Archive for April, 2010

The ‘Kamikaze’ Pig

April 19, 2010

Local pigs are generally among the most intelligent road users. If they are caught on the hop they are very fast and agile and from the motorist’s point of view quite amusing and not a hazard. However….

We were travelling to the beach for our Sunday 5 mile run and were accelerating out of the village on the last half mile. Harry the Honda had as usual taken his time to reach 40 kph when a moderately sized pig, with immaculate timing, hurtled out of the roadside vegetation. If the interception course had been plotted by NASA it couldn’t have been more accurate. Harry collected the pig midships before any avoiding action or braking could be taken.

Oooops! Alison felt the impact, thinks she used foul language as she separated from Harry and then nothing more until she opened her eyes a few seconds later and ascertained nothing broken and to find Martin on his feet; he had no recollection of the impact or even getting to his feet. Harry was on his side and relatively unharmed. The pig had settled, seemingly quite comfortable, to die quietly under a shrub. Three score marks ran for about 15ft down the road, marking our wayward trajectory. Fortunately it was far too early for enough people to be up and about so a large crowd didn’t gather and demand payment for the dead pig. Dripping blood and other healing fluids, we abandoned the run and checked in at the hospital for patching up road-burn, grazes, cuts and flesh gouges. It’ll put us out of action for a couple of days.

Inconvenient? Yes! Problem? No!



April 16, 2010

The weather is sapping at this time. A five minute walk to the bank and back requires a shower and a change of clothes. The mind goes soggy. Everything takes twice as long as usual. Yesterday we need to send a faxed letter to our friends at the Foreigner’s Registration Office. It took three different numbers and six attempts to get it through. Would have been less frustrating to ride the bike to and from their offices 40 miles away. Our accountant snapped at us for not giving him enough details to file some paperwork or other, although he did have all the needful in his file. No apologies, though. Alison is busy. Martin is not, apart from dealing with faxes for the FRO and re-supplying duplicate papers for the accountant.

Flowers are bursting out all over the place. Mangoes are in season but not plentiful and not cheap. We’ve finished our one-day-a-week clinic down south in Patnem… everything there is shutting down in advance of monsoon. We are thinking of replacing it with a clinic in Panjim and there’s a possibility of holding a once-a- month clinic in Surat 600 miles north in Maharastra. Business is ticking over nicely.Reading through the above it all seems pretty humdrum… but we don’t seem to bored just hot and sluggish.

At a glance

April 2, 2010

The bulbuls have successfully reared a solitary chick. The second egg was sterile. A small flock of blue-tailed bee-eaters are entertaining us at breakfast time on their way south. It’s Good Friday and plenty of moaning and chanting is blasting out from the sound system at the local church (nearly three hours now). Some of it quite tuneful, nonetheless. Weather is hot and humid; a steady 32C. Power cuts are getting less frequent. Trees are blossoming. Business is booming. Brits who spend six months wintering in Goa are leaving and many will never return because of the changed visa situation (it will change again soon, so they are probably burning their boats too soon). So properties will be plentiful to rent and buy over the coming months, as will furniture, cars and bikes. The banks seem to have a constant stream of Brits closing accounts. The locals think the Russians will fill the gaps; we’re not so sure. A lot of the Brits seem to be wanting to invest and live in Portugal. We called off a trip to Malaysia, when it became apparent we would not have to leave India under our visa regulations. A friend told us today that he’d had a visit from the local police. Rather than a difficult encounter and a request to call in at the station he was told that the needful could be done there and then and, holy of holies, ‘Goa needs you sort of people’. A first! Our friend has been working in the insurance industry in India for more than 10 years. Only another 6 years for us before we get this accolade then.

March in Goa – silly season

April 2, 2010

We were a bit taken aback to realise we haven’t posted a blog since 5 March. All regular readers have probably switched off by now.

No excuses really, except that this time of year seems to be particularly busy in our practice. Plus we’ve applied for registration with the police and a visa extension. Cue silly season, fussing over not enough stamps on lease agreements and who on earth do we talk to about ‘no objections certificates’? We estimate the process so far has taken two full working days for the two of us. Martin has clocked up four trips to the Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) – he isn’t quite as well known there as he is at the Road Traffice Office, which is just as well as the FRO is in Panjim, 40 minutes away by road on a good day; used to be 50 minutes but a particularly difficult village has been by-passed with a sort of two lane road. And we’ve spent about five hours with the two branches of the police in Margao.

It would be good to think that all this effort (not to say copies of documents) would stand us in good stead in the future but we’re not holding our breath.

The really sad part is that it doesn’t seem to occur to anyone on the Goan side that no self respecting villain is likely to walk into the FRO and say they want to register. So by default those registered are self-selected as ‘nothing to hide’.

Still onwards, if not necessarily upwards, our extension application has made it past the police the FRO and on to the Home Office (Goa). We await developments.

Just back from Chennai

April 2, 2010

We spent last weekend in Chennai, on a two-day acupressure course.

Things did not begin well. Our booked direct flight was cancelled, and the alternative was a two-leg journey via Mumbai. We arrived around midnight, to be treated to Chennai’s latest budding racing driver. Nose cones at dawn as we were rather too close to comfort to the vehicles in front as we sped into town. Suffice it to say there was far too much overtaking (and undertaking) for him ever to be considered for Formula One.

Arrival at the hotel didn’t fill us with confidence either. One person on reception and two guys in front of us arguing about their room allocation. Still all would be well, we assured ourselves.

Skip to next morning and Alison enquires about the whereabouts of the acupressure workshop. ‘What workshop?’ came the reply from reception. Plan B, get receipt from room and try again. However serendipity intervened. Two men got into the lift with Alison and one was wearing a ‘Life Positive’ shirt (workshop organisers). All was revealed – the workshop was in the hotel and all the staff had been briefed the day before. Alison still went back to reception and advised them of the location, just in case.

From there on things picked up. Good workshop, well organised, well lectured (thank you Ketan Shah) and an interesting and engaged audience too. Just shows it can be done.