‘Yeah I don’t need the phone number thanks. There’s the map on that page can you just take me there?’
‘Surrounded – by – pot – plants – and – set- in – a – beautifully – restored – yellow – portugese – townhouse.’
‘Yeah thanks I’ve read the description, do you think you could just drive me, like there, sometime today?’
I am in the taxi. The driver is trying to deposit me on the side of the road. I have given him the book with the map in. But he’s more interested in reading me in halting half-blind stalling English the description of the place I want to get to rather than like actually driving me there.
‘1500 – rupees. Hot – water.’
Eventually I have to get out, accost a local woman and ask directions. By the time we get there all the rooms are taken in the beautifully restored yellow portugese townhouse (the Lonely Planet like their adjectives don’t they?). I am tempted to smack the driver around the head with the book.
But this is why I’ve ended up here. In a place which makes me think of cells, of both the Holloway and monastery variety. Similar to a monastery, the Panjim Park Lane Lodge (don’t get misled by the words Park and Lane) also has a curfew – 10pm – which is ok because I wasn’t thinking of sampling the local disco. I’m having to take my ipod everywhere I go in this city because the music playing in restaurants is so bad. My ears have phantom headphone syndrome – you know like phantom limb syndrome – when they’re not there I can still feel them in my ears. Unfortunately can’t hear the music.
Also like a monastery there is a picture outside my door of a rotting corpse. It’s ok to put pictures of rotting corpses in your house if the corpse belongs to a Saint I’ve discovered. And also I have to be out by 8am. Obviously because they expect me to go to Matins or something.
The bathroom, free of beatific corpses, is outside, communal and has a corrugated roof. It does have hot water which when I stood under it scared the shit out of me (again handy because the shower was over the loo). I’d forgotten what hot water showers felt like. It really was a surprise.
You want to know why I’m staying here and not at the slightly superior Panjim Inn with wood panelled balconies, no curfew, hot water and no dead people? Because I forgot my pin number. Which I am actually laughing about because I think that that is proof of how good the last two weeks on the beach have been. My brain has atrophied to such an extent that I have forgotten a four digit number. And now my card is barred. And I’m down to my last £15 which has to get me to the airport and back to Rich and Pooja’s tomorrow where I can raise a loan until John arrives. I’ve been looking forward to his arrival. But now I’m really looking forward to it. I shall jump on him. Then demand his plastic.
Here are pictures of panjim.