On May 20, 1498 Vasco da Gama became the first person to sail from Europe to Asia around the Cape of Good Hope — establishing an ocean spice route. He landed just south of Goa in Calicut, India. Here are some of the Portuguese influences from centuries ago.
Fort Augada was built in 1613. The lighthouse was added in 1864.
I’m not sure why people stared at us more openly in Goa than in Bangalore (where we still stand out in a crowd), but in Goa, lots of people stopped and asked us where we were from and if they could take our photo. And as soon as one person asked, a flock of people started taking pics.
Goa is a seaside Mecca for vacationers — newlyweds, families and many, many groups of young guys out seeing their country (one recent college grad we met spent 24-hours on a train with his buddies to get there). We visited during the off season when most foreigners weren’t around.
We saw one woman in a bathing costume, an old-fashion neck-to-knee suit with tutu ruffle and wide stripes. Everyone else went into the surf fully clothed. Lifeguards spent a lot of time whistling folks back up the shore. The monsoon season was whipping up the surf. We were told the Arabian Sea is normal flat.
We made a friend at the beach. He was really hopeful that maybe we had a treat for him. About every couple hundred yards, he had to meet and pass the approval of another pack of dogs to get down the beach with us.
They did not understand my joke about Baywatch . . .
Waiting out a little down pour. It was still warm and pleasant.
Fire-roasted corn-on-the-cob is cooked by lots of the independent vendors at all the touristy places in Bangalore.
About 80 percent of the people in India are Hindu (something my friend Dal Dhaliwal from Yuba City pointed out before I left.) Dal, I wonder if more than 80 percent of the Indians in Yuba City are Sikh? Every once in a while, we see someone in a turban, like this Sikh fellow and his family. His kids were making full use of their time in the park.
The Muslim ladies dressed in black burkas in the back ground are more common around town. According to the Indian government, 13 percent of the country is Muslim, 2 percent is Christian and almost 2 percent is Sikh.
Safari, Zoo & Butterfly Garden
Wondering how we got close enough to see the whiskers on these tigers? Visitors ride buses through the various animal exhibits. The bus drivers stop where the animals are hanging out giving everyone an up-close look at these incredible animals.
Thanks to Arne’s colleague, Pradeep Joshi, we were able to ride in the front of the bus. Here are the other folks on the bus. Everyone was pretty excited about all the different animals.
Between each of the exhibits, the bus pulls into this cage. The fellows sitting here open and close the gates in front and behind the bus, keeping the animals from roaming between each of the various areas.
Lord Shiva is “stands” 65-feet tall from his cross-legged lotus position in front of Mount Kailash. We walked along with some of his devotees, a few of the thousands of visitors who come to pray, pay tribute or seek blessings.
Both benevolent and fierce, Shiva is the transformer and the destroyer.
We were grateful to our driver “James” who walked us up to the entrance of the statue and helped us pay for admission and sandal storage. We received an orange ticket with six or eight tabs that were suppose to be torn as we made our way through the various “activities” for lack of a better word. Here you are given a bowl of coins that you place in bowls and recite “Om Namah Shivaya.”
This is Nandi, Shiva’s sacred steed. He is the bearer of truth and righteousness.
Lord Ganesha, remover of obstacles and deva of wisdom, sits above the pathway that goes under the Shiva statue. Here you take a journey through the 12 lingas. I noticed that the family in front of us didn’t take their children through the dark maze with a rope bridge. (Frankly, I was a little nervous; but, glad to have my brave companion, Miss Nat!)
Pongal, an Indian comfort food Breakfast includes a little of everything for European and Asian travelers. This kitchen was devoted to Indian fare. This morning I tasted Pongal, which was described as a breakfast comfort food — and also something you might eat if you weren’t feeling well. It reminded me of creamy grits with a mild Indian seasoning. Tasty! Many thanks for the chef who sizzled the grill to make the fun photo below.Ingredients for pongal: rice and yellow lentils, milk, ghee, ginger, cumin seed, peppercorn and curry leaves. Here is a link with a pongal recipe. This one has the addition of cashews. These are some of the condiments. I believe the two red chutneys are tomato, the white one is coconut and the green is cilantro. Delicious on the fried lentil patties.
Above is a long shot of the three different kitchens. The Indian breakfast is in the background. The fellows who posed were at the middle station cooking eggs and in the foreground are the cereals, pastries, etc.
In India, cars drive on the left side of the ride, cows wonder the streets, and traffic lanes are a suggestion. Drivers squeeze into every inch of the lane — scooters, two-wheelers (motorcycles), auto rickshaws (motorcycle with an open carriage that can carry two ladies and their three children). When squeezing up to the next driver, each person honks. It’s not an angry honk. It’s just toot, toot, coming up next to you. Don’t move over now. If you reached out the window, you could pat the shoulder of the fellow next to you.
Who has the right-of-way? Arne’s take is that whoever noses out first gets to go. Case in point: the mango cart started across the road and a van coming faster got into the street first. He tooted the horn telling the mango man “I’m going.” Without shifting even one fruit from the perfect pyramid, he slid his sandals across the pavement halting the cart in time to yield. Mango man needs a horn…