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:
September 3rd 2021: High court decision to allow people, including tourists, to enter Goa without an RT-PCR report if they are fully vaccinated.
November 15th 2021: I receive notification that my appeal to stay in India longer has been rejected and furthermore directed to leave the country no later than 30th of November.
I book a one way flight from Goa - Mumbai - London Heathrow - Mexico City to leave on the 26th of November.
November 26th 2021: I leave my Goan home early evening for the airport and my next adventure.
The Goa to Mumbai flight was three hours late so I missed my connection to London and subsequently my onward flight To Mexico City. When I eventually got Mumbai I managed to get the same flights twenty-four hurs later at no extra cost. I also managed to back date my hotels for the next month. The only negative was spending twenty-four hours at Mumbai Airport departures with no facilities until I could check in and get to the hospitality lounge and that wasn't until twenty hours after I arrived. No bar, no restaurant, squat.
November 28th 2021: Mid-afternoon I arrive in Mexico City.
November 29th 2021: I spent the day walking around the city checking out the tourist attractions.
Maybe I was going to the wrong places but there doesn't seem to be too much by means of natural beauty or architectural culture in Mexico City compared to other capital cities.
November 30th 2021: I again go sighteeing, deliberately leaving, Zocalo Square (Mexico City's answer to Trafalgar Square) for the last day.
Unfortunately for me about twenty blocks around it were cordoned off with a few dozen police blocking every street entrance. I never did find out what it was all about and only got to see the Cathederal Metropilitana, one of the cities most iconic buildings (which is in the square) from four blocks away. The whole day I stayed close to my hotel unlike the previous day's six mile walk that ended in my hailing a taxi back to my hotel.
December 1st 2021: I take a mid-day one hour flight to Hualuco in the South and then onward by cab to Puerto Angel which is to be my home for the next thirty nights.
Without even unpacking I take a cab to Zipolite to find my bearings.
December 2nd 2021: I very briefly look for a new apartment as the one I'm in accomodates five people and is overkill for my needs.
All else aside, I am due to check out on New Year's Eve at which point it will be impossible to find anything. House hunting successful I go to Mazunte Beach.
December 3rd 2021: I again go to Mazunte for few drinks in the afternoon.
December 4th 2021: I hire a scooter in Mazunte, initially for two weeks but presumeably for the duration of my stay.
I have a few drinks in the night in Zipolite.
December 5th 2021: I find a new place to stay in Zipolite to move into on the 31st of December.
December 6th 2021: Went to Pochutla market on he scooter in the day and Zipolite in the night.
December 7th 2021: Went back to Mazunte in the afternoon and evening drinks in Puerto Angel in the night for a change.
At this point, it's worth pointing out that there is no great tourist experience to be had in this area. Mazunte is a beach with a few shacks, Puerto Angel is a fishing village and Zipolite is the only legal nudist beach in Mexico. Zipolite's nightlife basically comprises restaurants cum bars in one short street and in brief, with the exception of watching whales in the bay at Mazunte there's little to do here except eat, drink and relax.
Over the next few weeks I contemplate my future and come to a few conclusions.
My first choice of flying to Colombia then onward to discover Central America was erased from my mind after being warned how dangerous it is there. There is always the language barrier too and it's hard enough in Mexico so, I don't see the point in punishing myself for the sake of visiting another country I'm not madly enthusiastic about going to in the first place.
Vancouver and the Rocky Mountains (on route to Iceland and Europe) may not be feasible due to COVID-19. I particularly want to ride on the Rocky Mountaineer train but at over $3,500 Canadian I can't take a chance on booking it in advance in case I get quarantined on entry to the country and miss the trip.
The onward journey to the Far East is doubtful due to COVID-19 restrictions too. On saying that though, travel to Thailand is a lot easier from the UK than from India and I will be in the UK in May so we'll see.
December 20th 2021: I attempt to pay for an extension of the scooter rental but they up the price due to high season so I tell them to keep it.
Subsequent journeys to and from Zipolite by colectivo (local public transport) or taxi were a major inconvenience but it was only until I moved on New Years Eve.
December 25th 2021: Christmas turkey dinner at my place for four was a success.
December 31st 2021: Move to a new place on the beach in Zipolite.
(now available to read on-line in it's entirety).