Merry Christmas! As usual we are awake way before the kids and lie in bed willing them to wake up. Eventually we hear a little voice warbling “We wish you a Merry Christmas” and go in to find them grinning at us! Santa has made it to Goa and after they have opened their presents we have our breakfast. Ali asks for bacon and eggs but I miss the champagne more and strawberry cornflakes just don’t cut it in quite the same way even with the added novelty that they turn the milk pink.
We get a taxi to Candolim and make our way to the beach. We choose sun beds right by the waters edge so I can keep a close eye on the kids and Ali quickly makes friends with a boy called Lewis. We have a lovely morning; the sea is quite rough with big waves but no under current and it’s very warm. After a lunch of grilled fish and chips, we pack up our stuff and walk along the road to phone home. We have a chat with everyone and I do feel a few pangs when I hear everyone laughing in the background it sounds like they are having a great time.
Still no time to feel down, I’m too busy feeling scared as we make our way to the para glider, my heart is pounding, I hate heights and yet before I know it Maisie and I are strapped into the harness and the parachute behind us is being lifted to catch the wind.
Then, like I have a string attached to my belly button, I’m yanked and we’re airborne.
Maisie loves it and although I don’t look down, I do look around and the views are wonderful. Too soon I hear the whistle from the fella in the speed boat which means we are going to come down and before I know it, it is all over. An experience that I never thought I would have the bottle to do.
For Ali’s present him and Simon are going on a jetski and I run through the waves trying to get some good pictures of them. They zoom off across the sea bouncing along the waves. Maisie and I laugh as we see them doing donuts on the thing and when they come back and tell us they fell off it I’m not surprised!
It’s now 6.30 and we get a taxi back to Dona Paula, 4 quick showers and a bit of pampering later and we’re ready to go. We arrive at Cidade de Goa and make our way to the garden where the dinner is being held. I’ll try my hardest to explain what it looked like but my first impression as we walked through an arch way was that we had stepped into a winter wonderland.
As far as the eye could see the garden was lit with strings of fairy lights and suspended from the branches of the trees was what looked like a carpet of blue and white streamers which almost created a ceiling. The tables were all beautifully laid on the grass around the dancefoor and the waiters were smartly dressed in silver waistcoats with santa hats.
Everywhere I looked amongst the trees were Santa’s, dolphins, stars and elves amongst other things.
In the centre was a cold buffet and it looked so delicious it almost seemed a shame to eat it, suckling pigs sat beside some evil looking fish with big teeth. There were hams, beef and chicken and maybe 30 different types of salads. I had tomato, mozzarella and basil. pasta with olives, and a spicy chicken and bean salad. Big green ice sculptures of Christmas trees sat in amongst the food.
Down one long side were steel serving containers with all differet types of hot food including roast turkey, tandoori prawns, beef dishes, noodles, rice, Goan specialities, fiery curries and so much more. The chefs stood behind were barbequing on request.
We had ordered some beer and a bottle of wine and as we finished our main course the entertainment started Firstly a sort of gospel choir of children sang a mixture of well known English and Indian songs and carols. Santa Claus appeared and as well as handing out a few presents danced a few moves accompanied by the live band who were excellent. At this point there was a huge firework display and it was so good I started crying. The DJ was brilliant and played a great mixture of English pop and dance music and Bhangra which was so lively lots of English people including us joined in. Ali amazed me by dancing around and although he looked a bit self conscious at times he seemed to have a great time and was well up for it.
The desert buffet reminded me of Hansel and Gretels house, backed with snowy mountains there were real gingerbread houses amongst the peaks and a choice of nearly 100 different miniature puddings. I had blackcurrant mousse, strawberry tart, chocolate log and strawberries dipped in chocolate.
Then the circus acts arrived and did their thing with acrobatics, fire throwing, twizzling sticks and other stuff. Until this point I always said I would never want to be away from home at Christmas and of course I would have loved for all our family to have been here tonight but I can honestly say this has been one of the best Christmas days I have ever had.
Because we have spent quite a bit of time at the hotel we actually know quite a few people who are staying there and we chat to various people including Aruna and her family. She invites us a party at her place one night this week and as we walk home at 1am we’re all full of it and what a great time we had.
Finally get in, in 20 years of dancing in unsuitable stupid shoes I have never had to soak my feet before but that’s what Maisie and I have to do as our feet are killing, it is the first time she has ever worn heels and she looked quite lovely and grown up. She has learnt a lesson tonight- oh the price of looking good!