There was this strange thing in the khazi
MY ROUGH GUIDE
Sunday 26 January 1997
You don't expect to find many deserted beaches in Goa, but I stumbled across one a few years ago cycling north up the coast to the village of Arambol. I found myself at the end of a vast sweep of white sand backed by coconut palms. The beach below the high-tide line was hard enough to support the bike, so I pressed on for half an hour as far as a shack cafe, run by Claude. In the couple of hours I spent lounging on his deckchair, watching dolphins arc in the surf, the only passers-by were two fishermen. Mandrem beach is still a relative backwater, although last time I was there I ran into a Dutch couple who'd found it in the Rough Guide, which left me with mixed feelings.
The Panjim Inn in Foutainhas is one of the few hotels to have preserved some old Portuguese charm. The rooms have shutters on the windows, carved wood furniture and tiled floors, and there's a relaxing veranda where you can gently sip Indian Scotch.
Hyped by the tourist office as one of south India's most colourful festivals, Goa's annual Carnival turned out to be a rather lame affair. The float procession was a lively enough spectacle, but the bus loads of drunk men hanging around in "I Love Goa" hats made it feel like a sad stag night.
The local tipple is feni, a rocket-fuel concotion distilled from coconut sap or cashew juice. Mixed with lemonade or soda, it can be delicious, although the cause of monstrous hangovers. A bar-owner I once met in the feni-mad south flavours his with cumin and ginger, and sold me two large bottles for about pounds 1. My other big bargain was acquired at a spice plantation state. For 50p, I returned with enough cardamom, cumin, mace, chilli, fenugreek, coriander, and tumeric for a couple of years' worth of curries.
MOST USEFUL PHRASE
Since the Rough Guide to Goa was published, I've received several suggestions for Konkani phrases to add to the glossary, the majority insults to hurl at beach hawkers. My most useful phrase, though, has to be the Hindi for ''slow down'' (dhiri, dhiri), which helps in traffic. Having said that, I came unstuck once after yelling it at a rickshaw-wallah. "Dhiri?'' he replied, confusedly and left me five minutes later at a dusty patch of wasteland. Unbeknown to me, dhiri in Konkani means bullfighting, and he'd thought I wanted to see the big match.
A cotton kurta (long Indian shirt) that I bought in Panjim's khadi shop. Khadi is the hand-spun cotton Ghandi encouraged Indians to wear during the independence struggle, and the government still runs shops to supply city dwellers. They're old-fashioned places, and the one in Panjim has dusty wooden shelves and a different assistant to fetch, carry, wrap and issue receipts for your goods.
Near the village of Parvath in central Goa lies a hilltop Hindu temple called Shri Chandeshwar. Having bought the requisite flower and incense offering I started to walk around the shrine, but was stopped by a dour- faced, saffron-clad priest waving an oil lamp. I should, he said, be walking in the other direction, "same way as sun and moon''.
Holed up 12 years ago in what was then a remote fishing settlement (and is now a holiday resort) I'd been struck by a dose of the local equivalent of Delhi Belly. After picking my way through the palm grove behind the house, I located the khazi - a hut with a hole opening on to the sand. Suddenly my motions were interrupted by a low grunt. I nearly leapt through the roof when a black hairy face appeared at the hole between my feet. I'd seen gangs of pigs rooting around the yard, but no one had thought to tell me that they doubled as waste disposal units.
David Abram is the author of 'The Rough Guide to Goa' (pounds 8.99). Keep up with the latest developments in travel by subscribing to the free newsletter 'Rough News' which is published three times a year by Rough Guides, 1 Mercer St, London, WC2H 9QJ. A free 'Rough Guide' goes to the first three new subscribers each week.
l Mandrem beach lies some 12 miles north of the resorts of Calangute and Baga, and is reached via the ferry at Siolim. By public transport, head for Arambol and rent a cycle for the four-mile trip down the coast.
l A double room at the Panjim Inn (E-212, 31 Janeiro Rd, Fontainhas, Panjim; tel 0832/226523, fax 228136) costs around pounds 15 per night.
l Goa's carnival takes place in Panjim in late February - early March, while the biggest beach parties, around Anjuna in the north, usually happen on full-moon nights in Dec and Jan.
l Village-distilled feni can be bought in local bars for 10p a glass. Factory-made feni is available in towns. Tours of spice plantations are offered as excursions by most holiday companies.
l Goa's two largest markets are held at Anjuna on Wed, and Mapusa on Fri; the latter is more authentic.
01 April 2015 12:00 AM
Video: The Independent's Personal Finance Editor runs you through the key facts about Premium Bonds
27 March 2015 08:30 PM
27 March 2015 08:30 PM
20 March 2015 07:30 PM
How to make the most of Isas: You can save more money now, the returns are tax-free and the rules are flexible
20 March 2015 07:30 PM
13 March 2015 09:00 PM
13 March 2015 09:00 PM
10 March 2015 09:03 AM
The Financial Conduct Authority found non-compliance in all reviewed firms
11 March 2015 11:38 AM
Pension expert John Lawson talks on why improved longevity is something to plan for carefully
06 March 2015 08:30 PM
02 March 2015 10:50 AM
The DWP and the FCA have joined forces to investigate transaction charges in occupational pension schemes
04 March 2015 03:00 PM
The company was found to have unacceptably long call waiting times
27 February 2015 07:30 PM
27 February 2015 07:30 PM
27 February 2015 12:01 AM
The NHS is currently bearing a yearly burden of approximately £1.5bn treating cold-related illnesses every winter
Debt in Britain: Numbers seeking help on how to cope with mounting bills goes up by more than half in three years
General election 2015: David Cameron's promise brings uncertainty to investors
Have a happy new financial year
Simon Read: 'It went below the radar but you could be eligible for a tax break on your savings'
Women to lose benefits from contracted-out pension scheme
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
- 3 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 4 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 5 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 per annum + commission: SThree: Sthree have an exciting opportunity for...
£18000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...
Day In a Page
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms
A two-bedroom detached house with ensuite bathrooms and a sun-drenched decked terrace, £750,000
A modern and spacious two-bedroom, penthouse flat with two bathrooms in a prestigious development
A beautifully renovated five-bedroom terrace with three reception rooms and a courtyard garden, £700,000
A four-bedroom period house which has been extended to provide almost 2,500sq ft of living space, £675,000
A pretty three-bedroom Georgian home with a 22ft drawing room and a master suite with a balcony, £525,000
A substanstial family home with five bedrooms and landscaped gardens in the much sought-after Branksome Park area
A well-presented three-bedroom house with front and rear gardens, close to White City station, £475,000
A handsome five-bedroom house in a sought-after location close to the city centre
A five-bedroom country home with valley views, equestrian stables and 27 acres of land, £725,000
A six-bedroom farm house with separate, detached cottages and 371 acres of land
A two-bedroom cottage with parquet floors, chunky beams and an open fireplace
A three-bedrrom flat with 2,733sq feet of living space, a beautiful private garden and 15 acres of communal grounds
A four-bedroom chalet bungalow with three bathrooms and a spacious garden, £525,000