For those of you who are worried about us after hearing about the bombings in New Delhi and the train derailment in S. India – we are fine. We decided not to go to Delhi in favor of coming to Goa.
Today, we spent a lazy day, watching the 3rd. one-day cricket match between India and Sri Lanka (contested in Jaipur, Rajasthan) for most of the day, then strolled to Calangute beach in the evening. While many of the bars and restaurants on Baga beach are still setting up for the season (to officially start tomorrow), putting up palm leaf shelters and building platforms, the ones on Calangute beach were in full swing. I spotted a restaurant recommended by our friends Vandana and Joseph in Pune, the Souza Lobo, and decided to try it. Vandana and Joseph have never steered us wrong.
As we sat on the beach, enjoying the soft sea breeze, sipping sweet lime soda and fresh pineapple juice, a trio of musicians set up on the beach in front of the tables. The geezers (I use the word in the most affectionate way – think Ibrahim Ferrer) were perfect for the place and time. (Last night, we were assaulted by a singer/guitarist who opened with “Rhinestone Cowboy”.) They wore matching sombreros, bright, flower-print shirts and black pants. The saxaphonist had a sweet sound, and the guitarist/singer an appropriately croaky voice. The drummer provided harmony to the Konkani songs that they sang. Requests came in from the diners for “Spanish Eyes” and “Besame Mucho”.
On our walk back, we took a route that led us to a small Hindu enclave, where a couple of drummers in the back of a small pick-up were gearing up for their Diwali parade around the city behind a huge demon on the bed of a larger truck. They were on their way to Mapusa for a demon contest before the ritual beheading on the night before Diwali. Houses here and there had tiny ghee candles burning around their verandas. Stores had strings of colored lights draped around their entrance. A banyan tree in the center of the street had small candles set among the roots. Every now and then, a burst of firecrackers. Beautiful.