Monday, 15 March 2010

Goa: Benaulim

Saturday 13 February: Decided to make an extended pit-stop in Goa for some essential maintenance and to get fitter before heading north to trek in Nepal. With a broad flat sandy-beach stretching for miles Benaulim (pronounced 'Ben-know-limb' - otherwise you might end up in Palolem) is an ideal place for running - first real training I've done since Lake Bled, Slovenia in July 2009.
Thursday 18: Oral check-up and teeth polish for 500 rupees (about £6.50) at Dr Hubert Gomes surgery, a popular dentist with ex-pats in Margao (check out his price list).
Tuesday 23: Hero Honda motorcycle taxi (46th mode of transport) to and from Margao (or Madgoan) Station to reserve train tickets to Delhi and on to Shimla hill station in mid-March.
Saturday 6: With ten days to wait before my train leaves for Delhi and unable to exercise I scour the village shops, guesthouses and hotels for something to read. Eventually I select two volumes from the limited choice available: Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island (Britain) where I started this journey, and Michael Palin's Himalaya, where I'm headed next. I finish Bill's lazily edited (surprising as he trained as a proof reader) notes in hours. He does make amusing observations on the British condition many of which I agree with and, yes, we do like to run ourselves and our country down. Not me - the British worked wonders in India, not least, introducing a fine railway network now the world's largest employer. Himalaya is far more informative and fascinating, clearly the work of a whole editorial team.
Saturday 13 March: Desperate for more reading material I eventually find a battered copy of Bill Bryson's Down Under - great as I'm preparing a rough Australia itinerary for early 2011. Next to it is Paul Theroux's Riding the Iron Rooster, set in China. This will be good to read before I get to Tibet and Yunnan. With 500 pages printed in smaller type than Bill's book I hope to enjoy this on my 30-hour train ride to Delhi leaving Tuesday.
Pictures of Benaulim and Clova.

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