Our friend Sal arrived towards the end of our stay in Chapora, so there was only time for a few outings – a very pleasant afternoon and sunset at Oltremarino on Vagator beach; a spicy lunch at Gunpowder, a Keralan place just outside Mapusa; a masala dosa at Sita, a place next to the petrol station that we’d not tried before and won’t be trying again (the dosas at Jaws bakery in Vagator were so much better); and a trip to Patio 23 in Baga where Sal had a meeting with the owner, a chef who previously worked at top establishments in London. It wasn’t a fancy place and we only had simple snacks, but the quality showed (as it had in the chunk of quiche Lorraine that Sal had brought me earlier – its thin, crisp pastry was the best I’d had for a very long time).
We took the opportunity to take a peek at Baga beach, since we’d never been. We quickly concluded that we hadn’t missed anything – the sand wasn’t buried under rows of sunbeds like we’d seen in Candolim at peak season but it was dingy and strewn with litter, and rows of tourist-trip boats were moored just offshore.
Our 4 weeks in Goa passed far too quickly – the new online visa system does make things easier, but 30 days is really not long enough. I know plenty of people travel all the way from Europe just for a couple of weeks, but I guess we are used to slow travel now.
My sadness at leaving was all the more acute because we probably won’t be returning for at least 2 years. All along we had assumed that we would fly home from India, because it has the best availability of club class Avios seats. But then I unexpectedly found some from Bangkok. Another proper Indian visa (ie at least 3 months) would be a hassle since the decision by the Indian embassies in Thailand to stop giving visas to non-Thais – we’d have to go to somewhere like Sri Lanka or Vietnam to get one, neither of which we particularly wanted to visit again at this time. And they are expensive.
We could have got another 30 day visa, but before we flew home we wanted to spend a few days clothes shopping in somewhere like Mumbai, so we’d only have about 3 weeks in Goa. As we didn’t now need to return for more dental treatment, it made more sense to fly straight from Thailand. But I already miss that view from the rooftop pool at Chapora – I hope it doesn’t change too much before we get back.