06 October 2013

Goa to Kochi and Alleppy, India (15)



Averina Beach, Goa - stunning resort!

Sadly, our last day at Averina Beach, Goa. The rain, which has been very co-operative so far, is now saying "don't go"! The hotel is very busy now with 2 conferences and an Indian wedding on Saturday. It seems that this becomes a very noisy affair so just as well we are leaving although I would have loved to witness an Indian wedding in India.
The drive to the airport is so slow, with many speed breakers in the road, plenty of twists and turns and the inevitable two wheelers (scooters)
We arrived early so could check out seat numbers. Our cases were over-weight so the check-in chap suggested that we put some extra things into our hand luggage. Quite a performance this was in the airport but we managed to shuffle things around so that they accepted our bags without forfeit of IR2500.

It is rather crazy that Jet Airlines expect international travellers to only have 15 kgs of luggage. Lesson - check the fine print BEFORE buying the ticket!
Goa airport is a very busy spot. Located on 2 floors with not much to do, watching the planes takes on a life of it's own. No photography is allowed of the exterior areas so we could not video this live action! I did spot quite a number of Indians taking photos with their cell phones though. Admittedly, the notice is rather small - I had not noticed it but James is always aware of these things as he goes thru so much security whilst travelling in West Africa.
What was totally fascinating was watching the planes landing and taking off as a road crosses the runway!! The boom goes down and the traffic has to come to  halt while the planes land or take-off. Once the plane is out of the way, the boom is opened again and the two wheelers go zooming along. It's the funniest sight to watch and certainly made the time pass quickly while waiting for our flight.
The first flight was 50 minutes - by the time they have reached their altitude, it is time to start descending again. This plane started descended ages before landing - not pleasant. The 2nd flight to Kochi was only 40 mins! Luckily, the plane did not go too high so the flight was good.
The driver was waiting for us with a tiny car. One of the bags had to go on the roof - luckily, it was not raining! The drive to Panoramic Sea Resort is 90 km and it takes 2 very long hours! The traffic is crazy, the drivers are far more rash than even in Mumbai and we saw 2 accidents along the way. First accidents in 2 weeks. Kochi at night looks very modern with large, new looking buildings. Many have streamers of light hanging down in various colours so it looks like early Christmas. We passed loads of beautiful furniture shops, new car showrooms, enormous electronic shops with washing machines etc, gyms, clothing stores, brightly lit and clean looking restaurants and supermarkets. Unfortunately, we came to the end of this eventually and entered into an area more like the India we have come to know - tiny, roadside shops and not much else.
Although the driving is so very bad and they all drive as if they are totally drunk, there is a very strict "No Drunk Driving" law and drivers are breathalysed at traffic lights!!! The mind boggles - with such bad and dangerous drivers on the road, other measures should be in place regarding safety, in my humble opinion.
We eventually reached the hotel and were shown into a tiny room which was awful. We asked for a change and received another of the same size but marginally better. Supposedly partial self-catering, their is not a plate or knife and fork anywhere to be seen. The location is just opposite the beach so the beach road is busy - thankfully, traffic did stop during the night! We ordered some Kingfishers and Spring Rolls and were sitting on the porch enjoying these when a beggar came to the fence and just stood staring at us. He would not budge so James went to call Security who chased him away.
For the first time, there are Tuk-Tuk's outside the hotel so I think we will try one at some stage. Although how we will manage to stay in this room for 2 weeks, I have no clue! Only Gold Crown Resorts for us in future - this is supposedly Silver Crown??? 2 star maybe - which is not my choice of accommodation!
One thing I have to mention here is the fact that the staff are extremely pleasant, willing to assist and so friendly. In all the chaos of the luggage unpacking at the airport, James managed to lose his key for his case! "I always keep it in my laptop bag, dear, so why must you put it with your keys?" is the stock answer I always get. My keys are in a little drawstring pouch, inside my bag - safe and sound. But no, men must do their own thing so he ended up at 21.30 hrs with no keys to his suitcase!!! Just a little thing to add to the stress of the day.....
The resort made James sign before they would break open his lock this morning but it is now unlocked so he can take his pills and put on clean clothes!
Let's see what the rest of the day brings......

Breakfast OK but nowhere near as good as Averina Beach! However, it filled the hole and we then wandered off with cameras to Alleppy Beach. The beach is huge, there is litter in places but not all over and our eyes nearly popped out of our heads when we saw camels on the beach! There is just no way I am getting onto a camel but there were some takers. Camels on a beach - anything goes in India it seems and there is a surprise around every corner. We also came upon a "shoot" - a couple standing in the water with 2 guys taking photo's. He did tell me what they were doing but I still don't know what he said. I am finding the Indian accent very difficult here in Kerala which is not good. Anyway, we joined in by taking photo's of the couple, all beautifully dressed in red. Perhaps pre-wedding or after wedding? Further down there was another couple but they only had one camera man - he must be somewhat cheaper? They all seem to take pictures of their feet and then them walking away.
Unfortunately, one cannot swim at this beach as it is too dangerous with a strong undertow.
The ladies are very colourful and walk with sun umbrellas which we sorely needed. The sky is blue and it's hot. We wandered further to the fishing boats but eventually had to turn around as we were both ready to melt. Talk about lobster red faces. Back at the hotel, a cold beer whilst sitting on the cool veranda went down a treat. Even just watching the passing traffic is interesting.
The pool is sort of 3/4 full - don't ask me why and it's as warm as a bath. Anyway, we enjoyed a swim and then time for a nap in the heat of the day.
Supper time loomed so we went down the road to Dreamers Restaurant. Up very narrow stairs to the top floor with a view of the beach.

Lovely cool breeze and mosquito bites! The waiter brought us some spray - how is that for service? The food - simply delicious. I enjoyed a vegetarian dish with amazing sauce and James raved about his Chicken Masala. Some "Special Tea" to compliment the food, is served in a large mug!!! Hope to get down the stairs in one piece again. There were 2 Australian ladies and an Indian couple with a small child. Otherwise the restaurant was quiet. Excellent service from a waiter who loves his soccer and was sporting a number 11 jersey.
© Judelle Drake

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