Danny Breslin

How it is…

Shunned

I think what I might do is write little bits about some of the places I’ve visited over the past few years, just like I have been doing with my Goan adventure. So, without any more ado, I would like to tell you a bit more about my trip to Goa, if I may.

The second week we were there the hotel started filling up but in the first week there was hardly anyone there. This was fantastic, it felt like the hotel belonged to us, our own palace. Alot of the other guests who were there were in a different part of the hotel which meant that we had one of the several swimming pools to ourselves. It also meant that we got to spend more time getting to know the staff.

One of the waiters, as I already told you was an absolute star, but he was only one of many great characters who worked there. One of the barmen had six fingers on each hand, well to be exact he had two extra thumbs. I’m not joking, they were baby sized and grew out of the knuckles of his other thumbs. I was mesmerised by them which I was embarrassed about but he found it funny.

The bar was beside the pool where we spent our days when we weren’t out with Sam the Candolim Cabbie. We’d sit and have a drink there after dinner and because there was nobody else around he would stand and chat with us. He seemed to find my broken Hindi/Urdu/Punjabi amusing and would make fun of my dreadful pronunciation. My former skills(?) with these languages were learnt at university but have been forgotten through lack of use I’m sorry to say, although to be honest there wasn’t much there for me to forget in the first place.

One evening he asked if we had been swimming in the pool. I told him we hadn’t, just lounged about in the sun beside it. “Well don’t!” Was his warning. He looked serious for once. I was intrigued and asked him why I shouldn’t swim in there. He looked at my wife and appeared embarrassed so he switched to Hindi: “White people piss in it.” Unfortunately I was just taking a sip of my beer as he told me this so he and my wife were caught in the spray. My wife waited for me to stop choking and wiping away the beer that had come down my nose, before asking me what he had said. Apparently, guests sometimes have too much to drink and cannot be bothered to go to the nearby facilities, so they just stand on the edge of the pool and do it in there. Nice eh? I’ve never swum in any hotel pool since.

I wasn’t the only Englishman visiting India that winter. The England cricket team were on tour there too. The barman told me that I could watch the match the next day in the coffee room. This was an open-sided covered area near reception with comfy seats and a large tv. The next morning I decided that I would spend some time watching the one-day game while herself caught some rays by the tainted pool. Wearing my England floppy hat (which I never travel without) I headed down there after breakfast.

Staying in the hotel at the same time as us were an Italian couple, they didn’t speak to us or we to them apart from nods as we passed. I only knew they were Italian because we overheard them talking and Marion has spent time there. They were…glamourous I suppose you’d say, not the word I’d use; he was all toned and tanned, she was all tits and teeth as my blessed grandmother used to say. Anyway, as I was walking down to watch the game this male model type came over to me and said “Do you know the way to the gym?” The cheeky bugger! My six-pack may have turned into more of a keg over the past few years but how dare he point it out? I turned around, my fists, teeth and buttocks clenched, ready to give him some good old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon advice, when I noticed he was in shorts and singlet, carrying a towel and looking like he was going to work out. Shamefaced I admitted that I had no idea where the gym was and he walked on, probably to find a mirror to admire himself in.

I reached the coffee room and switched on the tv. The cricket had already started and England were batting. A waiter came over and asked me if I wanted a drink. I ordered pineapple juice, when he had fetched it he stood watching the cricket with me. He was more knowledeable about the game than I was, that became immediately apparent. I’m not what you’d call a fan, I have only been a few times to see Warwickshire play; I’m more into football and boxing truth be told but I don’t mind watching a bit of leather against willow occasionally.

As the day wore on, the famous Indian spinners were starting to ply their trade on the England middle order and a collapse might have been on the cards but the long England tail remained resolute despite not finishing with what could be described as a great score. The hotel staff had been coming in to check the score before continuuing with their duties. We were exchanging banter about each other’s nation’s cricketing skills and I was in my element. I love arguing about sport.

I never expected India’s batsmen to play badly, or for England’s fielding to be so precise but India were not having much fun at the crease. The only bright light for them was the torch being carried by the great man himself: Sachin Tendulkar,  arguably the greatest batsman of all time after the Australian legend Don Bradman.

Cricket in India should probably count as an official religion, if that were so then Tendulkar would be the equivalent of Pope, he is so beloved by these people. I noticed while I was there that on Indian television every other advert featured him or the famous Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan. As such there is line you do not cross, that line is Sachin Tendulkar.

As it came to the last over, I seem to remember India needed a few runs to win but England needed a final wicket and Tendulkhar was the last line of defence. He was in magnificent form though, while the rest of their lineup had fallen he still stood there, swatting the ball around the ground for fun. By this time it seemed that the entire staff of the hotel were crammed in there with this solitary Englishman in his floppy hat which seemed to grow heavier, the banter was beginning to get a bit one-sided as they mocked the England bowlers’ pathetic attempts to take the Great Man’s wicket.

Then…”Tendulkar has gone!” I jumped in the air with a cheer. The game was over and as the staff trooped out without a word and faces hung like bloodhounds, I had my hand to my ear as if awaiting a reply to the question I was yelling: “Sachin who?”

That evening we went to dinner, the staff ignored me completely. When they came to our table they brought only one menu. Another came up, “What would you like to drink madam? The first again, “Are you ready to order madam?” I hadn’t told her what had gone on earlier, she hissed at me, “What have you done this time?” What did she mean “this time”?

The next day it was totally back to normal and they were their usual courteous selves, laughing and joking with me, and I had learned my lesson – say what you like to Indians about cricket but not about Sachin Tendulkar!

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October 18, 2012 - Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , , ,

16 Comments »

  1. I hate public pools! Nice post. Thanks!

    Comment by Yaz | October 18, 2012 | Reply

    • Yeah, swimming in other peoples’ waste puts me off a bit.

      Comment by Danny Breslin | October 18, 2012 | Reply

  2. This time! Ha ha!

    Comment by Clowie | October 18, 2012 | Reply

    • I know – my own wife has no faith that I can behave myself.

      Comment by Danny Breslin | October 18, 2012 | Reply

  3. I know what you mean about Sachin but still Order of Australia. I wonder…

    Comment by flyingbubbles | October 19, 2012 | Reply

  4. “all tits & teeth” hahaha what a line!! Love that Unc, keep the stories coming .

    Comment by Jamie | October 19, 2012 | Reply

  5. Two Thumbs? Tits and Teeth? Love it! Great post!!!!

    Comment by colliesofthemeadow | October 21, 2012 | Reply

    • I think the teeth were real at least.

      Comment by Danny Breslin | October 23, 2012 | Reply

  6. Super like! And what did you mean by all those antics when Tendulkar got out??? Man, you were lucky you were a guest in the hotel, else you would have a black eye for such a cardinal sin. Gosh! You were w…a…y out of line there.
    In India, when Sachin gets out, even the wives pussyfoot around the telly… no telling what the husband might do to vent his frustration/ anger.
    But we have found our perfect cricketing enemy in Australia. England is now old (floppy) hat. We love to sledge the Australians (they have taught us to do that), and we love to throw our spinners at them. 🙂

    And yes, what became of the taut and tight Italian? Still before that mirror he probably found down the hall?!

    I loved this… you wrote it with a beer in hand, eh?

    Comment by mj | April 17, 2013 | Reply

    • Cor, calm down woman! Bloody cricket, it’s not even my favourite sport. That said, I really wouldn’t refer to England as old hat; it’s one thing slapping the Aussies around, they deserve it, but England are still a step above your lads from the subcontinent and the kangaroo ticklers from down under.
      As for that Italian, I think his sunglasses were mirrored on the inside.

      Comment by Danny Breslin | April 17, 2013 | Reply

  7. I tweeted about this blogpost. 🙂

    Comment by mj | April 17, 2013 | Reply

    • Awww, really? Thanks MJ my new bestest pal in the whole wide world – luv u!!!!!

      Comment by Danny Breslin | April 17, 2013 | Reply

      • Do you have a Twitter handle? People do follow the links back to the blog…

        Comment by mj | April 18, 2013

  8. On twitter it is @SaysBreslin I think.

    Comment by Danny Breslin | April 18, 2013 | Reply


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