Monday, December 24, 2012

Like a bird on a wire ...

 Well, yes, I do. And there's not much to do by the sea quite frankly (apart from sit, read and wait for sunset!) so the quest for those hard-to-get bird shots takes up some parts of the day. There are lots of bee-eaters up on the wires around the village and they sit quite amenably while I zoom, frame and shoot.  The crock of gold is to catch them when they set off in a wheeling mazy flight to catch an insect they've spotted, when their silhouette is very characteristic. No luck so far.

I've still to see a hoopoe and only a possibly glimpse of another favourite the Indian roller.  There's more chance of seeing both if/when I get to Tamil Nadu. Meantime I have to content myself with these lovely green, blue and tan birds and hosts of little waders (never so hot on wader ID but they look familiar from Holkham beach.  They seem less nervy now than they were 7 years ago when Agonda was a rather different place. They have had to get used to humans and learn to co-exist.

And then, of course, there are the kingfishers, often gone in a flash but some clearly more into posing. Look at that beak: who'd want to be kingfissured by that?

Anyway, to the business... Not much to report on the beachcombing front so I thought I would add a bit of exploration. So today I had another mad cycling expedition. I've been trying to train myself not to pass opportunities by and regret them later: I'm now into the phase of passing them by but turning back in time. Two examples today: first one was seeing a nice looking bike (but still no gears!) and walking on by but then returning, arranging and cycling off.  [I had intended to hire a bike but hadn't come across one.] I soon realised why nearly everyone hires scooters round here: it's the hills! The direction I took (north towards Cabo da Rama - some hint there: capes are usually ridges sticking out to sea) started manageably enough, with a climb and then a flat bit and then a freewheel wheeee but then the climb began and went on and on and on. Some parts I cycled, standing on the pedals but a lot I pushed. I refused to believe that it could go on so long and just wouldn't turn back Eventually I got to the top of the ridge and was rewarded with (a) a good view of the ocean and (b) the longest downhill wheee for quite a while.  

Nearing home, my water bottle fell off in the road and as I was retrieving it some kids called out and I did the usual hello-hello stuff and vaguely noticed something hanging half-hidden on the front of the shack they lived in announcing "Massage and Yoga Centre" - but it seemed distinctly unlikely - I thought it was some discarded material they'd used to weather-proof the shack.  Anyway a little way down the road I thought of the trouble my shoulder has been giving me and then "oh why not try it?" so for the second time today I looped around and went back. I asked the man who appeared with the children if it really was their sign and he said yes and proceeded to get out some oil and get to work on the offending shoulder.  He certainly knew what he was about and seems to have done more good (for a pittance by UK standards) than I get at 30 times the cost from my osteopath in the UK - I might even go back for seconds if I can find the place again!  After lunch, I chose a more sensible route along the relatively level coast road south to the more popular beaches of Palolem and Patnem. It was a much more pleasant ride, with the sun losing some of its strength and the road mainly favourable.  On a bike you do get a feel of the countryside you pass through that you don’t on faster transport.  My conclusion re P & P: if I had any doubts that I was better off at Agonda, they were quickly laid to rest.  Although I could at a push cope with Patnem,  Palolem is a full-on beach resort with crowds to match. After a bit of experience of how the other 90% live, I gratefully turned for home.

At the guesthouse they've built a full-on nativity scene, with the figures and all, and terrain - hills behind for the sheep - plus lots of lights and - a local touch - a scattering of seeds on the earthen parts with the idea that they should be grass-like by Twelfth Night. I won't be here to see but I do look forward to a Goan Christmas tomorrow.

A Merry Christmas to anyone out there still reading.  Have a good one!


Anonymous Liz said...

Still reading? Of course we are! Have a good Christmas and keep sending those lovely pictures. You are only missing rain and more rain! May the seeds germinate by 12th Night.

Mon Dec 24, 07:54:00 pm GMT  
Blogger Johanna Stirling said...

Yes, I'm still reading and enjoying too. Thank you. And just wanted to wish you a very happy Goan Christmas. Take great care, Johanna xx

Mon Dec 24, 08:19:00 pm GMT  

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