Archive for April, 2007

Weather with you?

April 30, 2007

Following yesterday’s blog, we really did have a storm last night. It was spectacular. Started with a few drops of rain which we assumed would not amount to much. Then the downpour started. As soon as it rains, the temperature plummets, which is great. Then the thunder began, with the lightening. Neither of us have ever seen anything like it. Not just the odd flash of sheet lightening but on-going waves of the stuff, with periodic forks that lit the streets as though it was daylight. Fantastic. More please.

Record Temperatures

April 29, 2007

Glad you you have been enjoying some sunshine back in the UK.
For a couple of nights here it got a bit cloudy, raising our hopes for rainfall. All we got was an electric storm and powercuts and no reduction in the daytime temperature, which we are told are records for April.
We are coping well with the heat and the humidity – as good as the natives anyway. Very glad to have moved to somewhere with air conditioning in the bedroom. Just need our treatment room to be finished now.

The missing keys – part two

April 28, 2007

See the missing keys part one before reading this one. Alison duly ventured forth the next morning, on a motorcycle taxi, to retrieve the spare keys. Having successfully found the in-laws, including climbing over their gate to gain access, she returned. Once the bedroom was opened, we realised we couldn’t find Harry’s keys. So had to take a taxi back to the old flat to finish packing up. Alison eventually found Harry’s keys in the utility room, under the helmets. Neither of us know how they got there. The joke is, the keys had on them house keys to our old flat. So if we’d realised where Harry’s keys were, we could have got home the previous evening.

The missing keys – part one

April 23, 2007

We’ve moved into our new apartment, and what a drama it’s been. We spent Thursday on an initial clean up. The flat’s been empty for some time and it needed some TLC.
Goan’s are very security conscious, so pretty much every door in the place locks, including the one to the main bedroom, which you can lock by pressing a button. Martin, someone who rarely bothers to shut or lock doors, carefully locked the bedroom door and in doing so cut off our access to our money, clothes, the keys to the new flat, the keys to the old flat, and the ones for Harry. The spare set was with the owner’s in-laws, who were out for the evening.
We had to borrow pillows, blankets, water and some money for transport fr the next day from the owner’s parents (who live below) and spend an unexpected first night at the new flat. Not a happy evening.

First, catch your snake

April 19, 2007

You’re never far from the wildlife in Goa. However for the past God knows how long, we’ve been a bit closer to a certain type of wildlife than we realised. Arrived home at lunchtime to be greeted with the news that our neighbour had found a cobra in her bag of coconuts, just outside her kitchen door, next to her children’s play area. It was a large cobra, about a meter long.
She bemoaned Martin’s absence as she had called the workmen on the site across the road for help. They had flushed the snake out but then didn’t want to kill it. We didn’t like to tell her that, given the option, Martin would have admired the snake then let it go on its way. Or better still, tried to find a safe way to move the snake then taken it to somewhere more conducive to its survival. As it was, someone was found who would kill it and he did.
Expect a blog hiatus over the next few days as we’re moving house and we’re not sure what our broadband status is going to be. We’ve spoken to our current providers, BSNL, who tell us there’s a waiting list for broadband in Margao. We’re not quite sure what this means for us as we already have the modem and have paid up front for the next few months’ service. More moans magir.

Driving Licences

April 18, 2007

We decided that Goan driving licenses might help with our identity ‘crises’.
We have to apply for learners’ licenses which last for one month before we have to take a test. So far, after seven days’ and four visits to the Road Traffic Office we have only managed to deposit correct documents. First visit was to try to find out what docments are required (9), second visit to present documents and be told that a tenth was required, third visit to present ten documents and the fourth visit was purely to be given a time for a fifth visit to be finger-printed. Not possible to do on the phone, you see.
Anyone want to bet on how many visits we’ll have to make to actually get the licenses? We didn’t think so.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again… the inefficiency and wastage is mind-boggling.

Is this your daughter?

April 14, 2007

Sometimes it’s hard to credit what’s happening to you while it’s happening in Goa. The journey from our clinic back to our home involves a difficult turn out onto a busy road. It’s often a case of pulling onto the wrong side and moving gently up against the flow of traffic, then making a quick dash across when the opportunity presents. We were trying to complete this manouevre today when a pedestrian approached us and started chatting to Martin. We’re sat there trying not to get run over while working out whether we know the guy when the Indian chat up performance begins. It comprises one stance and a variation on four questions. Talk to Martin while looking at Alison. Ask where we come from. Ask where we’re living. Ask ‘when are you coming?’ (correctly translated as ‘when did you arrive?’). At this point there’s sometimes a brief diversion if the person has been to the UK or is planning a trip. Then the punchline – ‘is this your daughter?’ It’s bad enough when you’re on the beach. When there are several buses, a fleet of two/three/four-wheelers bearing down on you it’s hard to credit. We eventually escaped and nearly fell off Harry laughing at the next corner.

Traffic

April 14, 2007

Re yesterday’s blog and the comment on the traffic – things are a changing. Witnessed today in Margao. Fairly narrow road reduced to one lane by parked cars. Two drivers, one in each direction, both see the gap and both go for it. They come to a halt a few cms from each others bumpers and sit blaring their horns at each other. Reversing doesn’t seem to be a big feature of the Goan driving test. Also crossing the road by the Municipal Gardens is becoming a bit of an adventure. It’s OK in the rush hours – female police officer (photo will follow) in charge to stop the traffic. Outside the rush hours, it’s a bit more hit and miss (if you get my point). Let’s just say you could never ban jaywalking in Goa as no one would ever get across. Braking clearly isn’t a big part of the Goan driving test either as most motorists don’t seem to expect to stop. We’ve noticed the elderly pedestrians are starting to tackle the situation in pairs, if not groups!!

Some parallels

April 13, 2007

Goa is the same size as Cornwall and a similar shape; about half a million people live in Cornwall, nearly three times as many in Goa. Both places have a lot of agriculture, fishing and tourism, and Goa has substantial mineral resources. Both are fairly isolated from the rest of the country. Goa is surrounded by a large range of hills (ghats). As a consequence, both place have developed a unique character, which is being diluted quite quickly as road, rail and air transport improvements bring in more outsiders who want a piece of the laid-back inaction. In Goa we are on GMT Goan Maybe Time, in Cornwall you ‘get roundtuit’. Interesting parallels.
Despite the population density the traffic moves a lot better in Goa than in Cornwall during the season.

The DIN puzzle

April 10, 2007

DIN registration is essential for Income Tax and other purposes. Can we get a DIN? No. The DIN department rejects our applications. ‘Addresses do not match’ is one reason given. We have scrupulously scrutinised all copies of all forms submitted. The addresses do match, even down to the mis-spelling of the house name. What is wrong?
We think we have the answer. Although the form requests residential address, we think that what they really want is a registered office address to match with a bit of paper lurking in some dusty cupboard in their office. But nobody can tell us. Perhaps there’s a price to pay to find out, but we don’t know who to pay?!
And then we have to work out why the other reason ‘Not certified’ applies. We’ve already told you about the number of notary stamps put on these papers.
It would be nice if we could phone or email someone for a fuller explanation, but this particular office is incommunicado for applicants. We don’t think writing to them will help.
However we do have a temporary DIN and our advisers say this is good enough. But, past experience says we should take this with a pinch of salt….