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.
The Basilica Bom Jesus in Old Goa built in 1605. It contains the remains of Saint Francis Xavier. You can see his body in the tomb below.
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.
Fire-roasted corn-on-the-cob is cooked by lots of the independent vendors at all the touristy places in Bangalore.
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.
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.
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.
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…