India Day 2 – The Spice Plantation

I had read mixed reviews about the spice plantation but thought it would be a good site to add to my tour.  Some called it a tourist trap but, hey, I’m a tourist so…When you enter the plantation you are greeted with a lei of flowers, a dot of red powder on your forehead and a glass of hot spiced tea.  The tour took us from plant to plant explaining what each spice was and how it was used.  We were past the harvest season so not every spice was available to see.  They had a demonstration of how the black Betel nut is harvested.  I was familiar with this nut only because of the movie South Pacific in which the sailors sing about Bloody Mary who chews Betel nuts but doesn’t use Pepsodent.

The tour ended with a hot buffet which, truth be told, I did not feel comfortable eating.  When I read up on how to stay healthy while visiting India it was repeatedly stated not to eat lukewarm food from buffets.  This food had been sitting out in the sun so I opted for a Sprite.  Given the heat and the big breakfast,

I had eaten this was perfect.


India day two – The Old Goa Church

Today I hired a taxi to show me some of the sights of Goa. Our first stop was the Old Goa Church – also known as the Basilica of Bom Jesus where the remains of St. Frances Xavier are displayed. The church has an amazing amount of gilded surfaces while the ceiling is simple wooden plank. The day I visited there were a large number of Hindu men and women. They all seemed especially enthralled with a small glass boxed statue of our lady of Fatima which each passerby was inclined to touch with their flattened palm. Many also had ribbons of marigolds which they placed on statues in the courtyard.

My son and I arrived in Goa India at 2:30 in the morning after having flown a total of about 19 hours.  It is a small manageable airport with just 2 luggage carousels so did not feel overwhelmed.  It took awhile to find our luggage but when we did it was easy to exit.  They seemed to require most everyone to put their luggge through a scanner before exiting but they did not ask us to do so.  We had someone meeting us at the airport.  You have to wait outside to greet people but we spotted them immediately.  The first thing I noticed was the heat, like a summer night, and the horns blowing and dogs barking.

We had a LOT of luggage which required us to put some on top of the car and then we all squeezed in.  I soon learned that the horn is probably the most important part of a car in India.  It seems to be used instead of turn signals and is used whenever anyone is passing you – even if you are on a road with multiple lanes….there is a toot toot as they passed.

I also quickly realized how many “wild” dogs there were in India.  We passed packs of them standing on the edge of the road.  The pet lover in my had to avoid watching these poor creatures.

We arrived at our hotel and were greeted with fruit drinks – which I refused because of my fear of “Delhi  Belly”. We said good-bye to our friends and were quickly led to our room.  I didn’t think I would sleep long since I had slept on the plane but…..did not wake up until 1:30 in the afternoon!

My room was not what I had requested so I spoke with the front desk and they were quite gracious in making the change and insisting I see all available rooms before deciding.  They even insisted on sending up room service while we waited.

This is the view from our room