Spicy Flights and Delhi Bellies

It’s an early start, we pay our room bill and meet our taxi driver whom we met and pre-booked for 8AM last night, on the main bazaar. We manage to beat most of the rush hour and get to the airport well ahead of our flight. Something is different today.. and it would have been too much to expect of India to spare us this experience… we have the Delhi Belly.

Following check-in we make our way immediately to the COSTA coffee stand which we spotted on entry and have our first cup of good coffe in India. I’ve decided to dub the stuff “Black Gold” because it seems to be so rare around here. We relish the experience and feel energized. Then we get up and scuttle swiftly off to the toilets to quiesce the rumbles in our stomach.

A small Pizza Hut Marsala Pizza and KFC Paneer Zinger burger later, we’re off to our gate and boarding our plane. SpiceJet seems to be the domestic RyanAir/EasyJet equivalent, however in terms of passenger comfort they seem to be a few steps ahead.

On alighting the plane in Goa I pull Ebru close and try to take a snap of us with the plane behind us on the compact cam, but immediately an official shouts to put it away – how disappointing. Later I check and find that the shot was actually captured – RESULT!

Ebru has become intimately attached to our RoughGuide and upon her advice we take a passenger bus from the main road-side to Benaulim, 7km away. The journey takes us through a lush green landscape with coconut palms and banyan trees and colourful houses dotted between them. Cows, dogs and buffalo walk the streets and fields. Of course there is still litter everywhere but this is definitely easier going the Delhi.

We arrive there after about 40 minutes journey and take a long walk up and down the few roads in the village to find accommodation. It’s the first opportunity Ebru’s had to walk with her baggage strapped on and I don’t think she was expecting it to be so heavy. It’s a good initiation anyway and she grits her teeth and pulls through it.

We end up at Antonette’s Guest House, about 15 minutes walk south from the main road, as we were unimpressed by other options and a German couple I asked on the way has said they’re quite happy there. Antonette’s is a quaint purple double story building in deep purple just past the fishermens’ bar at Jack’s Corner. The owner Gerard is probably in his fifties and has worked as a chef in the Gulf and saved enough cash to build this place. He knows how to run a guest house: he’s friendly and helpful, the place is clean, his rates are reasonable and he even has a fridge in the corridoor which he stocks with water and beer and a small log book where guests can note what they use and pay when they leave.

Ebru’s happy here but she hasn’t mustered the courage to try any food anywhere, so we get some cream cheese, bread and marmite from the local store (yes, marmite) and have a romantic dinner with a quart of beer on the balcony of our room, listening to my world receiver.