A Goan Adventure?

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THIS WAS WRITTEN ON RETURN FROM HOLIDAY IN JANUARY 2018.

So, another adventure in Goa, India draws  to a close.

‘Adventure?’ Perhaps that’s an exaggeration. The word prompts thoughts of conquering the unknown; of searching out new experiences, or even perhaps legging it with an ancient relic tucked under your sweaty armpit whilst evading a multitude of jaggy-edged booby- traps, set by the Guardians of the Dead to a previously unknown civilisation.

In actual fact, the most exciting and adventurous thing I did, was bare my arse to a hitherto unknown Indian chap who promptly thrust an anti-biotic laden needle into the muscle mass of my glutes.

Being unwell on holiday is … well, a complete bummer.

Never-the-less, if you are going to be ravaged by a mucus-soaked chest infection, Goa is the place to be. You may well feel like shit, but you certainly won’t feel out of place since it seems every taxi driver you hire is partial to the odd roar of gargling phlegm.

And, on the plus side, should you fall victim to ill health, appropriate medication is easily had in the local village at the the rather decrepit looking pharmacy. And for a mere fraction of the price you’d pay in England, too.

Of course, with free prescriptions in Scotland, us Scots are outraged at having to pay 325/- (@ £4.22) for enough amoxicillin, levobalt, paracetamol, & cough syrup to undercut a chain-smoking Venezuelan drugs baron.

But needs must.

Most Goans speak English as well as their native Konkan, but the most effective means of conveying your illness to the dispenser, is to demonstrate your ailments. A simple cough, protruding your tongue or tearing slices of dead skin from you sunburnt forehead usually results in the grumpy, wizened old pharmacist scampering up an unstable ladder to reach the outer limits of his stock.

I will never fathom how he knows where to find a specific unbranded white box of drugs, incidentally each of whose name comprises a minimum sixteen letters and sounds like a Polish shot putter’s under arm deodorant . But he does, & that’s all that matters.

A word of caution though: active demonstration of Delhi Belly is to be discouraged. It’s considered rude and unnecessary in these parts, and rather than meds, you are only likely to be handed a shovel.

BUT THAT’S ALL BY THE BY.

Goa is a colourful and magical place. The Heritage Village Club at Arossim, its staff and guests, even more so. Nothing is too much trouble, and even though I effectively lost over half my fortnight holiday through feeling unwell, it was heartening to see how concerned and attentive the staff ( & fellow guests) were.

I thank you all. It’s been a pleasure spending the past two weeks with you. I will, of course, completely understand you not reciprocating the sentiment if come Tuesday, your wheezing lungs are similarly filled with green, sticky stuff.

So that’s it – I’m home in Scotland now. And still coughing.

Right now, though, I’m going to get some shut-eye. For tomorrow morning means an early start as I’ll be straight off down to Boots the Chemist, dropping my kecks and demanding a free jag in the bum.

Wish me luck.

 

_________________

Back to reality.

That’s it, then: Christmas is over. Hogmanay is over. My annual holiday in India (Goa) is over.

Arossim Beach (Starfish shack) in South Goa.

Arossim Beach (Starfish shack) in South Goa.

Nothing left to look forward to ……. except immersing my imagination in the land of ‘Soul Survivor,’ and getting the damn thing written. That, and maybe ‘The Rambling Man.’ That’s the target for this year – one, if not both, books to be completed by the year end.

I had envisaged getting to grips with the former while lying by the pool or on the beach these past couple of weeks. But, having been to this place the previous five years, I should have known better. The combination of 90+ degree temperatures, lovely, plentiful food and cold beer can result in only one thing. And it’s not creativity.

The holiday, however, did present an opportunity for some creative, guerrilla marketing with regard to ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee.’

I thought I’d take a couple of copies with me and after carrying a copy around for a day or so, placing it strategically on my dining table at meal times, I’d leave them in the hotel library for guests to hopefully pick up.

Unbeknown to me though, one guest had already bought a copy to read on the plane over to India. And having read it, they also placed it in the lobby library. This meant there would be three copies potentially circulating the small hotel..

And even better – the owner of that particular copy, whom I’d met on previous visits, introduced me to other guests as ‘the famous author,’ much to my embarrassment.

The result of all this was that even before I could place copies in the library, I’d been asked directly if people could borrow them. They would then make them available for others to read.

Now, receiving royalties for your book is great. Of course it is. But I genuinely got more of a kick actually witnessing the interest in the book which went days before reappearing on the bookshelf.

I love it when a plan comes together!

Even Sandy, the stray beach-dog, found something to laugh about in 'Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee.'

Even Sandy, the stray beach-dog, found something to laugh about in ‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee.’