A taste of India
Early morning and the sun begins to slowly rise above a skyline of sloping red-tiled roofs, white-washed churches and a lush hillside of billowing palms in Goa’s capital, Panaji (Panjim). Tucked away between Ourem Creek and Altinho Hill are the old residential quarters of Fontainhas and Sao Tomé – an old-world precinct characterized by a rabbit warren of winding alleys and a jumble of colourfully painted mansions.
Panaji has a completely different feel from any other Indian city, and evidence of the 450 years of Portuguese rule is still apparent in the narrow streets lined with small stores and bars, some of which still sport the original Portuguese signs above the doorway. Many of the houses retain their traditional coat of ochre, pale yellow, blue or green paint. There is a suggestion of being transported to a similar enclave in Central America or the Caribbean – rather like an Indian version of Havana.
There’s the muted rattle of a bolt and lock being dislodged, as a shopkeeper opens up his grocery store to start trading for the day. A woman in an orange sari balancing a wicker basket on her head walks past a brilliant blue wall. Children chatter and giggle on the way to school and in the distance bread boys sound their bicycle horns as they deliver soft-wheat-flour bread rolls to villagers.
Leave a Reply