceful, the thrill of spotting dolphins is contagious; we managed to spot ten to twelve dolphins. Magnificent creatures dolphins are, out in the wild the enigma increases four square. Few even put up a show – they jumped out of water, and flipped twice.
On the boat, we meet Brad and Liz, a British couple from Cornwall living at the same resort as us. A retired professor and nurse, they have been coming to Goa for the last ten years and know Goa better than most people who claim to know Goa. At 70 and 63 years, Brad and Liz are truly living it up. . We convinced our boatman to drop us at the beach next to Kola-- Agonda Beach. On Liz’s recommendation and reference we break feasted at a shack called Gratitude.

Agonda Beach

Agonda beach is great. Stretches long almost 3 kilometers , the water is calm and shallow till a long way in, so a weak swimmer can definitely go deep and still feel safe. Occasionally dolphins come close to the shore and swim around. Agonda feels like a global settlement. A single dirt path ambles along with shacks, hutments, small houses, a line of coconut trees and other shrubs. Cows and buffaloes often cause traffic jams, and you can hear faint squeaks of protest from bikers. Most are patient as no one is really in a hurry. Simple and amiable village folks walking, loitering , lazing around, sitting on benches , eating home cooked rice and fish curry at the road side dhaba and chai shops, many on scooters and bicycles ambling along.. only the so called village folks can be Germans, Brits , Greeks or Asians or scores of east Europeans -- name a country, you have a representative.
We ate at Gratitude.The moment we took Brad and Liz’s reference, Rajesh the owner, became a friend for life
Break Feast: Israeli Breakfast – Hummus, Pita bread, fries, a green salad, black coffee (as Goa usual horrible) and orange juice.Then a Chocolate pancake and more juice.
Pramod our server is far from home. The long hours of work and no extra time wage makes him a bit whiny. Every morning he wakes up at 5 am, goes for a long run on the beach and is a karate black belt. He wants to get back to Nepal and complete his higher secondary, but hates farming, so reckons he’ll have to leave home soon. He says years in cities have made him lazy, so says a young boy who works 15 hours a day. He likes bartending and claims his Caprioshkas are the best. In conversation I found myself telling him my life story, we spoke in hindi at length. He’s yet to master English, and was thrilled when an Indian trotted along, he sighs that it is such a rarity. Imagine hearing that in India. I learnt that he was once working in Pune, at a restaurant quite close to my college. We gushed and hawed. My second glass of juice I noticed was in a bigger glass and more thick.
We watch Vishnu, his fellow compatriot welcome few extremely white girls with –‘ Hellloooo , welcome beauties, how arh youh ? , Pramod shakes his head; he has a long way to go. I hope he comes back next year; I’d like to meet him again.The day was going great, only 10:30 am, and I’d already met and befriended some wonderful people.
After the huge meal, my friend and I hopped on a bike, courtesy Rajesh and took off. The plan was to hit Patnem and the famous South Goa beach -- Palolem. We never reached Palolem.


The beach is indeed lovely; right blend of frolic and peace. Not too isolated as Kola and slightly more urban than Agonda. Way less crowded and much cleaner than Palolem. The water is great similar to Agonda’s. One can walk way into the sea, splash and even swim. The sea feels calmer here.
A great place to eat would be Sabai-Sabai. An enchanting place on the main beach road, this is Sabai Sabai’s first season.
Meet Mario – An Italian, the owner, the chef and the bartender. I found Mario an endearing character, extremely stressed and amiable.
I sip on one of the best iced coffee I have ever had. We take a look at the rooms and the beach huts. The design, the style, the high standards and the affordable rates blow me over. Mario is warm and slightly temperamental, but I hear all Italians are that way. His rates are nominal. Ranging from rupees 600 for beach huts to 1000 for single rooms. The rooms are comfortable with modern bathrooms, something which most other establishment provides at much higher rates. If I wasn’t in love with my Kola beach, I‘d shift.
Mario even lets us use his shower in his room (as all rooms were occupied) to freshen up. Classy guy I must add.
We chat up with another employee there, Amita, a shy Goan girl. In conversation she opens up, and seems thrilled that we speak Hindi. She suggests a beach; not very many people know about, it piques our interest.
And off we go …to Galgibag.Back from Galgibag ... We head back to Sabai Sabai . To thank Amita and try Mario’s food. I wasn’t disappointed.
Mario cooked and served an exotic sea salad with crab, mussels, prawns and fish and oven baked thin crust authentic Italian pizza. Sabai Sabai is probably one of the few places you’ll get good coffee. Mario is warm and a brilliant cook, he has an open kitchen, and I could see the stressed Italian cook with a zest and intrigue quite enchanting. Plus a meal made with so much heart was bound to taste great.
To top that, the Tiramisu made me weak in the knees. It was as if Mario was in love with me, and had just made it for me. It made me feel special. I have never tasted tiramisu so good, so rich and so fresh.

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