Wednesday 14 November 2018

Halloween, Goa , Mala is mad


Having lived in a small village, we have managed to miss Halloween every year. Here in Palm Meadows, there are a lot of Americans so Halloween is big. All the houses who wanted to give out sweets were decorated and they looked lovely. The children and adults all met up outside of the clubhouse at 5:15p.m. to admire all the costumes. Then at 5:30 p.m. we were off, wacky races- children style, knocking on doors and requesting sweets!
I was on my bike supervising 4 nine year old boys who literally ran round the estate for 2 and a half hours! It was manic ! They were running across the roads, shouting at the tops of their voices and scoffing as many sweets as they could. Their goody bags got so heavy that they took it in turns to rest their weary arms by sharing my bike basket. At one point, I had one bag in my basket and one in either hand with my hands on the handle bars but I wobbled with the weight and fell off my bike onto the grass verge. A very kind couple stopped their car to help me up and check on me, Milo was traumatised as he thought I was badly injured although one of his friends was more concerned about whether the sweets were safe!
Max went off with his friends on his own but we did see  him occasionally as we ran round the roads.
It was good fun and they were puffed out but luckily the next day was the start of the half term holiday so going to bed late didn't really matter.


We are not quite sure how we managed to book another holiday so close to the other one in Kerala ( obviously we only look at one page on the calendar at a time!) but we were off again to Goa. We went to the capital Panjim this time. We got up at 3:00 am and were in the car by 4, ready for the plane at 6.  When we got there after a 40 minute flight, there were no extra guards to meet us this time.
Front row seats.

 We were in the hotel by 10 am, our room looking onto the sea.
This was the Marriott hotel and it was big and busy and provided lots of entertainment, especially people and dolphin watching.
There was an infinity pool that overlooked the sea and we could see dolphins and fish jumping out of the water. It was fascinating.

The pool and sea beyond.

The beach area in front of our room.

Milo enjoyed the crafts in the kids club

The room attendants made different things with the towels each day.

The free- ish wine from 5-7 pm

The entrance of the hotel

Just in front of our room was where the boat trips set off. There were streams of Indian families piling onto the boats. As soon as everyone was on the boat, loud disco music would be played and the people on board would start dancing. Then, as they approached the area for the dolphins, the music would go off, they would watch the dolphins and then, as they set off again, the music would start and you could see everyone dancing as they came back. Andrew was giving the boats safety ratings as some did not look that sea worthy, but this activity kept us occupied for quite a while and it was very amusing. It was lovely to see how happy Indian people are when music is switched on.

It was very hot and humid (34 feels like 38 it said on the weather report) and, in fact, we had to retreat in doors in the afternoon to stop the 3 white boys from burning ( but we could watch the boats from our French doors)

We had a courtesy car from the hotel and visited Old Goa which had very ornate catholic churches. The Portuguese had a big influence in this area transporting spices all over the world from the 1600's and a lot of buildings remain in the Portuguese style in Panjim.

After walking round the churches ( it was so hot and humid!) we went on to a spice plantation. We were greeted with lemon grass and ginger tea ( the boys were horrified!) and then we walked around with our own guide who was very interesting. He picked leaves and spices for us to smell and touch and explained how each one grew. This may sound a little boring but it wasn't at all. We realised that we didn't know how most spices grew. We saw pepper, vanilla pods, lemon grass, cloves, coffee, cocoa , the list goes on for ever. At the end of the tour, to relax your muscles, they pour water
that has citronella and lavender oils added to it, down your spine. It was quite wet, as you can imagine, but nice at the same time. Local ladies danced and sang songs as we entered a covered food area where there was lunch. We all tried the curries which weren't too spicy. We also bought quite a few packets of spices and essential oils.

Then it was back to the hotel to cool off in the pool and wait for the Diwali celebrations.

Which were rubbish!

Diwali is celebrated in Goa but not as much as Bangalore . There were a few fireworks in the distance and that was it. In Bangalore apparently it was like WW3 with firecrackers and fireworks going none stop! Well you can't have everything!

After our 4 nights and 5 day trip we returned to Bangalore.

Mala is mad.

As it was Diwali and as we were away, Arjun and Mala had the week off. Before we went, Mala had said to me that she could come in to clean. As it was the first real block of time off since she had started in January, I said it was fine for her to have the week off. She's only had a few days off here and there.
 She turned up Monday morning refreshed and ready to go. After a tour of the house, she declared she was not having another holiday as the house was dirty. She then set about cleaning like a woman possessed. All the rugs, chairs and anything that could be moved, were put outside. She then dusted and swept ( she still won't use the Dyson - I've given up !) and mopped and scrubbed.
Now to me, the house looked fine but to Mala it was a stain on her standards and she repeated several times about how she had said that she would come in and I had said no. Mala no more holidays, she kept saying.
I decided that maybe leaving her to the cleaning on her own would be better so Arjun and I went shopping. Mala gave us extra things to add to the list. So off we went to get out of her way.

An hour or so later the shopping was done, I helped with the unpacking. She had now lost the plot in her cleaning frenzy. She glared at the coconut powder said we had we had bought the wrong one. I immediately pointed my finger at Arjun to blame him! After a flurry of Tamil and lots of arm waving, Arjun was sent out again to buy the correct coconut product. I think he was pleased to get out of the way again!
Mala worked for longer than she's supposed to on Monday but she wouldn't go home until the house was up to her standards. She was beside herself that she hadn't had time to cook anything for us but I reassured her that I am able to cook meals and that we would all be fed and survive until she could make something the next day.
By Tuesday she had calmed down and was more settled as the house was now clean and she was back in her routine although the next time we go away I'll leave her to decide when she comes in!

Update ! April 2024

  20 people sharing 2 menus! When we go to a restaurant, we seem to spend a lot of time trying to keep a straight face so that we do not ups...