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Ruffs’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 11 Mar 2010

Location: Saligao, Calagute, Goa, India

MapSo, here it is, the thing you've all been waiting for ... my first entry!
I've been here in Goa since the early hours of Sunday morning & things are getting off to a slow start in true Goan style - these guys are so laid back & lazy, they're almost like the Spanish, which would figure with the Portugese influence down here in South west India. I had the volunteer orientation, followed by a saunter along Calangute beach with the others on Monday & project began on Tuesday.

Where I'm staying is neither exciting, nor sophisticated, in fact far from it. I'm on the site of my project, where I'll be for another 10 days, at a Christian home for elderly ladies, called Mae de Deus. I have a relaly nice roommate, Puja who's working at the school down the road with an Icelandic guy & girl who live in the room next to us. I'm changing to looking after migrant workers' children in the afternoons next week with the others as all I'm doing at the moment is chatting to the ladies, playing cards with them & listening to them pray until lunch time, then doing my own thing while they rest in the afternoon until more prayers at 4 & then dinner at 6.30... dullsville!

I have however taken some long (&very hot!) walks & booked some more trains for the next leg of my trips in the afternoons this week. I had a pretty interesting experience yesterday as I took a bus for the first time, it's 5 rupees a ride, which is about 3.5p(!!!) & it was crammed full of people, I had loud Indian music blaring in my ears & there were pictures of Jesus & Ganesha side by side at the front of an elaborately decorated bus ... kinda looked like something out of Austin Powers. I did get to roughly where I wanted to be though so I got off & after a long walk, realised I'd gone in the wrong direction down the beach! So I walked along the way I knew & found a random place to come off to get back to the main road. As I put my flip-flops back on after walking on the sand, I noticed they were on their last legs, so I shuffled slowly back to the main road, (declining ice cream & clothes & fruit salad from random boys on bikes & stalls!) where I just about found my bearings! I then had to ask directions the the travel agent, which was almost back where I started! They were very helpful though so I now have my trains booked until I meet up with Rosie in Varanasi In Northern central India in mid-April. 4 hours later, a very hot, tired Alice, I got back to my homestay!

Last night we went for a drink with the other volunteers in the area, again in the main town of Calangute where all the awful British & Russian tourists hang out & give us a bad name. We tried the local speciality, 'Feni' which is made from either coconut or cashew, we had the coconut one with pineapple juice, which was supposed to be strong but obviously being the hardened drinker that I am, I could barely tell it was alcoholic! Maybe I'll go for the cashew one next time to blow my head off!

The food is ... well ... Indian! We ate out on our orientation just once where the food was delicious but otherwise it's just simple, mainly veg curries, way too much rice for my liking & fruit. BUT no, we don't get curry for breakfast, thank God!

Tomorrow afternoon I'm going to take a yoga class, which should be interesting/funny/exciting - I'll tell you in the next blog! Saturday we're going with the other volunteers to Dudhsagar waterfall & spice plantation in Eastern Goa, on the border of Karnataka, the next state, where we can swim & get a true Indian meal. I'm hoping to get to an all night rave & some beautiful beaches before I leave Goa, as I've heard some awesome stories & been recommended some great places to go!

Think that's all for now, I'll try not to be so long winded next time & I'll write when more interesting stuff happens! Next stop Thivim, Goa to Kochi in Kerala on an overnight train arriving on Monday 22nd.