from La Professora:
Hotel Fidalgo, 18th June Road, Panaji, Goa, India
....Last night was some kind of religious (Christian) festival--which I could see from the minibus--so I hurried out as soon as I could after checking in, and wandered among the crowds, eating local sweets and chili potato chips from the street stalls, and watching people take strings of orange and white flowers and candles, up the steps to the white Catholic church at the top of a rise, with a flood lit immaculate Mary looking out over the town. They had fireworks later, but I was by that time back in my room, showering the remnants of my travels off my body, putting my swollen ankles up to recover, watching a CNN special l report on the protests in Burma and preparing to sleep.
There are of course many homages to the elephants and I am waiting for just the right little likeness to bring home to you.
I had Indian breakfast food at the hotel--tasting all sorts of little delicacies without knowing what should go with what--delicious. The newspapers could almost be from home--rising prices of property and cars; concern about water and a plan to charge more to consumers to keep it all in check; domestic violence; cricket (of course) and many political machinations that I could not decipher.
I walked around after breakfast--through fairly quiet streets as it is Sunday, taking in the rather dilapidated but still grand Portuguese architecture--reminding me a bit of Havana--the heavy tiles on the roofs, the wonderful wooden balconies and other decorative touches, the overhanging verandas to keep the streets cooler, the lush trees, the broken footpaths, the old dogs lying in the dust, people walking and riding motor bikes going about their business, the heat (though not overwhelming), the alleyways that beckon, the open windows that I crane to see through, the wooden shutters. Every one is very friendly and I feel very safe. Best of all, I found as local market--fruit and veggies, fish and meat, flowers, clothes--a Goa equivalent of Victoria Market--a crush of people getting their week's supplies.
How I wish you were here.