January 2nd 2021: With Indian tourist visas still being suspended I join a few others on a drive to Agonda for a mini break.
Initially check into a guest house a mile or so from the beach.
January 3rd 2021: Check into a guest house on Agonda Beach to be closer to the sea.
Go to Palolim in the night for dinner where we got absolutely disgusting service so when the bill came minus 7 beers and two meals we considered it just deserts.
January 4th 2021: Check into a guest house on Palolem Beach.
A few of us drank too much for our own good in the evening. Again the bill was messed up to the tune of many beers but we liked the place and the service was good so I showed the staff their error and paid the correct amount.
January 5th 2021: Spend a lazy day in Palolem then go to Patnem Beach for sunset.
January 6th 2021: Drive back home to the North in the morning.
January 21st 2021: Fly to Dhamarshala in the North of India with Neil and Honey.
On route we have a twelve hour stopover at Delhi Airport so make the most of the Plaza Premium Lounge
January 22nd 2021: Take the 90 minute 13:00 flight to Dharamshala and check into Blossoms Village Resort in the Fatehpur area.
We ended the day/evening drinking on the rooftop terrace at the resort with the owner Nalin. Heat was provided by defunct woks containing charcoal embers.
January 23rd 2021: We go to the farm owned by Honey Lamba (one of the guys I travelled with) then to the McLeod Ganj area of Dharamshala where the Dalai Lama lives in the Dalai Lama Temple Complex. In the evening we celebrated Lakhan's 30th birthday at his farm. with his friend Swapna and some of his friends.
Regrettably we could not enter the complex due to the restrictions of COVID-19. In normal times it's open to the public daily and once a month the public get an opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama.
January 27th 2021: Move into a villa in the hills, again above the village of Fatehpur and despite being a little further out of town, still within spitting distance of Dharamshala.
January 28th 2021: Drinks at Honey's place in the evening.
January 29th 2021: Lazy day after drinking too much the night before.
January 30th 2021: Went for a sightseeing ride up the mountain with Neil in the day then had friends around to our villa for a drinking and poker night
January 31st 2021: I took a ride to McLeod Ganj area in the day then Honey, Svetlana and her daughter came to our villa in the night.
They were never to leave on a permanent basis as their apartment was cold and miserable and the landlady was intrusive.
February 1st 2021: Lazy day and early night.
I book a flight back to Goa for the 26th of February.
February 2nd 2021: I took a solo sightseeing ride but bump into Neil on the way.
February 3rd 2021: I went for a ride on the scooter and ended up in McLeod Ganj area.....again.
February 4th 2021: Lazy day due to miserable weather.
February 5th 2021: Lazy day then in the evening we had a drinks and stew night at our villa.
February 6th 2021: Eats and drinks at Girleen's place.
February 7th 2021: I ride East in the day and go for drink's at Honey's farm in the night.
February 8th 2021: Went with Nalin to a Dharamshala clinic to make an appointment with a specialist.
February 10th 2021: Took a ride to Kangra to book tickets for a train journey through Kangra Valley and the foothills of the Himalayas.
Despite Kangra Valley Model (narrow gauge) Railway being a very picturesque journey, the reality is that there are only four trains per day and they are commuter trains for locals not tourists. I decide to give a ride on it a miss.
February 11th 2021: Return with Nalin to the Dharamshala clinic in the morning.
Dinner was supposed to be at Honey's place in the evening but I left early as I was ill and thought I had a reaction to my new medication.
February 12th 2021: Ride out to re-take some photo's of the War Memorial and the McLeod Ganj area in the morning.
On route I have lunch and within a few hours had a bad case on food poisoning. I spend the next eight days in bed. My previous days "bad medicine" theory I put down to a coincidental misdiagnosis on my part.
February 13th 2021: Bed.
February 14th 2021: I finally get up briefly to greet Gulzar who arrived at the villa, Honey Sveta and Katya move out to facilitate his arrival. There was a music night at Blossoms Village which I totally missed due to my continuing illness.
February 15th 2021: Bed.
February 16th 2021: Go to Honey's in the night but still really ill so leave in pain after two and a half hours.
February 17th 2021: Another total day in bed. I have still not eaten or drank since the 10th.
February 18th 2021: Drive to Bir, Himachal Pradesh (a paragliding resort) for a three day break.
I attempt a meal but after tasting two tiny pieces of sweet sticky chicken it tried to escape from my stomach the same route as it had taken there so I gave it up as a bad job.
February 19th 2021: Another wasted day in paradise for me. I can't shake off my ill health. In fact it was getting serious as I had real bad respiratory issues and could barely talk.
Sveta and Katia take a taxi back to Dharamshala in the evening leaving Honey with us in Bir.
February 20th 2021: Neil goes Paragliding in the morning then we head back for Dharamshala.
February 21st 2021: I wake feeling a lot better than I had for a long time but decide to take it easy until I return to Goa to be on the safe side.
February 22nd 2021: Recuperating.
February 23rd 2021: Recuperating.
February 24th 2021: Recuperating.
February 25th 2021: Lazy day. Visit Swapna at Lakhan's farm then go to Blossoms Village in the evening to see the place off and to leave my luggage in preparation for my return to Goa the next day.
February 26th 2021: Take the early afternoon flight to Goa via Delhi.
February 27th 2021: Instant good health the moment I get back to Goa.
I seize the opportunity to eat with both hands by pigging out on bananas, grapes, strawberries, ice cream and fruit juice.
For the next few months, with the exception of a lack of European tourists it was pretty much business as usual in Goa until; here we go again with the next surge of:
May 21st 2021: It is announced that the lockdown is to be extended until the 31st of May. COVID-19 cases in India have risen to over 26 million.
September 3rd 2021: High court decision to allow people, including tourists, to enter Goa without an RTPCR report if they are fully vaccinated.
(now available to read on-line in it's entirety).