(click on pictures to enlarge)
It is very hot and humid in Goa right now but there are lots of tourists here nevertheless.
The majority are domestic tourists from other parts of India celebrating Diwali holidays when the schools are closed. Lots of Russians too and apparently there’s a Russian Mafia here involved with the drug trade. Next week onwards, until towards the end of March marks the peak tourist season when the weather is cooler. Domestic tourists tend not to visit during this period as prices go up while European tourists abound on account of the more pleasant weather. One nice thing at this time of year is that everything is still green and lush after the monsoon rains. The beach close to where I’m staying is beautiful and though its too hot for me during the day, I’ve been enjoying walks around sunset.
My reason for coming to Goa was to sort out some banking issues. Since my mother passed away and we dealt with her estate about 4 years ago, our accounts have lain dormant and the bank froze them due to lack of activity. The only way I could get them reactivated was to present myself to the bank in person. I found out when I got here that everything is secured by SMS and text messaging so I couldn’t activate my cash card until I got myself a mobile number. This was not as easy as it sounds. To safeguard against terrorism (I think) one has to fill out forms, and submit a photograph as well as one’s passport to get a SIM card. As it turned out, I was glad I had gotten myself a mobile number and data on my phone as it seems that most people here communicate by WhatsApp or SMS anyway. Needless to say there was a good deal of tooing and froing and trips to the nearest big town, Mapusa. The overnight receptionist at the hotel, who I’ve known for a long time, would give me a ride to Mapusa on his motorbike first thing in the morning as it is on his way home so at least my days started out pleasantly. I’m glad to say that I got everything resolved so I’m pleased about that.
On November 2nd, the Feast of All Souls, I randomly went by a cemetery and was amazed to see the graves all covered with flowers. I didn’t know that this way of honouring the dead was practised in Goa as this custom does not seem to have been carried on by emigrants to other countries like my parents. Anyhow, it was a colourful and moving sight as relatives were also there lighting candles. The picture above shows the entrance to the cemetery at St. Anne’s church in Parra bult in 1649. The caption says ‘Aiz Mhaka Faleam Tuka’ which translates to ‘Today Me, Tomorrow You’. A chilling thought but one we shouldn’t forget.