Monday, May 01, 2006

stoner story 7 - The family vacation

Got back last night from an extended vacation with Aunt from America (AFA), cousin Lulu and latter's husband Fez. This being the first time Fez was meeting the desi brigade.
The plan was to head to Goa for a few days in the sun..maybe a few trips to visit distant relatives too. At least that 's what I thought it was.
The first day we land in Goa, we're off to the Mapsa market for shopping. The first thing I've always done when I arrive in Goa is to grab a nice, cold bottle of Kings brew. AFA is not much of a beer drinker while Lulu and Fez don't drink at all.
Evidently this was going to be a different vacation.
I'm always up for a different experience, so gallivanting around Mapsa looking for gold chains and toilet paper was a change from the ordinary.
A sweet deal with Baba ensured I had shit to smoke anyway, so that was sorted.

The first night packed in quite early, seeing as we were all pretty exhausted. We were staying at this boutique hotel called the Casa de Goa in Calangute. Nice place..a bit far from the beach, but two pools and we got adjoining for suites for 9 grand a day together, which is not bad.

Fez is actually from Goa too..from up north in Ashvem (where the Boom Shacks are). So the next day, we packed into the car with Diego the Driver and headed up. First stop: Vagator for some photographs, then up to Ashvem to meet Fez's uncle and check out his ancestral pad. Also stopped by a graveyard to check on his grandparents before heading south to Porvorim and the Menezes.
D Menezes is Dad's (and so, also AFA's since Dad is AFA's brother) cousin and his wife Terror is quite the character. Since this was the first time she's meeting Lulu and Fez, she insisted on giving a wedding present and badgered Lulu to choose between a 'selection' of tablecloths.
When Lulu is finally harassed into chosing a random tablecloth, Terror says with obvious sorrow, "Oh, I had bought that for myself, but you can take it now." Although we'd had a light breakfast before leaving the hotel, we were quite starved but AFA was adamant on not lunching at the Menezes'. After extricating ourselves from Terror's loud presence, we drove up to O Coqueiro's for prawn raechado, mutton xacuti, sorpotel and some fucking good beef chilly fry.
Next stop: The Bom Jesu cathedral in Old Goa for a typically sightseeing trip before heading across the Mandovi river by ferry to check out my ancestral place on the island of Divar. '
The barrage began at Vigilante's house. She's D Menezes' sister and is also supossed to be taking care of our place. Like really now.
Vigilante married her own first cousin and so her daughters Ann and Aggie do you say it?... special people.
I got into this routine where we'd drop in, hug, sit down, look at photographs, try to comprehend rapid fire Konkani, eat a piece of cake, drink some arbitrary soft drink, get up with the excuse of not-enough-time-too-many-visits-left, take a mandatory group picture, hug again and leave.
From Vigilante's place, we headed to T Menezes' place (T's D's brother) followed by Ann escorting us to our house to open the doors. Place is still the same..half way through renovation with gray plastered walls, no electricty and overgrown shrubbery.
Some more pictures and we got back in the car to meet relatives I didn't know existed and have hence completely forgotten their names as I write this.

By now I'm exhausted.
Both from the incessant travelling and the strain of the plastic smile.
But we still have to visit the church on the island (built between 1590 and 1597..somthing I didn't know), say hello to the priest, stop by some friend of AFA's and another chap's place who is someone Darwin would be interested in. Then there was also P&N's place as AFA's hubby, Pedro's place to visit as well. Pedro didn't make this trip because of work, staying back in the States with Arturio and Beck (the son and daughter-in-law).
Pedro's house is on the same island, but the other side. So we had to get back to the mainland, take a u-turn, drive back to the jetty 2km behind us and cross the river again.
My feet were killing me, I desperately wanted a beer and get my ass on some nice soft sand to watch the sun sink into the Arabian. Lulu and Fez felt the same way too, but this trip was pretty much AFA's way or the highway so on we went to Mallara and Pedro's house.

It was pitch dark when we got there..kinda defeating the purpose since AFA didn't want to meet Pedro's relative and only shoot pictures from outside.
FINALLY...just when we thought we'd be heading back to Calangute, we had to go to Panjim to see some long-lost aunt who I'd never heard of before that evening.
No beer, no smoke and no rest were starting to piss the fuck out of me but considering I was staying with these people, I went along. The long-lost aunt we went out of the way to see...wasn't home and whoever was home refused to answer the door and phone either.
Don't why we didn't just call before driving all the way. Diego the Driver didn't seem to mind, considering we'd just taken care of a week's wages in a day.

At the hotel, we nibbled a tired dinner before I convinced the others that a walk to the beach would be worth their while. Which is what Fez and Lulu had been wanting to do anyway.
A short walk down, we sat on the emptier side of Calangute watching the waves crash into the sand with a bottle of urrack, white wine and a spliff for me.
Back at the hotel, AFA and Lulu passed out while Fez and self proceeded to attack the mini-bar in true Goan style. One beer each, followed by a Bacardi minature and Coke (each), a breezer (each), a vodka and Sprite (each) and a whisky+soda (each) and I finally get to the Goa I know.

Within 15 minutes, we were in the pool. Floating around, happily drunk, surrounded by swaying palm trees, with a million constellations filling the cool night air. The highlight of this particular trip. The guard came to stare at us for a bit since the pool officially closed at 7.30pm and it was close to midnight. But he must have figured out that we weren't going to drown and we weren't making a nuisance either so he went back to sleep.

The wierd bit of meeting disconnected relatives is that although you know they're related to you and you should be behaving a particular way, they're still complete fucking strangers. Although my aunt is clued in to what the family is upto in general, I have no fucking idea who is married to whom, who died, who moved to Australia, who had twin boys, etc etc etc.
Frankly I dont really care. The only family I bother about keeping somewhat in touch with is my parents and their immediate families (Considering my Dad has three sisters and my Mum has two brothers and two sisters, that's a lot of family already). The rest just seem like so much extra baggage.

Moral of the story: Never go on someone else's vacation


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