Even as we drive the short distance from the airport to Bogmalo I can feel myself relaxing. Memories of the last visit here are enough to do that. Within ten minutes, unpacked and sipping a cup of nice hot tea, made by Mrs Rodrigue the landlady, and I am now all ready to forget the world beyond the village.
The pigs wander in the scrubby back yard, and the chickens are running around.A pleasant smell of dry burning coconut shells scents the air and wisps of smoke creep over the red tiled huts.As dusk gathers, I can see the toddy tappers perched high in the surrounding coconut trees gathering the day's yield in their black pots.Some are already nimbly climbing down and wending their way along the darkening village road to fill the large vat at the local toddy maker.
Everything is winding down from slow to slower and I am already looking forward to dinner at John's, a shack on the beach where the owner, John, of course, has become famous for his food among the locals on this side of Goa.
People come all the way from Vasco for both lunch and dinner and he remains a firm favourite with many regulars.Sitting out at small tables placed on the sand, many of the clients are Goan families, or are groups of people from local offices out for the evening.
It is not too hot right now and a cool breeze comes in from the sea. Groups of people are still wandering on the beach in the dark and kids are playing .You know you are in Goa when you see kids playing, not cricket, but football. This seems to come with their Portuguese history and young people follow Real Madrid with a passion usually reserved, in the rest of India, for Tendulkar and Co.
It is Karaoke night at Johns and strains of the Eagles, Abba and many '70's tunes fill the air.We sit down and ordered the usual....ice cold Kingfisher beer and Chilli Calamari . The service is leisurely and we have a slow and super dinner.
Here is a recipe for Chilli Calamari.
2 small squid about 8" long, cleaned and washed.
5 dried red chillies
12 cloves of garlic finely chopped.
3 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil.
Slice the squid into circles of about 1/2 thick. Heat the oil and fry the red chillies and garlic till light brown. Add squid and saute for about 7 minutes till opaque. Add salt and pepper to taste. This tastes wonderful with cold beer on a hot day.