Shop ’til you drop…

Up early. Baga bus down the road to Calangute, then caught the bus to Panjim Kadamba station (madness). Took an auto for 20 Rs to 18 June Road to the Bombay Bazaar – took a fair amount of bartering though. Amy had recommended checking out the local pearls – tip of the week! They’re beautiful, particularly my favourites, grey ones. Spent a large amount of money on jewellery/pearls by Goan standards and then moved on to some other nearby shops (around the Church Square/Municipal Gardens area). Bought a fantastic coconut carved monkey for Keith – it even has a hairy head (‘Herbert’) as well as some obligatory cashews. Moved on to the Silk Emporium and did some serious damage: spent ages in there, the staff were great – very good sales people without hassling or provoking me. Bought a white cotton suit, with a small silver embroidered pattern on it; a maroon suit for Hannah – quite plain with a small tie-dye pattern around the edging; a 2-tone peach/pink sari – absolutely stunning and a couple of silk sarongs/decorative cloths with elephant patterns on them.

Having left the ‘superior’ rum in the room at Panjim Inn on Monday, I returned to the shop from where I’d bought the poison and invested in another bottle of it (10 Rs cheaper this time too) and a bottle of recommended gin…

It was approaching 1 pm by now and was intolerably hot to be moving around the city with my bulging ruck sack, so headed back to the bus station and took a local bus back to Calangute. I guess the local schools start early and finish early due to the heat (or at least take an extended siesta) as touring around the neighbouring villages en route towards Candolim, several school loads got on and off. All the children crushed on – I was glad I had a seat, unlike one large lady who bounced away amongst them in the standing area, laughing.

Waited ages at Calangute for a bus to Baga before eventually just setting off on a short-cut home in the heat. Was almost at Anne’s when 3 x buses passed me (so it is the same world over) to enquire whether I could get my hair highlighted but her ‘Madame’ who does hair hadn’t been in yet. There’d been a L’Oreal demonstration at her beauty house yesterday and other beauticians from nearby had come to it too. She was excited about how they were being educated in the differences between white peoples hair to their own (eg. it doesn’t need bleaching first before dying it). I agreed to return at 5 and see if Madame had been in touch by then.

Home. Showered. Admired purchases. Returned Anne’s at 5 but still no sign of Madame, so went and sat in Coffee Day. Whiled away an hour or so with a blended brandy iced coffee and banana and walnut cake and read Deborah Maggoch’s These Foolish Things. Was a good coffee house – a Goan Starbucks (or is this yet another American chain here? There’s already Subway, Dominos and Baskin Robbins in Calangute alone).

Returned to Rincol Royale for dinner: potato skins starter with garlic dip; kingfisher beer, goan curry and rice for mains (the staple dish – delicious too – really tasty spicy sauce made with coconut milk, not dissimilar to thai) and bebinca. Was just settling the bill when Amy and Dawn returned from yoga so had a chat with them for a while before going home to pack.

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