Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together – Vincent Van Gogh

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#1 Thing to do in Goa – Check out Every Beach You Can!

Goa Beaches

Goa Beaches

Goa is a tiny sliver of land on the west of India and is rather famed for its beaches. So when you visit the state, what else would you rather do than hit the beach, frolic in the Arabian sea and lounge on the soft sand. When you’ve done dozing in the shade of a palm tree, grab a beer, tuck into some Goan food at the quaint palm thatched shacks or just go for long strolls to vibe with the sultry sea breeze.

Goa is administratively divided into North and South and the 101 kilometers of coast line is dotted with a number of lovely beaches.

Beaches in North Goa

Goa Beach_2From way up North, you start with the fairly isolated Arambol, Mandrem, the Olive Ridley turtle nesting site of Morjim, Vagator and then on to Anjuna famed for its flea market. The fort of Chapora turns into a rocky outcrop that reaches out to Baga, Calangute draws the marauding throngs, Candolim and Sinquerim where you bump into Fort Aguada, which is a rather pretty place. Round a little bend, Coco beach at Nerul and then you jump over the river Mandovi and its Miramar on the suburbs of the capital city – Panjim. Dona Paula is not much of a beach really, further down is Bambolim and Sridao, which are  wonderfully private little beaches and then you plunge into the river Zuari that actually divides the North of the State from the South.

Beaches in South Goa

Goa_Beach_3In the South you begin with the lovely and quiet Bogmalo, Velsao, the infamous Vasco, Majorda, Betalbatim, crowded Colva where all the hordes descend for a flavor of the south of Goa. Then on to the five star locales of the South, Benaulim, Varca, Cavelossim and Mobor, the picturesque Betul and Canaguinim. At the extreme south of the state, you encounter the secluded yet gorgeous beaches of Agonda, the coco huts of Palolem and then Talpona.

This is indeed a tall list of beaches to visit in a single trip and a great reason for you to visit Goa again.

To move around, hire a bike, they are rather inexpensive or if you’ll a larger group a self-driven car would be great. This should help you travel cost-effectively. Hiring a car with a driver is exorbitant in Goa, and public transport is pathetic.

Goa_Beach_5

Things to do on the beaches of Goa

  • Wear light, loose casual clothes that dry quickly. Avoid expensive clothes as the sea water would seriously damage them
  • For footwear, a pair of rubber or plastic slippers or thin sandals would ensure they are not ruined even if they get wet
  • When you’ve on the beach take time to relax, it’s an extremely beautiful place to be at, especially during sunrise and sunset
  • Keep your camera at the ready and take lots of memorable pictures
  • The sea is relatively calm in Goa, except during the monsoons, so you could have a great time and venture in a bit if you are a good swimmer
  • The shacks are lovely places to hang out at, most offer good music, but they can be expensive and the food is not always the best
  • The lady hawkers trawling the beach sell lovely accessories at really low rates. Just the place if you are looking for a bargain
  • Carry lots of suntan lotion to ensure you don’t get sunburnt, a wide brimmed hat will be most useful too
  • Don’t just abandon your belonging and get into the water, your stuff could get stolen

Goa_Beach_6

Things not to do on the beaches of Goa

  • Don’t litter the beach with beer cans, glass bottles and plastic. If you don’t find a bin, you will have to wait and dispose of the waste at your hotel
  • Do not stare at people, irrespective of how they are dressed or their skin colour. It’s just not cultured or polite – most of us Indians just don’t get this, do we?
  • Avoid getting drunk and getting into the sea. Just stay hydrated, that’s going to be difficult enough in hot, humid Goa
  • If the lifeguard waves you away from the water, take the advice. They are unlikely to be able to save you in case you find yourself drowning
  • Avoid getting into the sea after dark, it’s just not safe

If you are looking for a unique stay in Goa, that is homely, cost- effective and safe, book into a homestay. Like our Facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/goaallyear and contact us at lilliandcosta@gmail.com

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2014 in Review!!!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Aam Aadmi Party’s Questions to the BJP in Goa

This statement was released by the Aam Aadmi Party Goa <aapgoa@gmail.com> just prior to Sunday’s BJP meeting. addressed by its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, in Goa:

Press Release
Margao Goa

In view of the upcoming “Vijay Sankalp” rally to be held in Goa by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Shri Narendra-ji Modi, the Aam Aadmi Party would like to pose the following questions for the BJP and its Government in Goa.

1) Why has the BJP Govt. delayed in finalizing the Regional Plan for Goa?

2) When the Goa Govt proposes to prohibit entry for Goans into casinos on the grounds that gambling is a vice, is it not anti-national for the BJP to encourage the rest of Indians to be addicted to casinos? The BJP should clarify whether they consider casinos to be “bharatiya sanskriti” or drop the word “bharatiya” from its name.

3) Why does the BJP as a political party oppose the CIC order to bring it under the purview of RTI? What does it have to hide?

4) Why was not a single case filed with the Lokayukta against illegal miners identified in the Shah Commission Report and the PAC report?

5) Why haven’t any proceedings been started to recover the Rs. 35,000 crores looted from Goa as per the Shah Commission Report?

6) Why did the Goa Govt betray the BJP’s written promise to amend the Goa Lokayukta Act on the lines of the Uttarakhand Act, even after an AAP delegation handed over a ready draft of the amendments to the Hon. Chief Minister as requested by him. Are the promises of the BJP not even worth the paper they are printed on? (see attachment)

7) Why has the implementation of the Right to Services Act been postponed numerous times?

8) Despite expensive foreign “study tours” and numerous assurances on the issue, why does piled up garbage continue to be the biggest tourist attraction of Goa?

9) Why has the written promise by the BJP to strengthen the Gram Sabhas and enact appropriate amendments in tune with the 73rd amendment not even taken up by the Goa Govt so far? (see attachment)

10) Why is the Goa Govt still dilly-dallying on settling the Mayem Evacuee Property issue?

Breaking a Leg in 2011

Mom, myself & Nagaraj with our Christmas tree

End of year are exciting times. I was to be heading home after a strenuous eight months in Bangalore. Having changed my job but a few months earlier, adjusting to my new job and workplace had been hectic. Nothing like an holiday in home sweet home Goa, take in all the awesome food and attention before heading back to work for another round on the grind.

Goa has a lot of hoopla and hype around it, especially during Christmas and New Year, especially for all its beaches, drugs, alcohol, nightlife and women. To us Goans, Goa is just home. It’s the cool breeze one can enjoy sitting on ones veranda, greeting familiar faces as they pass by, eating loads of fresh fish, sharing meals with family, catching up with friends, all in a very relaxed and congenial environment.

The excitement of heading home had led me to shop extensively and I could not wait to pack my bags, until a week before I missed a step and what I fervently prayed was a sprain turned out to be a fracture. A Jones fracture to be precise.

A cast, and five weeks of rest is what the orthopedic doled out nonchalantly. “W-H-A-T”, I shouted, “five weeks, you must be joking”. I live a rather hectic life, waking up at 6.00 a.m. cooking my meals, travelling to office, beginning work ahead of time,  travelling back, cleaning, washing… I hate sitting around in one place unless I’m working on my computer. My mind is always abuzz and I’m doing stuff, now I have to sit in one place with my right leg alleviated, oh man that is simply going to kill me, I thought. The first week I went about like a wounded animal. Frustrated, aggressive, irritable, snapping at those around when I wasn’t engaging in self pity…. It was terrible.

Finally, I decided I needed a perspective change and convinced myself to look at the brighter side of things. This was an opportunity to slow down, sit and smell the coffee. I could now jam on the brakes and experience what it means to be dependent on others, how to seek assistance, how to appreciate assistance, relearn the importance of interdependence. I re-acknowledged the tons of love, concern and caring that makes the world go round, from my dear neighbor who brought over steaming bowls of sumptuous food, to another neighbor who accompanied me to the hospital, the auto and cab drivers, my concerned colleagues who kept calling and messaging to ensure I was comfortable, my family who kept my spirits up and positive and then catering to my every request when I reached Goa. Lowering myself a few notches, life came back from fast-forward to its normal pace, a bit leisurely … on the whole, it was nice.

For five weeks I could not travel and thus needed to work from home. For the last six years I had not spent more than a week at a time in Goa, the slow pace of life bored me. Now I spent a month there, and it seems like fun, work from a comfortable, caring home, enviable isn’t it. I had to thank my luck I had the most cooperative office and a family that felt it could be with me every step of my temporary disability.

My restricted movement actually came as a blessing in disguise, I was back to reading, something I love to do, write for my blog, something I had not done in a while. I got to spend loads of time with my nephew and nieces who were springing up but I didn’t have the time to watch them grow. I got time with my mom and sister; my friends and relatives who visited me. I got loads of time by the window, take in sights and sounds I previously had no time for.

My mom Virginia with her grand kids
My nephew David and niece Jamima at the BBQ

For a while now, I have been associated with the disability movement, now I know just a little bit, what it means to have a disability. The hardships that are bestowed upon the person without their asking.  The limitations a person with a disability experiences because their surroundings have been insensitively designed for able bodied people.

I nearly through my five weeks of hindered movement, wont kid you that I can’t wait to get my cast of, but the learning’s have been tremendous, almost worth the initial suffering that has since evaporated into lessons I could not have paid for even if I tried.

Chikungunya, the ignored pandemic in Bangalore

chikungunyaWhile the rest of the world is focused on Swine flu and India is just recording the first of its confirmed cases, places like Bangalore have another virus that is doing the rounds. Like in pervious years this virus too has the potential to reach pandemic proportions and yet, few, least of all the government are talking about it. Chikungunya is spread through mosquitoes, results in high fever and severe joint pain.

While I hear of more and more cases occurring in my neighborhood, the word is out that the entire locality, which comprises of about 10,000 people, is affected. Yet, I see no spraying, no awareness leaflets, no awareness campaign in the newspapers and the monsoon season in Bangalore has only just begun. Some articles in the media report some 4000 cases but that would be a gross underestimation and statistics of those who report to the local health centre only. But loads of people I know don’t even go to the health centre, many of them take Ayurvedic medicine that can be self prescribed and so an allopathic doctor would not even know of these cases.

the Chikungunya virusSad scenario I should say. Bangalore keeps getting projected as the IT capital of the country, home to all the major IT MNCs in the country and yet the facilities and services are archaic. If the Government cannot guarantee a descent standard of living in its capital city how does it hope to do so for the rest of the State?

Chikungunya is not new, each monsoon season there is an outbreak, should the Government then not have had a well oiled protocol in place, and yet there is no sign of it.

Madness on wheels


Aauto-rickshaw

In a hurry to get some place, who hasn’t stepped out looking to hail an auto rickshaw or an auto as it is more commonly called. These three wheel vehicles are characteristic of East and South East Asia. They are a vital means of inter city connectivity all over India and are a reliable source of transport in rural areas as well. But for all their convenience, these little black and yellow vehicles that so mob any city in the country are also a source of major irritation. Now I can virtually see you nodding your head in agreement!. While autos are an excellent method of getting you to your meeting, office, home, mall, market or pub, in no time at all, the entire system could well do with a major overhaul.

People from every city will have their own tales to narrate about the autos in their respective place, but I will be cribbing about the autos in Bangalore. So let me warn you right here and now that if you’ve not quite ready to read yet another cribbing post, take off to another blog! 🙂

While an auto may be available all at times of the day and most times of the night, sunshine, hail or storm, they function on their own whims and fancies. Now this is a particularly bad thing for Bangalore, the IT capital of the country. People, be it Indian or foreigners have much higher expectations from Bangalore, and why not, when the only image projected of the city is huge glass encased IT buildings, fabulous malls, restaurants, pubs etc and god help if you should have to step out of one of these glitzy places and don’t have your own car waiting for you. The next best option is to hail an auto. And what stops before you?, well well, an ill maintained 3 wheeler, the driver scruffy, quoting a (much much higher) fare, when in effect he should be turning on the meter, and what adds insult to injury is when the auto guys tongue swishes side to side like a cows tail!.

Over crowded auto

This situation is pathetic when you realize that these auto drivers are the public face of the city, so when you have an ill mannered, ill tempered, foul mouthed driver, its bound to shock the socks off any visitor to the city and paint a sorry picture of Grand Bangalore.

All autos are registered with the Department of Transport and so have a certificate which is pasted in the auto. The certificate should have the driver’s mug shot, his name and address, the vehicle number for which the certificate is given. The driver’s blood group- which is never filled in- and the date of issue. If you find that an auto does not have this certificate it is best not to risk it and thus avoid the auto. But on numerous occasions, the details of the auto driver on the certificate do not match that of the current driver. Probably the certificate was given away or simply sold off to the new owner?

Auto traffic

Secondly, places like Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai have a huge density of autos on their streets and Delhi has done a wonderful thing by getting all the autos to switch over to LNG. This has drastically reduced carbon emissions and made the once highly polluted Delhi air much cleaner. Bangalore has a similar plan to get their autos to switch over to LPG but it has not been enforced, and I don’t think city planners should wait for the white haze to hang over the city and asthma cases to rise, before they take action. Bangalore would be a better place if their autos ran on LNG.

Another issue that I simply hate is when auto drivers hike the fare, for stupid reasons like that its raining!. If you live in a largely residential areas and they’ve not likely to get passengers for on their return trip, in all likelihood they will refuse to drop you to your destination. On numerous occasions the driver was unkempt and foul mouthed, making me and I’m sure all other women, feel very unsafe. Infact most people in Bangalore would advise you against an auto after 9.00 p.m, simply because the guy could be drunk!.

Ask two wheeler drivers and they’ll recount more horror stories about autos. For one, autos don’t have and so dont use indicate lights!. They rarely signal and could simply zip on to the wrong side of the road to pick up a passenger who has flagged them, or simply stop bang in the middle of the road, causing the vehicles behind to brake sharply, if not bump into the auto. Once, a friend of mine nearly crashed into an auto as he stopped suddenly with no indication. She went alongside the driver and asked him why he hadn’t signaled, and without batting an eyelid he replied, that of course he had signal, hadn’t she seen his foot!!!!!!, we laughed for days, but my friend could have been injured had she rammed the auto.

Introducing some positive change

  1. The auto guys must have at least a 3 day training on how to deal with customers. How to dress, look clean and bathed. How to speak, especially to women passengers, they need to be taught a little sensitivity, especially to be shown towards children, senior citizens and people with disabilities.
  2. The Department of Transport must check the auto certificates to ensure they are being driven by the same person who has been issued the certificate. So there must be a flying squad checking on this.
  3. The certificate given to the auto driver must have information on whom to complain to and get the auto drivers license revoked should he talk rudely, over charge, or drive rashly.
  4. This complaint form should also be online, so filing a complaint is made easy.
  5. Autos must switch over to LNG and the Govt. could subsidize the kits to reduce the financial burden on the drivers.

If autos are brought under the sharp vigil of the Government, people will have a safe and pleasant journey, the auto guys will make more money and people will not rush to take their cars out every time they want to travel, this reduce the congestion.

But wait! If after reading this piece you have somehow got this idea that all auto drivers are jerks or that’s what you think I’m imply, sorry, not at all. I’ve met some extremely nice guys, polite and helpful and these are the guys that need to be recognized, so if I had a contact to the Department of Transport, I’d send them a positive feedback too 🙂

MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL, WHO IS THE BEST AMONG US ALL

Mirror Mirror On The Wall,

Who Is The Best Among Us All

I do not know what the majority population of this country has to fear. But fear they do.

Like a crying baby they have bred it, Today it’s a demon looming over their heads.

Until people from the majority community, shake themselves out of their fear psychosis the remaining 20% of this country will continue to be tormented and harassed.

And yet the answers are not so simplistic, and are deeply rooted in caste, hegemony and patriarchal bias, that so symbolize the communal mindset.

One of brutality and so to brutalize.

The fear psychosis is only a symptom. If only it could be treated.

The toll since the anti Christian Violence began, from 24 August to ­ 29 September, 2008

ORISSA
14 Districts hit

300 Villages destroyed

4,300 Houses burnt

50,000 Homeless

57 People murdered

10 Fathers/Pastors/Nuns injured

2 Women gang-raped

18,000 Men, women, children injured

149  Churches destroyed

13  Schools, colleges destroyed

KARNATAKA
4  Districts affected

19  Churches attacked

20  Nuns, women injured

KERALA
3 Churches damaged

MADHYA PRADESH
4  Churches damaged

DELHI
1 Church destroyed

4 Attempts made

TAMAIL NADU
1 Church attacked

UTTAR PRADESH
2 murdered ­ aged priest and employee

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