A Yearly Yatra

Goa Sunset

Every year, as long as there’s no important reason to miss, we head to the beach for a holiday. This yearly getaway has become a habit in order to give us the much-needed break from daily life and experience a knowing change from the everyday routine. Although this yearly vacation is as much as a yearly routine, we do welcome familiarity and avoid stressful surprises, if we can. I know that some would not like this kind of vacation but my family is happy and content with it, and for us, this is a perfect vacation, year after year.

This year, just like every other year before that, our beach vacation coincided with our son’s first birthday, and aside from that, a dear uncle also visited us after a long while, so it was quite a party. When all bags were packed, including our two dogs’ week-long food and their stuffed duffel bag, and loaded onto the car,  the baby secured in his car seat, all the knick-knacks checked, empty house locked, and eager holidaymakers strapped in the car, we rode our way from the busy Bangalore to the scenic Goa. Our ride to Goa is always tranquil and mesmerizing, with lush forest, beautiful waterfalls, magnificent view of windmills on the hills along the way keep us entertained and make the journey interesting. They never fail to amaze us.

Before our fur-kids arrived in our family, we’d ridden to Goa by motorbike, train, and plane. However, since we expanded our family, it’s only logical and safe to travel by car. Though we’d contemplated before of going by plane, checked the airlines which accommodate dogs and also flight schedule from Bangalore to Goa, but it seemed that it’s quite stressful to our fur-kids so we dropped the idea.

When I say that our yearly vacation is a repeat of every year’s vacation, that is because it’s really a repeat of everything. We always stay in the same guest house, swim in the same pool, watch the sunset on the same beach, which is a walking distance from our accommodation. Though from time to time, we explore other parts of Goa and face some unexpected yet memorable experiences. This year was no exception, especially when we made a wrong turn after we visited the old church. No thanks to Google map, it took us to a scary, old mansion on the hill, where we didn’t see a single soul whom we could have asked for direction. We left with no choice but trace our way back down, slowly but surely, in the dark. There were some arguments and blame game during that ride but as soon as we hit the main road, we all laughed out loud and shared our fears and shuddery made-up stories during that chilling moment.

One of the things I like holidaying in Goa is the abundance of seafood. Since we always stay in a house where there is a full working kitchen, every morning, we make sure to visit the local market to buy some fresh seafood. It’s remarkable how different the taste of the fish we buy in Bangalore compared to the ones we buy in Goa. Nothing beats the freshness of the fish that comes from the local fisherman’s boat. It is also amazing how almost all restaurants in Goa serve delicious food, perhaps because of the quality and freshness of the ingredients.

Although I know that I will do the same thing, eat the same food, swim in the same pool, watch the sunset on the same beach, I know that for me, that is how my perfect vacation will be, as long as I’m with my family. So, just like every other year that passed by, I’m excited and look forward to our next Yatra.

Bark in the Park

I was doing my usual net surfing when suddenly my Skype popped-up a message. It was from my student from UAE, I thought she was maybe checking on our class schedule, but then I saw that it was a long message, so I thought it was her homework, she usually pastes her homework on Skype. So I started reading it and was wondering why it was titled, Park and Bark. After I finished, I was laughing but since my son was sleeping I controlled my giggles.

Here’s the joke that my student shared to me, and I think that it is really appropriate especially for people who are natives of Middle East. I’ve had a handful of Arab students and I always see this pronunciation problem. I told her if she remembered how many times I corrected her /p/ and /b/, and she sent me an LOL emoticon. She said that there is no /p/ in Arabic, only /b/, so that explains the difficulty of pronouncing /p/ for Arabs. Read the joke below and have a laugh, but remember that sound matters. I am copying and pasting the exact message as it has Arabic translation.

في نكتة عن
Park and bark.

One day there was a man from an Arabic country who traveled to UK , when he reached the meeting place, of course, he has to park (حديقة بيوقفوا فيها سياراتهم) near the building.

The Arabian asked a guard: could you please tell me where can I bark (انبح)?
بس هو كان قصده Park(اوقف سيارتي) بس نطقها خطأ لانه عنده مشكل بالنطق P&b

Then, the guard told him: “you can bark where ever you want Sir!”
حبيت اقلكم القصة عشان ،المغزى انه النطق فعلا مهم واي خلل بالنطق ممكن يؤدي بالنهاية الى انك تنفهم غلط من طرف الشخص الاخر و خاصة مع الاجانب ، و بالتالي تفشل في توصيل رسالتك