Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Stand for hand bags - organiser

New Year's gift from Jo
Our apartment is spacious and ideally located. One drawback it has, according to me is that there are no built-in cupboards / cabinets or wardrobes. That greatly puts pressure on the limited loose storage furniture that we have. Both Jo and I have hobbies and stuff related to them. My hand bags were using up a lot of space, and the way I was keeping them in the suitcases and bags, I could not retrieve them in time when I needed them. They were collecting fungus and smell, thus kept. 
Once I showed Jo the kind of stand I need for to hang the bags at a fair. I had forgotten all about it.
There was this stand lying around in the balcony, for years. Jo had got it made in very good quality teak wood for mosquito net. Somehow the carpenter did not understand the requirement, and made a vertical pole on a stand of cross members.
He bought the small wheels and steel hooks. We had wood polish at home. On a Sunday preceding the new year, he sand papered the stand, polished the wood, and cut off the top end by approxi. 15". Then he fixed the wheels to the base of the stand; then marked the position for the hooks, drilled holes into the vertical member, and fixed the steel hooks. Over all there are 6 hooks, at 8" intervals, in a clock wise fashion. The hook is 6" long and 1 " high. I can hang 3 to 4 bags on each hook. Finally, icing on the cake, ie. on top of the vertical member, he put a small doll made of cloth, bought from Handicrafts fair. 
Atlast I have a place for my bags and I can get to them easily, I can move the stand anywhere I want, thus the problem of smell and fungus will be greatly reduced; and I am very happy with it. 
Thanks Jo for not only fulfilling a requirement but also using the materials at home and recycling what is not used.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Veeniola - A holiday Home away from Home, Cavelossim, Goa

We wanted a holiday; and where else but to South Goa, we headed. J had been there once before and he promised me that I will like it. I packed for 4 days, thinking, if I like it, I will stay, if not, get back in 2days.
The drive to Cavelossim through the village roads is beautiful! the charming traditional old Goan houses, the creeks, the hills and the occasional glimpses of the sea. It is a paradise. I have not tired of the journey till now. 
After about an hour we reached the quaint neighbourhood of Cavelossim, and a few scattered buildings among the fields, and here stands the Holiday Home 'Veeniola'. A charming two storey guest house in blue and white. There is parking for a few cars and two wheelers inside the property. There is plenty of space for parking outside.
The first question any guest would ask is, "How far is the beach?". Well, it is half a km. as the crow flies, but 3 kms. by road. That is because there is a long strip of land belonging to Indian Navy between Veeniola and the beach. One literally goes round it. The upside is that, you may spot Peacocks (we did see two of them), porcupines, foxes, reptiles and various other wildlife in the surrounding areas, depending on the time of the day.
As you enter there is registration counter and then a spacious and comfortable lounge. Stairs leading to the first floor where maximum no. of guest rooms are located.

You will find Mr. Charles Miranda, the proprietor behind the counter most of the time, when he is not busy seeing to the running of the place and making the guest feel comfortable. He is fondly called Charlie by everyone and is a very pleasant and friendly young man. If you are interested, he had an interesting account how he happened to take care of Veeniola. While he was still in college studying Hotel management, his mother started the construction of Veeniola, as she needed to do something post retirement. Though initially started out as a 3 apartments, slowly became a guest house. Charlie says, in the beginning it was tough going; that was pre-internet days. The neighbouring resort would send their excess guests to Veeniola. Slowly word spread that it is a comfortable place and guest are looked after well, that the guests starting arriving directly. Since the explosion of internet, since the last 4 years, and having their own website, it is doing well. 
A well maintained kitchen and dining area are on the ground floor. One can chose either the semi covered seating in the verandah or under the coconut trees. Choice of alcoholic beverages is also available for those who want, in the bar. 
Though they prefer Credit or Debit cards and Indian currency (if it is cash), Veeniola accepts any other foreign currency too.
In the Lounge there is Comfortable seating with a television, magazines, newspapers and a book shelve. the first thing I did on entering is to head towards the book shelf, and select a couple of books for my self. My target was to finish them by the end of my stay. this is on top the book I took with me. Very ambitious of me, I must say!

The guest rooms are roomy ans spacious. Well ventilated. Large window and doyble doors to the balcony covered by lovely white lace curtains. The sheets and towels are all white. There was a medium sized refrigerator, a television, and a couple of plastic chairs for the balcony.
The bathroom is large and clean. There was continuous running hot water.
You can see the coconut palms from the room and in the night, one can hear the roar of the waves. Chirping of birds is a constant background music.
On the walls, you will see prints of old Goa, giving an air of quiet homely feeling.
During the monsoons, Veeniola is closed for 4 months, and that is when Charlie does his traveling. He says that Veeniola is a holiday home, and mostly long term guests stay here, those who avoid the long winters. His future plans include starting a resort in South Goa. 
We had a good time at Veeniola and the staff were courteous and helpful.
All the best to Charlie for his future plans!
If you wan to check it out, the address is:
H.no.23/A, Tamborim, Cavelossim, Salcete, Goa
e-mail: veeniola@yahoo.co.in
Tel: 0832-2744790, 91-9011062244/9822685858 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Spice man from Mapusa Market, Goa

On any friday, from morning till late evening, there is a bustling weekly fair on in Mapusa municipal market, Goa. On our previous couple of visits and experimenting with a few products and trusting sales boys, we found this seller of spices. He is Prakash K. Naik. 
He sells powdered spices and whole spices. The whole spices include red chillies of different varieties, black and green pepper corns, dry ginger, cinnamon sticks, turmeric roots, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and also some spices locally produced.
What I like about them is that they are of good quality and look very fresh. 
He stocks two varieties of powdered spices, by machine grinding and hand pounded. Different Chilli powders, spice powders for various curries, turmeric powder must be used to believe them. The best ones are his hand pounded spices. They smell heavenly.  They are more expensive than the similar ones available in super markets for obvious reasons.
We made a habit of gifting these spice mixtures to our friends and relatives or for sending them abroad.
Biryani / Pulao masala
Chicken / fish curry masala (cocnut base)
Butter chicken / tandoori chicken / fish fry masala
Xacuti masala
Dry fish / crab curry masala
Green pepper corns
Mr. Prakash Naik and his wife
Ph. no:9146398374
If you are in Goa, do drop in to his stall on any day, and he will surely be happy to make you a great cook with his whole spices and powdered spices. Or if you are else where, call him and ask if he will send the spices by parcel. I had not asked him that. He is a cheerful sort of person and gave us a good discount too. No wonder he has a lot of foreign tourists who are his regular customers!

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year's Eve celebration at Zeebop by the Sea, South Goa

It is end of December and the the one main question is where to spend the New Year's Eve, for most people. Next important question (again for most people) would be what to where for the do. As to where to go, I had only two options, to a resort in North Goa, run by a friend, and a beach shack in south Goa, which we frequent.
There are certain benefits to ageing; you know your resources and limitations, you know to separate hype and facts, and finally, you know your wants. 
Since the friend from North Goa did not come through, our dinner and celebrations at the South Goa beach shack was default venue. Life is so peaceful.... 
As to what to wear, I had designed and stitched a tunic and trouser set, ready and hanging in the wardrobe waiting to be aired... Life is so easy when you are 50+...
We sent an SMS asking them to reserve a table for two. 
31st. December came round finally and we got ready in our best and headed out to South Goa, on the NH 17. Taking a side road, and through winding village roads, and beautiful and picturesque scenery (in the night too), we reached the venue....
The restaurant is called 'Zeebop by the Sea'. It is in Utorda. There is ample parking. The entry fee / cover charges of Rs.300 seemed reasonable. The menu was ala carte. So, you pay for what you order. What can be more reasonable than that. 
Since it was Christmas and New year week, the place was lit up with myriad hanging lamps and decorations. I am sucker for decorations. They add to the festivities. The trees were lit up, there were gift boxes in made of bling.

Zeebop is a sprawling restaurant by the beach, there is no flooring, it is white soft sand. Ladies and gentlemen, wear sensible footwear. During the day, you can look at the sea and waves while dining.

There was a beautiful Manger, tall Christmas tree and self glowing reindeer inside a white picket fence.
Coming to the food, one can select the sea food displayed in the trays, from giant crabs to huge fish and jumbo lobsters... They will cook them to your specifications. What more can one ask for!
 The tables were decorated with flowers and clean crockery and cutlery. The food at Zeebop is exemplary. Even their vegetarian cuisine is really good.
 A decent bar menu to suit most palates. Since it was party time everyone had a good time!
 Since we covered the decorations, food and drink, a party is never complete without music. Goa is famous for its music, and most singers that I have heard are good. So is Mark, here belting out new and old numbers with equal panache.
The dance floor is pure white and the lights were great. there were cabanas next to the music, for those who desire to be closer to it.  He did oblige me for a couple of songs for us to shake a leg to waltz music...
 As the hunger got assuaged, a few drinks downed, the floor was packed with the dancers. Everyone seemed to have a good time.
 A tree was decked up in illuminated stars, looked totally surreal! We stepped out on to the beach for a short walk. From the beach Zeebop looked ethereal.
By the stroke of midnight, there were fireworks on the beach. A great location, by the sound of the waves, run by a good friend Sergio Dias, great food, lovely music, terrific dance floor, casual setting, firework display, courteous waiters, easy on the pocket, it is a recipe for ringing in the New year. That is what we had!

Salvadordo Mundo Church - Goa

  It was Easter and we have a ritual of going to a natural spring before sunrise and drinking the holy water from it. Since both Jo and ...