Thursday, February 9, 2012

Goa Comings And Goings

After overnighting at the Hilton Janakpuri, and despite the last-minute complication of discovering Kathy's wallet had been stolen, the five of us managed to make it to DEL in reasonable time to catch our Jet Airways flight to Goa, connecting through Mumbai (BOM).

We had previously flown Jet from Delhi to Jaipur, and would return to DEL in a few days. Jet was our third choice after Air India and Kingfisher. However, since both of those airlines were experiencing significant labor problems to the point of canceling flights, we were quite happy we chose Jet and would again. Competitive prices, decent service, free meals on the longer flights, and clean and (reasonably) comfortable planes added up to good travel experiences. All in all, the product puts US domestic carriers to shame.

On the way, we had to re-clear security at BOM and that was quite unpleasant, especially as we were still highly concerned (okay, a bit traumatized) at the theft of Kathy's wallet. At Indian security check points, men and women go into separate lines and women are searched in privacy in little curtained booths. Accordingly, the ladies in particular can't keep an eye on their belongings as they travel on the conveyor belt through the X-Ray.

Before they could be searched, Elly and Haley were made to return to the Jet counter at some distance away as the boarding passes they presented were not deemed acceptable to the security employees until they were stamped by Jet employees.

They also demanded new baggage tags (which they stamp) and an employee dramtically ripped the tag off our computer/electronics bag and placed it on the floor, leaving Brian wondering if he would stand there all day. Eventually the employee simply placed a new tag on the bag and stamped it, Ellyn and Haley returned with the passes newly stamped by a bored employee who hadn't bothered to look at them, and we were off to Goa. What a relief to find out on our return that we simply walked from one plane to another and didn't have to go through all this again. That was the one check point in all of our travels in India that made the TSA look good.

It was a pleasantly warm day when we landed at GOI (Dabolim Airport) after our brief flight, and a driver arranged by our hosts at Vivenda dos Palhacos (House of Clowns)was there to greet us. We'd reserved this property after reading the glowing reviews on Trip Advisor and we weren't disappointed.

Even as we drove in from the airport we noticed the cleanliness and beauty of the surroundings. As we gazed out the car window on the four-lane expressway we could imagine ourselves in Florida, the Caribbean, or maybe Southern California. No wonder so many people, both Indians and foreigners, recommended we visit Goa.

Vivenda dos Palhacos is located up an inauspicious little lane, but the welcome was warm, the brother-and-sister hosts were charming, and we enjoyed the ambience of the property, including the whimsical running chicken sculpture.

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