Susegad pic

May 12, 2014

2014-05-12 16.57.09

Lazy Monday afternoon and the VTOL beetle

May 12, 2014

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Looking for survivors on a lazy Sunday afternoon

May 11, 2014

Some staff have gone on leave for four days for a wedding, so we have to fend for ourselves for a bit.

Off to lunch at our favourite restaurant, Cheryl’s Bar. Prawns Chilli Fry for Alison, Roast Buffalo Tongue for Martin, a decorative salad and the best chips in Goa and two pints of beer all for under a fiver. Not today though; for some undisclosed reason Clement has decided not to open. Martin reckons it’s a death in the family on the grounds that it seems a pretty common excuse for no-show patients this week. Alison plumps for why should he bother to open, it’s too damn’d hot.

Never mind! at double the cost we’ll eat at Nostalgia, probably the best Goan food restaurant in Goa. Yep! Open and top quality as usual plus a good Portuguese stout to wash it all down with. Back at the hotel for fresh brewed coffee and a snooze. 3.30pm and out into the sun for another couple of chapters of Catch 22(fifth reading) for Martin and some cooking in the cavernous kitchen for Alison.

Too hot for Martin so into the pool to cool. He’s got into the habit of scouring the waters for insects that have been caught out by a sudden downdraft or decided that flying is boring and swimming is a good alternative. Once ditched in the drink they don’t have an option but to drown. Lifeguard Martin rescues a one-legged grasshopper, a largish spider, two flying ants, a bronze coloured beetle and a purple dragonfly, plus four brown moths that turned out to be sycamore type seeds that had helicoptered into the water. Too much activity and its much easier to drift dozing drowsily in an inner tube until the arrival of a squabbling bunch of parakeets and then a troop of langurs hooting and crashing through the trees, which stirs the six dogs from their slumbers and they bark, destroying the delicious somnolence of the afternoon. Time for another chapter of Catch 22 as the sun starts to dip and things start to cool.

Hotelier again

May 4, 2014

Martin is now enjoying re-living his time as a hotelier in Padstow, Cornwall. Here in Goa at Casa Susegad, Loutolim (www.casasusegadgoa.com) the weather is considerably warmer and the last two nights have wrapped up in the wee hours in the pool, with beer and or wine. Warmer in than out, although its still about 25c out even at 2.00am. Not many guests but we had parties on Friday and Saturday, the latter celebratin Dr Will Thompson’s two years working with us at the clinic.

Will had done such a good job building the physiotherapy side of the business that we had unwittingly become a target for a takeover, not in the Western sense of the word but in the Indian sense. Although we lost the clinic rooms and some of the physio business we managed to establish ourselves in the Colva/Benaulim area and continued trading without a break, despite having only six weeks to make the transition. 

Anyway, Will had decided that his time in India had run out and planned his return to Europe and our top notch physiotherapist has almost got herself re-established in her ‘home’town of Vasco da Gama, Goa’s port city. Our receptionist Alancey has come with us and has a much easier time now we are back to a two man business.

SO the hotelier bit! We had promised our friends Norman and Carole back at Xmas before we knew of the end of our practice in Chowgule College that we would caretake their very pleasant hotel for six weeks over April/May/June. Fortunately there is a good set of people staffing the place and it’s the dog end of the season so not much trade about. We still run a clinic once a week in North Goa although we’ve shifted premises twice in the last year! Tomorrow being Monday, that’s where we are heading 7.15am. No guests tonight so an early night. 

Good night all!

Lock out

April 30, 2014

We have a problem getting one of the 7 keys cut. The 7 keys are essential for getting into the new house after a full shut down, which while we get used to the new surroundings is what we did on Good Friday. The plan was to go for a walk along the beach at sunset, maybe an hour out of the house, first time for many months. Three hours , two beers and three acquaintances later we returned home and one of the keys was missing, the problem one.

Good Friday is not a good day for locking yourself out when the other keyholders are Catholic. Good Friday is the day of the longest communion services in the calendar… in our case four and a half hours starting at 5.00pm.

Never mind, it was good excuse to treat ourselves to the best meal in town at Jamies. The fillet steaks are cooked to perfection, the ambience is Mediterranean at its best. Sea Bass is always fresh, BBQ pork ribs just melt in the mouth and the waiting staff are not too obtrusive and not too inattentive. 

We eventually got in at 10.30.

Serendipity – an unplanned move

April 27, 2014

It’s been an interesting couple of years since we took the decision to expand our chiropractic business. In the end we managed the expansion and were bang on target to meet the original aims. It came at a price, though. Business in India is tough for the foreigner who has not been brought up in the culture. However working under the protection of Chowgule College, some awkward stuff was avoided. This year after we failed to start negotiations early enough, we were unable to come to terms over another one year lease. We only allowed ourselves six weeks to make provision for alternative clinic space.

18 months ago we shifted home from the centre of Margao out into the sticks. Beautiful if somewhat remote. At the end of a working day, arrival back home felt like being on holiday, until Christmas 2013. JCBs and diggers moved in and staring tearing up our “back garden” to start a project which was sanctioned 20 years ago. The landscape turned into a dustbowl, so did the house!

Fortune smiled on us and we quickly found a suitable place to live and work. Suitable to the point that we now have to get various permissions from various offices scattered round South Goa. So the situation is somewhat precarious. More on our progress later.

So the day after we sadly left the college, we were able start in our new clinic only losing three clients in the process. We are helping our physio, Smaranika, set up her own business and have taken our receptionist, Alancey, with us. We reckon she’ll be worth her weight in gold…and she’s not small.

Not just a new home and a new business venue, but having set that up we are keeping a promise to our friends Norman and Carole who own Hotel Casa Susegad (www.casasusegadgoa.com) to stay at the hotel for six weeks while they are in the UK and keep things ticking over. Six each: staff, dogs and cats to keep an eye on. At the moment it’s like a holiday.

So for four months we’ve been busy. Not to mention trips to: Hampi in Karnataka, Pondicherry and Tanjur in Tamil Nadu, three days treating people in Bombay at an annual gathering of the Sant Nirankari Foundation. About a million people passed through the gates and many camped. The kitchens had to be seen to be believed. And ten days in Nepal (enforced visa break, it’s a tough life). Family visitors have also been entertained.

Might change the name of the blog to “Goan more crazy”. 

Doing business in India – how’s your genealogy?

February 23, 2014

Of all the things we thought we needed to know to do business in India, who would have thought our family trees were so important?

We have been asked to complete some forms to allow certain documents to be filed with the Registrar of Companies (India’s Companies House). In no particular order, we have to furnish the following names:

Mother inc step mother
Son inc step son
Son’s wife
Daughter inc step daughter
Father’s father
Father’s mother
Mother’s father
Mother’s mother
Son’s son
Son’s son’s wife
Son’s daughter
Son’s daughter’s husband
Daughter’s son
Daughter’s husband
Daughter’s son’s wife
Daughter’s daughter
Daughter’s daughter’s husband
Brothers inc step brothers
Brother’s wife
Sister inc step sister
Sister’s husband

Fortunately my family is fairly small. Martin’s, on the other hand … Well we could be here some time. Do you think anyone will check?

Heading for the lights

July 19, 2013

On Wednesday evening, around 11.30pm, a Goan motorist was heading through Goa’s capital, Panjim. He was going the wrong way down a one-way street, on the wrong side of the road, when he encountered lights coming towards him.

What are those, he wondered? Well, at least we hope he thought something before colliding head on with the lead police vehicle of the Chief Minister’s convoy.

When Alison took her Indian driving test, the examiner told her to be careful, as ‘there is no lane discipline here’. He wasn’t kidding.

Still, if you’re going to get it wrong, you might as well do it with style.

Lines and cables

More excitement on the telephone front this week – we might have a breakthrough in our quest for broadband. The secret is you have to personally bribe the line man. Five hundred rupees on installation, then 100 each month, does the trick. That’s about £6 to start with and £1.20 ongoing. In theory these sums guarantee you a swift installation and a good ongoing connection. Maybe.

On the TV/Satellite front, mini drama this week. TV service began to pack up on Tuesday night. Not good news with the Alpe D’Huez stage of the Tour de France looming on Thursday. Painful conversations with Tata Sky’s customer service people and their local engineers eventually delivered some help to the door on Thursday.

The upshot is hard to credit, but I’m going to tell it just like it is. The problem was that the dish was not connected up properly when we first moved to Macazana. It should have two cables when we only had one, and with the heavy rain we’ve been having the resulting signal was not strong enough. Now, Tata Sky charge for reconnecting you when you move. So we paid for this. And guess what – we had to pay again for them to come and rectify their original mistake. Not impressed. Very Indian – probably all the result of sub-sub-sub-sub-contracting.

Telephone line

June 28, 2013

Communications here at Macazana are unreliable, so we have decided that we must get a telephone landline with broadband. We are now considered to be old hands at this form filling game, we know the ropes, we’ve got all the needful documents. But no! Martin has fallen at the first fence. On his second visit, the eagle-eyed clerk saw that Martin’s recently renewed driving license was out of date. Martin’s second driving license had the old address and is 9 months out of date. There appears to be a random way of picking expiry dates on driving licenses

How much longer is this going to take?

How much longer is this going to take?

and we will have to be more alert in future.
The upshot of course is not only an extra round of visits to the telephone office, but also another bout with the RTO for renewing driving licenses. Martin will probably get fined for having two licenses.

99 Cannons

June 27, 2013

We met the 99 cannons (or 15 of them at least) at the top of Khardung La, the world’s highest motorable road. These Bullet bikers had nearly reached the end of a journey from the southernmost tip of India, Kanyakumari. They’d been in the saddle for more than three weeks. This is certainly not a journey for the faint-hearted.

The ride wasn’t just for the hell of it – they were promoting Women Empowerment in India. Despite constitutional equality, women in all walks of life are discriminated against and abused.

Our travel plans coincided with theirs and we encountered them on four other occasions as we journeyed to Srinagar.

One of 15 Cannons

One of 15 Cannons