Thursday, January 24, 2019

Goa and Chennai

We'd planned on visiting Goa in February of 2018 but as we'd both come down with Flu we had to cancel the holiday, the first time in fact we have done so.  Looking ahead to my 'big birthday' we decided therefore to try again, booking a hotel near Fort Aguada from December 23rd to January 2nd.   This way we'd be able to fly to Chennai to meet-up with a friend and former work colleague there before journeying on to Sri Lanka for my birthday proper.

We arrived a little weary but having enjoyed the trip and settled in to our room in the resort.   That evening we went to watch the sunset.  The sun doesn't actually set conventionally, there's too much air pollution so it sets about 15 minutes early by disappearing behind the murk.

While we stayed in Goa we spent a good amount of time birding around the resort and it's sister property, seeing a number of interesting things including this Common Jezebel, nectaring:

A Shikra eating an Oriental Magpie-Robin:

A White-throated Kingfisher favoured one side of the gardens and was pretty much always thereabouts:

Alexandrine Parakeets flew in noisily to feed:

Asian Koels were one of the regular morning birds around our room:

Indian Peafowl, fully wild birds, wandered through the grounds too:

As you can see there were a good number of birds around the resort and that kept us entertained during our slightly longer than perhaps it should have been stay.

I tried a few different photography compositions beyond the wildlife during the stay:

We also booked a day birding trip with Reuben from Goa Birding.  He was prompt, well planned, expert and friendly, worth a booking if you visit Goa. 

One of the highlight birds was this male Malabar Trogon:

And we never get tired of seeing the Malabar Giant Squirrel:

From Goa at the start of 2019 we flew down to Chennai, though our friend was delayed a day so we booked a diver and headed out, visiting the Shore Temples at Mahabalipuram:

We stopped at a fishing village though it seemed these days they mostly caught plastic:

We then headed inland to Raya Gopurum to see the carved temples, reliefs and monuments.   It's a very religious location, with lots of people dressed for the temple about:

That night i was very fortunate to be taken to a favourite restaurant of mine, Daskshin, in Chennai.  The hotel in which it is housed has changed but the restaurant was authentic and the South Indian Veg Thali a delight.  The wine was pretty good too!

The following morning with friend in tow we visited a couple of city parks and then snuck into the IIT campus as it's a protected area with lots of wildlife as the sightings of this monkey:

and these Spotted Deer demonstrate:

From Chennai it was time to head to Sri Lanka for my birthday.


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