Thursday, December 31, 2015

Lots of food and a little rest

If anyone tells you that a holiday in Goa is easy, try not to believe them. There's just too much to be done. Hours of gazing at the sea. Kilometres to walk. Hundreds of menus to research. Tons to eat. Gallons to drink. Old friends to meet up with. And an occasional restful period to recharge the batteries. The cycle repeats. 

Magzika Beach Shack, Betalbatim (near Nanu's Resort) is one of our favourites. Prajoy, the young owner has also set up a Health Club in the vicinity. Those fond of Vegetarian food would be happy to know that the kitchen at Magzika has two separate sections,one for veg food and the other for meat. 

An easy 5 km stroll takes us from Pristine resort to Magzika just shy of the busy Colva area. 

We know the owner, staff and the menu quite well, so orders are swiftly placed.

Tuna Salad and Mixed Salad. 

Paneer Tikka cooked the colour of sunset in the tandoor.

There's usually a large variety of fish to choose from.

A Red Snapper for two, grilled with red Goan Racheido masala, accompanied with potato, rice, salads and fruit.

More eating and reading, perhaps?

Jungle Picture by Norah Burke was one of my English text books for the ICSE Exam many decades ago. I had bought the book online and read a few of the short stories while in Goa. Highly recommended for a glimpse of rural India and wildlife set in the early part of the last century, maybe.

The beach dogs have had a rough day, running around, playing and occasionally guarding their turf against a dog from the neighborhood that might accidentally wander in. Afternoon is a good time to catch a few winks. 

Both the shack dogs typically make themselves comfortable by our feet, their coats glistening in the afternoon sun.

The sea appears calm, while some folks laze in the shade of the large umbrellas. 

Long lunch done, it's time to head back.

Our first stop is a casual 3 km stroll away in Utorda, as we pass deserted stretches as well as a few somewhat crowded spots in Majorda.

We find a table by the water and settle down for the evening at Balton's Beach Shack. 

Balton's is a short walk from Pristine Resort, a little less than 2 km away, very easy to reach. Also accessible by the road used to reach Kenilworth and Royal Orchid. 

Candles appear on the tables as the sun sets.

Nothing to beat dinner with the sound of the waves in the background.  The music in South Goa is just about audible, mostly Western rock and soft rock from the '60s to the '90s, a refreshing change from Baga and Calangute in North Goa where loud Bollywood music rules the evenings and hurts the ear. 

Dinner is often at Balton's Beach Shack in Utorda, near Kenilworth and Royal Orchid. Balthazar runs the Beach Shack, with a little help from his better half. 

The Beach Shack is clean, decorated very well, and stays open till well past midnight. 

It's a good opportunity to say Hi to Tony and his better half who run the restaurant on the street located just outside the entrance of the Park Hyatt. Balthazar and Tony are brothers with vast, overseas hospitality industry and catering experience between them. The restaurant is exceptionally well maintained. The high standard has been constant since I first visited over six years ago.  

Another family favourite is Fishka, located just outside the Aliwa Diwa Resort a few km away in the Majorda-Betalbatim area.

Maybe we need to try the lunch thali some day. 

Excellent decor, food, service and ambiance. Always crowded, there is usually a waiting time after 8PM, unless you reserve a table in advance. 

After all this walking, eating and drinking it's time to rest up a bit and slip in a little more food and drink while we do so. Pristine Resort has been our favourite for several years. Tony and staff always welcome us back with a smile.

Sunrise views from Room 306 overlook fields, trees and grazing cattle. 

Breakfast in the shade by the poolside is a relaxing experience.

Bread, butter (for some!), jam, marmalade, a choice of omlettes, a potato dish, tea and coffee are adequate to keep us going until the next walk and meal. As a special gesture, Tony often serves us the local dishes that are cooked for the staff, like Poha and Pav with a local Curry. That's the yummy, non-tourist food! 

Pristine Resort is always quiet and relaxing, less than a km from Arossim beach. 

X'mas decorations add to the ambiance. 

The restaurant is a cool place for drink and food. The menu has quite a broad selection of drinks including local brews, Racheido grills and curries like Ambotik, Caldin and Vindaloo.   

Apartment 306 is well appointed - a large living room (with an extra bed) overlooking the pool, fridge, TV, and a bedroom overlooking the fields. 

All perfectly set up to help us along our 'lots of food and a little rest' journey over the 2015-16 New Year.

All the posts in this series:

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

South Goa Sunsets

Having negotiated a prolonged lunch at the Beach Shack in Betalbatim, it's time for the stroll back to Arossim. Looking around, I realize it's about supply and demand. While we demandsea food, the fisher folks are busy fulfilling our demand. Some boats head to sea early morning, while some head out at sunset. Some return at sunset, extricate the catch from the nets and lay the nets out to dry. 

Most of the catch consists of Mackerel. 

Parking the super heavy fishing boats on the sand calls for super human strength, a result of teamwork, greased supports and coordinated pull and push efforts. 

Further down in the Arossim area, groups of visitors are busy playing a game of Cricket, as the shadows lengthen. 

The para sailing crew prepare to wind up for the day as the sun lights up the parachute. Maybe they are checking for wear and tear? Do they ever do that?

For others, it's time to sit in the shallow water so that the Life Guards don't get an opportunity to blow their whistles. A quiet moment, gazing at the sinking sun. 

Sunset is as good a time as any for a picture, eh? Say cheese!

For the fishermen, getting back in one piece is not the goal. They need to prepare for the day ahead, for yet another trip into the sea.  

The sun continues to sink down, a red ball of fire that's visible for quite a while during the summer and winter. 

Some folks refuse to give up!

The sun appears to inch its way closer to the horizon. The last few moments are surprisingly quick. 

Suddenly the sun is almost gone, and in a few short moments, nowhere to be seen.  

The rays of the setting sun light up the fields behind Pristine Resort, a grand view from Room 306. 

Time for a family selfie during sunset!

The Life Guards have gone away, but the last of the water sports continues. No opportunity to lose, the season will not last for ever. 

All the posts in this series: