Flew out yesterday from Manchester on a Thomas Cook Airbus A330 (with the downstairs loos). The flight was very comfortable with plenty of leg room and we arrived into Goa 10 minutes ahead of schedule. The lunch was a choice of Thai green curry with rice or sausage and mash, followed by strawberry and ginger cheesecake and cheese and biscuits. Typical airline food but quite tasy. An hour and a half before we landed we were served a snack of mini sandwiches plus a scone with clotted cream and jam. Wasn't over impressed, it was far too cold for one thing, but I ate it and it meant we didn't arrive in Goa starving.
As we were the only plane to land around that time it didn't take long at all to get through immigration. We had to wait about 10 minutes or so for the luggage but were outside meeting Anthony, Edwin's driver, within the hour - a very hassle free experience.
Arrived at Sao Domingos and checked into room 406 on the fourth floor at Luciana's.
Didn't wake until after 10 this morning but still managed to get breakfast and then went to see Jai at Jai International to change some money. Today's rate was 84 for cash and 83.5 for TCs. It's the first time I have ever got less in Cavelossim for my TCs than OH has for his cash. Still worth the security IMHO as I didn't have to pay the bank any commission for the TCs. We left the guest house by the back entrance and what a transformation! Normally this area is where there are piles of rubbish that they burn every day. However the rubbish had been cleared away and the area is much tidier. There doesn't seem to be as much rubbish in general this year but if I said there wasn't any I'd be lying!
Wandered down to the beach via beach road chatting to the sellers. It was a beautiful Goan day without a cloud in the sky and a lovely breeze. We strolled along the beach to the mouth of the River Sal watching the sand crabs scurrying around whilst a couple of eagles flew overhead. As we reached the estury there were lots of egrets on the beach and a heron was catching small fish. Unfortunately I'd forgotten to bring my camera out with me which was a shame as the sky was very clear and the heron would have made a nice picture. On the way back down the beach OH spotted a couple of dolphins in the distance out at sea. Unfortunately I can't confirm this sighting as how ever much I stared in the distance I couldn't see a thing. My short sightedness does come in handy in restaurants though when OH can't read the small print and I can!
We were going to go to Mike's shack but all the unoccupied sunbeds had towels on them so we went to Betty's instead. There were approximately 30 sunbeds at Betty's and at least 6 were free and it was lunch time by now. There were at least 20 sunbeds at Mike's but I can't confirm the exact number as we didn't get that close.
Spent a couple of hours relaxing on the beach and then had a late lunch at Betty's. OH had special hakka noodles and I had chicken hakka noodles. Total cost including 2 large Kingfisher and a lime soda was 530rp. There was no charge for the sunbeds. We stayed at Betty's until after 5.30 before making our way back to Sao Domingos.
There are definitely less sunbeds on the beach this year and they are much closer to the shacks which makes the beach much less cluttered. We did see quite a few free sunbeds around so there is no problem getting a bed, though you may not get one at your first choice of shack.
Logging on at the Business Centre where the rate is 40rp an hour which is the same as last year - happy days :-)