Tourists don't know where they've been, travellers don't know where they're going.

Paul Theroux

View From a Fish Tank 🇮🇳

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We checked in, and obviously the porters picked up our bags.

But not to carry them to the room. They took them to a stretch golf cart, and asked us to take a seat. We assumed we had a trip to the outer reaches of the hotel, but around the back of reception and we stopped less than one hundred meters walk from where we started. If we needed another lift, they were available any time, a call to reception would have one on it’s way. Later, we actually saw a family take the cart from just outside our room to breakfast. They really could have used the exercise…

One of the things that strikes you sometimes when you move between cities and countries is the stark contrasts in climate, wealth, architecture etc. This can also be true of the accommodation that you stay in and consequently the experience you have in the towns and areas in which they are situated.

If you’ve read our Boulder City post, you’ll already know about the Gopi Guest House. Very basic room, even more basic bathroom and with a fan on the ceiling distributing the hot humid air, it had the atmosphere of the inside of a fan oven.

But the food was delicious. Freshly cooked and dirt cheap, and served up by friendly staff who were helpful and happy to tell us of their lives and their families.

Plonked down in the middle of Hampi, just behind the bazaar and only a couple of hundred meters away from the main temple it was at the heart of life in Hampi. And there was no hiding from it. From the lads outside selling guide books, the rickshaw touts, the monkeys stealing food from bags (our bag!!!) on the roof terrace to the cows and goats wandering the streets and paths around, we experienced it all.

Our parting taste was a night time rickshaw ride (courtesy of Ram) back to Hosapete train station, via the chaos of Hosapete’s Main Street to visit an ATM. When I came out, the rickshaw had gone and I had to ‘go native’ and run up the street dodging traffic to jump back in as they did a u-turn in the road.

At the station, the train arrived just as we strolled onto the platform, and we jumped on for our overnight, luxury (lol) extravaganza to Madgaon in Goa.

After a fifteen kilometre ride to Cavelossim, we arrived at the Radisson Blu. Our new home for the next three days.

As the guards opened the gates to let us in, we sensed the difference from our last accommodation. I think the lack of goats to drive through gave it away. The Reception was a large open area, resembling a small train station, and open at either end. The floor, wall to wall marble, shone. But there was still a man continuing to sweep and shine it. I think he may have been following us around, clearing up the dust and sand we were leaving behind us.

We checked in, and obviously the porters picked up our bags.

But not to carry them to the room. They took them to a stretch golf cart, and asked us to take a seat. We assumed we had a trip to the outer reaches of the hotel, but we drove briskly around the back of reception and stopped less than one hundred meters walk from where we started. If we needed another lift, they were available any time, a call to reception would have a golf cart on it’s way. Later, we actually saw a family take the cart from just outside our room to breakfast. They really could (should?) have used the exercise…

The room was like walking into a fridge. Fortunately. Whilst it was hot in Hampi, it was hot and humid in Goa.

Our view was of a small estate of brightly coloured flats/bungalows set in beautifully kept lawns and gardens. The lawns were swept (yes swept, with handmade brushes) and the hedges neatly clipped. Frangipani flowers (also picked every morning by the staff for the ladies’ hair as they go for breakfast) left a scent hanging in the air.

Sitting in the air conditioned room, gazing down on suburbia, we could have been almost anywhere.


The food was excellent, the staff courteous and almost deferential, the beach lovely (long and deserted) and the Internet fast (although the electricity was prone to power cuts).

But coming from Hampi, to me it all seemed a bit artificial.

Instead of stepping out into the cauldron of life, we peered out at a sanitised version of it through the toughened glass of a fish tank.

The Radisson was a fine hotel, spotlessly clean with great service. Each place has its own merits, its own fans and its own place. I enjoyed them both in very different ways, but for me the Gopi will stay in my memory far longer than the Radisson…

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