Candolim; We’re Taught A Lesson in Carrying Outdated Equipment…
Candolim; full of Brits!
Candolim was the nearest beach to head to which did not have the reputation for being absolutely rammed with rowdy package tourists and Indian bachelor groups. Instead, we found a mini England. Nearly all the voices we overheard were British, some of the tailors had boards displaying their prices in sterling and restaurants were serving pie and mash, hot pots, Sunday roasts and fish ‘n’ chips.
We only stayed a few days even though we had a lovely guest house. It was great value and we settled in, feeling that perhaps it was time to go back to air conditioning as there was a mini heat wave going on (up to about 36 – 37 degrees when it has been steady about 31 – 32 for the last few weeks.) The guesthouse was run by Joseph and his wife Lucia and they provided us breakfast on our balcony every morning for an extra R100 on the room price. So, fruit salad, coffee and an egg roll or French toast was a welcome change (for a mere £1.20 for both of us) to going out to find something.
Joseph really enjoyed talking and I found out far too many interesting facts to mention here but a couple include that throwing oneself down the well in the garden was, and still is, a common way for Indian women to commit suicide; that Russian guests are loud, have poor English and break toilet seats and the house next door was being built by a minister who had made all his money through undocumented exports to China and the backhanders accompanying that. He was very proud that nearly all his clientele were British (therefore behaved themselves) and booked to come back year after year.
Best Not To Bet a Taxi Driver
Although Henry had started to feel poorly we spent the first morning in Candolim on a mission to see the famous old fort that, according to Joseph, was a ‘few minutes’ walk away. Well, we set out with all intentions of walking and had covered nearly a kilometre when we were getting very hot and worn out. The route was uphill and without shade, so out came Google maps and it was a further 2.5km. We headed back to the taxi stand to negotiate. The initial price was quite high and although I got it down a little it was when the driver uttered the words “if it is 2.5km, I’ll take you for free”! that our fun started. Well, that was it. Henry whipped out his phone and showed him and the bet was on. We got in, reset the clock and drove right into quite an argument. To the gate it was 2.5km, to where he actually dropped us it was 2.7. We ended up paying and the moral of the story is: always agree the exact terms of any bet with a taxi driver before the journey starts in order to actually be able to win.
The fort was an old building besieged by several coach loads of Indian tour groups, many of them wearing matching hats. It was not as impressive as the fort we saw at Kannur and we did not stay too long. We were stars again though as a few Indians were very keen to have pictures with us.
Later that afternoon Henry was feeling quite unwell so out came the thermometer and, although it did not show an alarmingly high temperature, we soon had something else to worry about. The thermometer crashed onto the tiled floor and tiny balls of mercury went flying over the polished surface. Firstly, we evacuated the room and started to research what we had to do. We had no idea about how to clean it up but the Internet knows most things and was able to guide us towards having a sealed bag, full of about 5 other bags ready for proper disposal.
Henry went downstairs to tell Joseph, who did not seem too worried about it at all, and to ask for another room. Another guest, a German doctor, said we had done all the right things, that the amount in a thermometer was not too serious and that we should get an electronic thermometer. She was able to put our minds at rest as the internet had got us quite worried. Henry then went on the bus with Lucia to the health centre and walked in with this bag at arms length, he said it was like he was carrying a bomb the way the staff and patients there looked at him. When he managed to explain what it was he was taken to a pipe out the back which went into the ground and argued with the security guard as to who was going to push it down the pipe. The guard eventually had to do the honours.
Sickness Strikes Henry and Leaves Me Well!
Henry was not well for the remainder of our stay in Candolim. He had what I’ve had so many times with the accompanying complete lack of energy. So, in our new room Henry recovered slowly and I caught up with the blog only to lose several hours worth (so frustrating!!) and nothing else remarkable happened except this little visitor in the bathroom on our last night…