With the big picture of India often so overwhelming, the tiny beauties are often overlooked.
Here are some of our most memorable moments while travelling in India!
The kids got to do many things that were on their India bucket list during our Goa trip. The first and the biggest was parasailing! Kaden was wanting to go parasailing from the moment she learned about Goa. I didn’t think that kids could go, but I was wrong. The parasailers in front of the Taj were three times the going rate at Baga Beach. But I am getting better at bargaining. And double the price was worth it to go up in the air far away from any other boats. It was a place of controlled chaos in Baga with jet skis, parasailers, and banana boats zig zagging around one another with few rules!
Yes, that is Kaden and I tethered together way up in the sky! It was remarkably peaceful up there and not scary at all. Coming back down they let our legs take one dip in the water and then we safely landed on the boat.
Here we are coming back in!
The kids also were wanting to get henna tattoes while in India and they got some great ones in Goa. In fact, 5 days later, they still look as dark as they did on the first day! And the kids got to let them dry as they chilled in the kids’ activity center and watched the Smurfs movie!
Kaden has always wanted her hair wrapped–especially since her friend Lauren returned from the Caribbean. She got her wish at the Taj in Goa. She is very pleased!
Kaden and I also got our toes painted with some fancy Indian sparkles! Mine had a little orange sparkly flower on the big toe and little orange dots on the other toes. Kaden had sparkles on the big toe.
Lastly, the kids got to taste coconut water right out of a coconut! A much better showing than the coconut attempt back at home last week!
As for me, I got a lovely massage at the spa, including a foot bath filled with rose petals and a detoxing lemon ginger drink when I was finished. Now that’s a vacation!
We have seen some beautiful Banyan trees, and especially on the Taj property Goa. The Banyan tree is the National Tree of India and actually is a fig tree. As the trees get really old, they develop aerial prop roots that grow into their own woody trunks such that on really big trees it can be hard to tell where the tree begins and where it ends.
Many rural villages in India have a banyan tree as a focal point for relaxing, chatting, having chair, and often a bus stop is there. Often a small deity is present at the base of the tree. The trees are breathtakingly beautiful. They remind me of the big redwoods in California in that they make you feel so small. And that I don’t think photos really capture just how giant they feel!
Not surprisingly, Banyan trees have spiritual significance. Buddha was said to have found enlightenment while meditating under a Banyan tree. The leaf of the banyan tree is said to be the resting place for the God Krishna. After consuming all the universe during the time of destruction, Krishna absorbs everything created and turns himself to a child small enough to fit into the tiny leaf of the banyan tree, until Krishna decides to recreate everything back out from him.
The kids had a blast swinging at the biggest banyan tree on the property. The limbs were so high that the ropes of the swing were super long, making for a long and thrilling ride. Kaden said it reminded her of the pirate ship ride at Del Grosso’s park.
On our way out of town this weekend, we stopped to see theDoda Alada Mara (translated as the Big Banyan Tree, located in the village of Ramohalli. The single plant covers three acres and is one of the largest in the world, rumored to be over 400 years old.
Even cooler for the kids–they counted 31 monkeys living in this tree!
Plus two more monkeys is 33!
little girl in front of the Shiva temple located at the center of the tree
On Saturday night, Mom, Janet and I set out to do some serious shopping at Goa’s famous Night Market. It is only open once a week and is MASSIVE. It took us over an hour to get there because it seemed that the entire state was heading to the market. It turned out to be not the greatest shopping–poor quality stuff for the most part. I did buy a hammock and a shirt, but nothing of quality.
But what a scene! Goan is known for its hippy culture and it was in full force at the market. Thousands of people were there. Live music and rave music were happening from each corner. Bars were serving stiff drinks. Ganga smell was in the air. The whole back side of the market was food, food, food (but I wasn’t going to trust any of it). It was a T
The rest of the photos are views from our shuttle as we were heading to and from the airport. Goa is a very small state in India. It was kept separate because it was previously a Portuguese colony and has a very distinctive culture and tradition compared to other regions of India. You can see the influence in the many mission style Catholic churches in the area. You can also see it in the food–lots more meat in the cooking here in Goa and also a different set of spices.
Carson is always happy to see a cricket game!
One of the churches, and there’s that guy with his crazy cow again!
Another big church in the country side.
On our first full day, we headed out in cars to Baga Beach, one of the most famous beaches in the world and a very popular beach with the locals. On the way, Todd and Carson stopped to buy boogey boards. They found this man with a very decorated cow as Todd was bargaining with the shopkeeper.
We started our time at Baga Beach with some lunch at one of the biggest beach shacks and Ran’s favorite–Britto’s. They had fabulous looking lobsters, tiger prawns, and more.
You can see in the photo below how the shacks line the beach. They had shacks along the beach back by our hotel as well. They set up chairs in front of the shacks and then as long as you buy some food/drinks, you can sit all day.
The kids had a blast riding the waves. They were the only people on this crowded beach riding boogie boards, but they didn’t seem to mind!
To make the most of the time during which Todd, Kinjal and Janet were here at the same time, we planned a family trip to Goa–one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
To get to Goa, we had to take an hour long flight. I snapped this photo as we were entering the airport. All of these folks for the most part are drivers or someone picking up someone. The photo definitely highlights the common dress here for drivers and for most working men of any strip–a white button down shirt and dark pants!
Carson and Daddy LOVED studying the airplanes together. Todd made use of his aerospace engineering degree describing to Carson how the planes take off and land, why the wings are shaped the way they are. They studied the diagrams in the magazine. They took careful notes outside the window. I on the other hand took a nap. I was up until the wee hours getting everyone packed for this adventure!
here is a photo of our entourage all tanned in the front lobby. We stayed at the Taj Holiday Village–a gorgeous resort right on the Arabian Sea. My parents have been to this resort twice before, and Derek the guest manager has become a good friend. We had some fun extra touches as a result like a delicious chocolate cake on arrival. Also when Kinjal got sick during the trip (the Dehli Belly strikes the first one of us!), Derek arranged a doctor to arrive quickly and the hotel staff even brought a get well basket to their room. The house call plus all medications came to just $20!
Here is a photo of our cottages. Janet and Kinj had one right behind our two.
This view is perhaps one of Ran’s favorite places on the world–a table at the edge of the deck at the main restaurant. Ran would spend most of the day here chatting with waiters and sipping coffee
The kids loved this room the best–the Jungle Jam, which catered to the younger crowd. As in, the served PB and J, french fries, smoothies and fried shrimp all day long! Plus the kiddos could play their favorite game of Carroum while waiting for their food! We even needed to get a “to-go” order for the shuttle ride back to the airport on the last day!
The kids had fun poolside, and especially with Daddy. Here, being the techie family that we are, the three of them were all playing a game together by connecting all of the devices using Bluetooh. I don’t really understand it, but they LOVE doing it.
While some fancy hotels give you towels that look like swans, here they give you a towel that looks like Ganesh! How can you tell it’s just not an ordinary elephant? The special placing of the little dots of flowers.
The kids loved scrambling among the tide pools on these rocks. Carson loved finding the crabs and Kaden liked to stick her fingers into the sea anenomes and feel them close.
The beach was just down the stair case and it was a beauty. Very flat, which made for good running for me in the morning. Although I did get chased by a dog. That was scary! The dog came running right at me barking. I froze and panicked for a minute, then I channeled my inner Papa Joe, turned and faced the dog and growled in a loud deep voice, “Get out of here!” And to my surprise, the dog turned on its heels and ran away quickly. I then noticed that all of the Indians out in the early morning were carrying sticks. So I quickly found one and ran with a stick the rest of the time!