Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A birthday in Goa

A couple of weeks ago, the Hubby decided to take us all to Goa during the Diwali holidays. His reasoning was that we needed to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city ( don't even mention the noise of the firecrackers and fireworks) and go relax. The fact that it would also be during my birthday just was an extra incentive to go.

So we went, driving around 9 hours to enjoy Goa for three days. The drive was uneventful and very soothing. I was once again realizing how much I do love India and its landscape: the arid lands outside of Pune in contrast with the lush greens of the Ghatts.




Our lunch at Nishighand, the restaurant we always stop for bathroom break and food on our way. It has changed a bit ( under new management) but the food was still quite good 


Just after passing the Ghatts 

We arrived early afternoon in Goa, at the same hotel we booked the first time we went. It has not changed much in its simplicity but it was perfect for a few days. We just went to dine in a fast food joint that served one of the best Shawarma I had in India, the Rooster. Then off the bed we went.

The following day was my birthday that we spent super relax. We let the kids enjoy the hotel pool while we discussed grown ups plans. Then we headed to our favorite restaurant in Goa: Thalassa in Vagator beach. The place also has not changed much and the atmosphere was hip. We ordered pasta bolognese for the kids, beef kebab for the Hubby and mashed potatoes and beef stew for me along with a feta Salad. The food was delicious. The beef was tender but I regretted taking the stew when I saw my hubby's plate. I am more of a kebab and fries type of girl. Nevertheless it was a magical moment. My sons kept wishing me "happy birthday" every five minutes and telling it was my day to everybody they met. It was a bit embarrassing. After the heavy meal, we went to check the beach which was below the restaurant. It was barely packed with foreign tourists and locals sunbathing here and there. There were a few cows which were reaping havoc around fighting, stealing foods and such. It was hilarious.


Serene at 35?


View from Thalassa restaurant


The restaurant would be great for blogger pictures 


Feta salad!


My hubby's kebab platter


My beef stew! 


Vagator beach


Going on a little adventure as the kids say! 

Since if could not be a birthday without a cake, we drove all the way to the city Panajim to check our favorite Cafe Delicieux. Unfortunately the cafe had moved to another location. We headed home since we were all exhausted. As soon as we arrived in the hotel, the Hubby took a nap while the kids watched some TV. No one wanted to go out again so I went to buy shawarma at another place down the streets. That was a bit of a mistake because unlike the Rooster the people there were unprofessional and slow. I was this close to loose my temper but I reminded myself that it was my birthday and that I would not let total strangers ruin it. At the end of the day, I was so happy and grateful for such a magical day spent with family. I also checked my social media and received many messages from friends from all over the world. I felt really special indeed.

The following day, we decided to check Fontainhas which is an area with old Goan style homes. I am not sure we found the right place but we went strolling around taking pictures of churches and beautiful houses. I think :"owning a colorful house in Goa" is now on my bucket list. It was a very hot day so we did not linger.



A church and a mosque in the same vicinity ( a Buddhist temple was also located a few steps ahead)


I really love the colors of houses in Goa 



I think I want this house



Or this one.

We went back to rest in the air conditioning of the hotel. For lunch we wanted to go back to an old favorite Alua Restaurant for Goan food. But upon arriving at the restaurant we realized that the place had a makeover and did not stand for what we like: which is simple affordable Goan food.  So we went looking for another place which was not an easy task. We drove around for hours and finally settled on a place we never tried before called Starlight. We ordered fish Thali and the kids had Hakka noodles. The thali was yummy. Either that or I was too hungry to care. But seriously, it was good and at half the price of the one we considered eating at Fat fish (which was sold out). It was also very spicy. It has different curries with crabs, mussels, squids, a fried fish, a vegetable curry that was my favorite, a soup, salad, rice, roti and papad. The only thing that was lacking was sweets. And to remedy to that we went to the other location of Cafe Delicieux to have some cakes. We were so full so we had the cakes for diner. Mine which was an oreo cheese cake was a bit of a letdown but my kids and Hubby enjoyed theirs. It was our last day in Goa.


Late late Thali lunch at Starlight restaurant in Baga. 


Last Sunset in Goa 


As we were leaving Goa, I said a silent prayer asking God to make me come back to such a magical place. Everything there is amazing, starting from the colorful houses, the beaches, to the food. It is hands down my favorite place in India. But my heart was also heavy because that morning my husband told me that there were terrorists attacks in Paris. I look for more information on my phone along with checking for the safety of loved ones who live in the city while having breakfast. But the more I read, the more I felt anxious and angry. My heart was crying and the first part of the drive back home, I kept on searching for something to distract me, to make me forget. But this is the world we are living in now: a world full of hate, where even going to a concert can turn fatal, a world where even in social media people are fighting in the wake of such attacks. I did not want to have anything to do with that world.

Yet I am grateful. I am a year older. The world is bleak, the future is uncertain but as long as I have people to lean on, and people leaning on me, I have to keep on fighting. I have to keep on loving...

PS: my outfits during the stay:

Three days ( well technically four), four outfits 
( red scarf, denim jacket, floral top, red pants, tennis shoes, studded bag, pink scarf, maxi dress, metallic sandals, sunnies, white Kurta, printed palazzo pants. Is it too much?)


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