Danny Breslin

How it is…

Heaven

We signed up for a couple of little excursions while we were in Goa. We are quite picky about our excursions because sometimes they can work out less expensive if you make your own way with a knowledgable taxi driver like our friend Sam, but these looked good so we signed up. The first was a stay on a private beach and the second was a trip up the coast on a yacht. The story about the yacht can wait but I’ll tell you about the beach.

To get to this beach we were picked up outside our hotel by a small coach. There were only two other couples on there so I was quite pleased: I can’t stand crowds unless it’s at a football match. There was a middle-aged couple from up north, probably Manchester judging by their accents, who looked like they were doing a second honeymoon thing; and a bloke from London with his Italian boyfriend. The London guy was ok, quite chatty but his other half didn’t say alot. The northerners just smiled and nodded but basically only had time for each other.

The journey was long as we were headed from north to south Goa. The road was bumpy, fellow drivers didn’t pay alot of attention to which side of the road they should be on and we were held up more than once by cows practicing being holy in the middle of the road. I offered the opinion that they would be just as holy on the footpath.

When we got there we had to walk down a narrow path that was quite treacherous in places. Marion isn’t big on treacherous paths, having no faith in her own balance. It didn’t bother me because I’ve been unbalanced since birth and I bounded down there. I boasted I was like a mountain goat, Marion shot me down by commenting I was more of an old goat.

The beach itself was pristine. Our accomodation consisted of tents that were equipped with showers, flush toilets (thank God), beds and wardrobes. There was a bar and small restaurant on the beach for our exclusive use. Best of all there were hammocks stretched between coconut palms where we could lie in the shade.

It was mid-morning, I told herself that I was going for a walk down the beach and I’d be back before lunch. So, in the tradition of all great explorers I set off with a hearty smile, best foot forward and all that.

To my right the sea was a deep blue in the hot Indian sunshine, it was a beautiful day and no clouds were to be seen in the sky. To my left cliffs soared with trees lining the top as if they were there for the view. There were small fishing boats pulled up on the beach, not alot bigger than canoes. Next to them a very old man was mending a net. As I approached he smiled and waved. I greeted him “Namaste papaji.” He smiled back at me and returned my salutation. I stopped for a minute and spoke to the man. His English wasn’t great so I was confused when he asked me something that sounded like “Do you like monkeys?” I must admit, all the places I’ve been and all people I have met, this was the first and only time anyone has ever asked if I like monkeys. I mean, how do you answer such a question? I took an involuntary step back, was this a trick of some kind? Was he some kind of pervert who was attempting to recruit me into a sordid ring of monkey groomers? Was he trying to sell me a monkey? Would I have to go down the red channel at customs: anything to declare? Well yeah, there was one thing. The only reply I could find for this now sinister old man was: “…er…yeah, they’re ok…” He turned and pointed to the cliff top and sure enough there were monkeys up there; some running about, others looking down at us, regarding us with some curiosity, probably wondering why we were pointing at them. I laughed and, after wishing him well, walked on. The monkeys kept pace with me from the top of the cliff.

I reached the end of the bottom of the cliff face and looked to my left to see what it had been replaced with. Friends, I am not often lost for words, I’m not an emotional person and it takes alot to impress me; but what greeted these eyes knocked the wind clean out of my sails.

Before me was the artists’ impression of what heaven might look like. It was like a movie backdrop that you know isn’t real because nowhere on earth could be that beautiful, that serene. It was a glade full of palm trees shading a clear stream that reached out towards the ocean. I can’t really describe it, I haven’t the vocabulary to do it justice. I don’t think I will even try. Just close your eyes and imagine the most fantastic setting possible and then multiply it by 1000; then, maybe, you might be getting close.

I stood rooted to the spot for I don’t know how long, just staring, taking it all in. Then turned and headed back as quick as my legs could carry me tracked all the way by monkeys. I found her under a tree reading one of those dreadful paperbacks she rots her brain with. “You’ve got to come, you’ve got to see this. I’m not sure it’s real, I need you to check.” I wasn’t making much sense but she must be used to that by now. I took her back the way I had come. The old man of the sea was gone. Maybe he wasn’t real in the first place, maybe he was a ghost of an ancient mariner, maybe he’d gone to catch a monkey to sell to a tourist, maybe he’d gone for his lunch.

We reached the end of the cliff, I was starting to worry that I’d imagined it all and this little bit of heaven didn’t exist at all. I closed my eyes just in case. Marion’s sharp intake of breath told me that I hadn’t imagined it, either that or she’d just trod on a crab.

After lunch I spent the afternoon in a hammock reading a Jeffrey Deaver novel. Maybe this wasn’t the place to be reading about serial killers but it didn’t matter. I was only disturbed by an effeminate waiter bringing me some pineapple juice.

That evening they built a fire on the beach and after dinner and during a few beers we sat around it. A couple of local lads turned up with guitars and announced they would sing some Konkani songs. It sounded like they said they were going to sing Cockney songs, I said “What like ‘Knees Up Mother Brown’? The chap from London found that funny but Marion was less that amused and poked me painfully in the kidney. The Italian looked nonplussed and the northeren couple didn’t notice as they were staring into each others eyes like a couple of lovesick teenagers; it was me that was going to be sick if they kept that up!

After a while of listening to the Goan Simon and Garfunkel crooning songs that we didn’t understand, Marion said she was turning in. I said I’d be there in a bit as I was still drinking. The others drifted away and I sat there until my last glass sat empty and the singing had stopped. I walked back to my tent past the Italian who was lying in one of the hammocks and being swung back and forth by the effeminate waiter!

The next morning I was a little hungover and after sharing the shower with a small lizard I decided that i didn’t want to go out on a boat to look at dolphins. I don’t know why people make such a fuss about dolphins, “oh but they’re so intelligent” – cobblers! Seems to me that jumping through a hoop for a fish hardly makes them eligible for membership of Mensa.

I had breakfast which livened me up and then took to my hammock again. Ahh, peace.

On the journey back the two northerners continued to stare at each other rather than at the scenery that we passed but it was less rosy in the garden of the two lads who sat in seats seperated by the aisle and a stoney silence.

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October 25, 2012 - Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , ,

20 Comments »

  1. Unbalanced since birth!!?😀😀

    Comment by flyingbubbles | October 25, 2012 | Reply

  2. Forgot to say, loved the last para and dolphins are very cute..

    Comment by flyingbubbles | October 25, 2012 | Reply

    • I knew it! You can say what you like but as soon as you mention dolphins people go wild! All dolphins do is chase boats and everyone thinks that’s intelligent, one of my dogs Alfie likes to chase cars which to me seems pretty stupid – what’s the difference? ; ) lol Glad you liked the post though mate.

      Comment by Danny Breslin | October 25, 2012 | Reply

      • Keep the good work going and let us know about the book launch soon.

        Comment by flyingbubbles | October 26, 2012

      • I have to finish it yet, I’ll do my best.

        Comment by Danny Breslin | October 27, 2012

  3. Lovely descriptions, I can almost imagine it all – except for the heaven part. That sounds like something you just have to see for yourself, and I’m sorely tempted…

    Comment by Audrey | October 25, 2012 | Reply

    • Audrey my friend, if we ever go back we’ll take you with us.

      Comment by Danny Breslin | October 25, 2012 | Reply

      • Oh please do! I’ve been yearning to go to India since I was 16.

        Comment by Audrey | October 25, 2012

  4. Lovely story, Danny. You make Goa sound wonderful. Cross about the dolphin remarks, though…they really are sooooo beautiful and terribly intelligent!!! Go online and check them out, then come back and make a public apology to the dolphins! Still waiting for the first instalment of your Himalayas trip. Thanks for an enjoyable read.

    Comment by Yaz | October 25, 2012 | Reply

    • You are so correct about dolphinsYaz.

      Comment by flyingbubbles | October 26, 2012 | Reply

    • I’ve had a look Yaz, they’re worse than I thought! Goa is a special place, if you get the chance you should visit. The Himalayan trip is in the book, I don’t want to spoil it just yet – be patient! I’m thinking of giving away the book for free to my regular readers so watch this space.

      Comment by Danny Breslin | October 27, 2012 | Reply

  5. It seems like very nice trip and good time… I love Goa, and like to go there once… Like your descriptions.

    Comment by Good Deed | October 26, 2012 | Reply

    • Yeah it was pretty good. I’d urge anyone who can go to do so. It’s a great place to visit.

      Comment by Danny Breslin | October 27, 2012 | Reply

  6. Beautifully written. Really enjoyed reading this story.

    Comment by Katie | October 26, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks Katie, that’s really kind of you to say. I’m glad you enjoyed it, makes it worthwhile.

      Comment by Danny Breslin | October 27, 2012 | Reply

  7. great story of a fun trip! Keep up the great posts! 🙂

    Comment by colliesofthemeadow | November 7, 2012 | Reply

  8. You do love India… right? It shows up in your writing. And you were rewarded by getting your slice of heaven.
    As for the cows, you have to understand that they own the road as much as the traffic and potholes. In India, we are democratic with our resources, across the board.
    I love how you show up India. 🙂

    Comment by mj | April 18, 2013 | Reply

  9. I have limited experience in the country because I was only visiting a small part of it and there is so much more to explore. Yet what I saw, and the people I met were experiences that I will always treasure and carry with me. By the way, my great grandmother was born in Jalandhar, Punjab.

    Comment by Danny Breslin | April 20, 2013 | Reply


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