Today has been a revelation for me. For the first time since arriving in India I have felt able to relax and have started to enjoy my surroundings.
The day began early with our complimentary breakfast being served up on the roof of the hotel. As we devoured our cereals and fruit we listened to first the roar of the wind and then the drumming of the rain on the plastic roofing as the clouds swept in from the south. This was our first real taste of the monsoon as we had only experienced light, short showers in Mumbai.
Once the rain cleared up we ventured down into the town centre and took a stroll about the markets. Piles of spices and rows of fruits were displayed alongside towering racks of clothing and rows of sparkling jewellery. One vender; a young girl, took us around her family’s various stalls showing us their wares. I found out that her family make all the jewellery being sold, most of it being very well crafted. Apparently her Grandmother was the matriarch of the family and in charge of all the designs.
Progressing on we found a small restaurant called ‘The Penguin’. We approached the manager who was sat at the door and asked if we should seat ourselves. The jolly man replied in a loud voice “Of course you can, it’s all yours”. Inside they sold a wide selection of local foods which all looked like fine treats. Nicole had a rice and mushroom masala and I had a pav bhaji which was a potato curry with bread I also took some samosas on the side. Both were excellent meals and I am keen to return to dry the dosa (which is a large pancake that extends past the width of the plate) and the bhel puri (which is a puffy doughball which looks a bit like a Yorkshire pudding).
After the meal we decided to return to the hotel for a rest when the heavens opened and the rain poured down in sheets. Up above us we could hear the power lines arcing between themselves with metallic twangs and cracks. We arrived at our hotel lobby dripping wet, Nicole announcing our arrival with screams which caused quite the stir amongst the doormen.
Retreating to the hotel room, we watched the storm out of the window for a while, until, all of a sudden we were plunged into darkness along with the rest of Margao. After a while the lights would come back up only to disappear as quickly. We had heard about India’s rolling blackouts but until now had not experienced them. The lack of light did nothing to stem the flow of traffic outside of the window, some just merely turned on their hazard lights and continued forth adding even more confusion to the ever present chaos on the roads.