Shall we stay or shall we go now?
Trip Start Jan 08, 2005
135Trip End Ongoing
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It was a Portuguese colony right up until 1961 when the Indian's took it back but lots of the old Portuguese buildings remain. Buses of Indians make the short trip over the bridge on weekends because Gujarat is a dry state and as the island is governed from Delhi it's the only place in the state to get alcohol (glug glug glug)!
Took bloody ages to get there in fact. Long bus journey then overnight train then another bus. When we finally arrived we were glad to get a hotel recommendation from another traveller but it turns out that it's location was it's best and only asset. There was only salt water to wash in cold or bucket hot and the staff were surly and extremely unhelpful so we left and went to a better place with flowing hot water, balcony and tv!! Only thing was it was in town rather than at the beach. Can't have everything, can you?
There was a whole island to explore and we started with the old churches. The winding lanes of the old town centre have some lovely old Portuguese buildings and the churches are well maintained and stand out a mile as they're all painted white, even those that are not used as places of worship anymore. The first was St Thomas's which houses the Dui Museum with the upper floor used as a simple hotel. We climbed onto the roof for spectacular views of the Fort, old island gaol and surrounding town. We met a great Australian girl called Jo who was staying there who lived and worked in Bangladesh. We hope to see her in April at the cricket! The next was St Paul's church, a huge place built in the beginning of the 19th century and is the only functioning catholic church on the island. The Church of St Francis of Assisi has been converted into a hospital and was closed most of the time so we didn't get to see that one. It seemed to be the largest too.
Day 2 we walked to the old Portuguese Fort and climbed the lighthouse. Built in the mid 16th century, it's a fantastic place to explore with loads of old cannon balls littering the grounds. There is a lighthouse to climb with amazing views of the island. It has a huge double tidal moat and lots of old cannons. There are some tunnels too but they're infested with bats and not ones for bat-guano hair, we retreated quick smart! It's also the island's jail but they seemed pretty casual about it. We had to do some pretty nifty hide-and-seek moves dodging the wedding parties around that tried to catch us on film!!
Scooters seemed to be the way to get round the island so we checked round and got a new thing for only 100 rupees per day! We raced round exploring the other villages and beaches. The Church of our Lady of Remedies was another lovely looking building that had been converted into a guesthouse and there is a plethora of cement rendered crosses all over the island.
We went out sight-seeing - and saw it all, including some spooky cave-cum-holes-in-the-ground things where the Portuguese had carved their building materials out of the land (sandstone stuff) all those hundreds of years ago. We drove up and down the same road hundreds of times and around the areas looking in vein for the 'waterfall'. I thought with it being summer time it much be just a trickle and that's why we couldn't find it. But low and behold, there it was staring us in the face all the time!! It was a man-made set of steps, more or less! Hilarious!!!! I suppose it would have been great at some stage with water tripping all the way down the steps into the lit pond below with little two seaters below palm trees and a little run down kiosk that would have once sold ice creams and various sweet-tooth pleasers. It took us days to find it!! But we finally felt our efforts had been rewarded. It would have driven me crazy if I hadn't have found it.
The beaches aren't South Australian by any standards but there is a very long, deserted one (Gomptimata Beach) that had my name all over it. Jo had mentioned that she'd had some interested parties performing lurid acts behind bushes when she'd been there so I wasn't sure about wearing my 'kini. I compromised and wore a singlet over the top. There wasn't anyone around anyway. It was lovely but scorching hot. We wandered along the shoreline looking for shells. The water was refreshingly coolish but had a little too much salad (vegetable rubbish floaties). Such a shame. We swam anyway.
We went to the little fishing village of Vanakbara which was the only place on the island where the children ran after us shouting for pens. There is an old falling down church there called Church of Our Lady of Mercy which was being renovated I think. The workmen let us in to look around. It would have been a lovely building at one point.
There is some fabulous food on the island, some of the best I had in India. A lovely Catholic Goan family cook dinner in their house almost every night. It's a feast of Goan seafood and as much as you can eat!! Needless to say we ate there a couple of times once we'd discovered it!
There isn't too much more to do on Dui other than relax and beach it up.
But if you do go you MUST go and visit Action Lassi Man down at Western Food Corner. He's this fantastic guy who makes lassis cocktail style. He fits himself out with tight, sparkly, sequined numbers, turns his music up loud and puts on show - all for a 15 rupee lassi!! Fantastic!
We were sad to leave and could have stayed longer but like I keep saying, India's a huge place and there's so much more to see!