Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Island hopping

On all two islands, that is.
With a desire to reclaim some of my childhood happiness,  Mian and I set off to visit the islands inland of Panjim.
Divar is a fairly large place, with its own ferry and bus service (each of which obligingly waits for the other). And it is beautiful. There are signs that this bustling, vibrant community is growing, and within a few years the old colonial bungalows with the breadfruit trees will give way to apartment blocks. But for now, it is a green and forested area with well-set out houses and family-run businesses. The gardens are full of busy chickens, lazy dogs, and food set out to dry in the sun.
The area close to the ferry is where this leafy little village is. Go further inland, and the scenery changes. The trees rapidly disappear and till the mangroves reappear, there is a vast stretch of grassland. I am not sure why this is so. Evidence of past farming? pasture land? This grass had been set fire to and while it did nothing to reduce the heat, it attracted birds from miles around. We stopped and watched them as they indulged in a feeding orgy. Drongos, swifts and bee-eaters, kites and eagles. Mian of course, managed to click several snaps.
That's the black shouldered kite on the left and the right is one of those brown anonymous birds that I can never identify.
We zoomed up and down looking for a place to eat before asking the local bus driver.

Me: hello, do you know of a place where we might get lunch?
He (looking first at me, and then at Mian): nothing for the likes of you..
Me: huh?
He: you'll probably want vegetarian.
Me: actually, we were looking for fish.
He: those places also have beer
 (Mian and I visibly brighten.)
He: hehe..ok..follows with extremely detailed description of where to find Mayur's.
And its a good thing that the description was so detailed, because otherwise we would never have found it. The restaurant was run by a mother and son in their living room and had the most excellent food. When we indicated that we wanted to pay for our meal, the son disappeared. We waited. and waited. and waited. When I finally went off to investigate, I discovered that he had broken out his bill book and was trying to figure out how to write in it. 'We don't need a bill', I said, 'just tell us what it is.' When he did come and tell us, the amount had us asking him hesitantly, 'did you account for both of us?' 
And it was after lunch that we decided to explore Vanxim..

No comments: