Sunday, February 19, 2017

Trek to Vagheri, South Goa

Vagheri, the abode of tigers, as they say, is the third highest peak in Goa. 
Situated at an altitude of 726 m., it is covered in Bio- diverse forest cover. The trek was planned for the 5th. of Feb 2017, by Eco treks, the non-profit group that we go on treks with. It was day long tour, including travel to the base, breakfast, trek up to the peak, trek back to the base, lunch, and journey back home.
We took 2 hrs. for climbing and 1.5 hrs. for climbing down. Ofcourse we love to take pictures, and keep stopping wherever we find interesting sights and scenes, to look, gaze upon and photograph, or simply stay put and take in the sights and smells. The young / able bodied / impatient, took 15 min. less.

In preparation for the trek, following are the instructions given to us by Eco treks:

1)  Special Buses will leave from Panjim (  from Heera Petrol pump Plz. Note )  sharp by 7.30 a.m. , from Mapusa Gandhi Circle ) sharp by 7.50 am. , from Bicholim 8.15 a.m. & from Sanquelim sharp by 8.30 am. . 
2) Since the walking distance is comparatively long and hard, with no water sources on the way,  we request  all the participants  to carry  extra  drinking water and cap/Hat to protect you from sun.   Shoes are  must for this Trek.
3) Fee charged is Rs.500/- per head, which includes to & fro travel, Morning Breakfast &  Lunch .
4)  Special note  …. Although we would be providing Breakfast to you, participants are advised to have a small bite at home before starting their journey. This special request comes from us as our breakfast will be delayed to 9.30 am. or even later and that too  will be served  at the beginning of the Trek. Even our lunch will be delayed ( expected time 2.00 pm. or beyond )  as we have to collect all the participants from finishing point and transport  all to the nearby village Keri for Lunch.  Hope you will understand and bear our difficulties.
5)  For the  breakfast, please carry you own re-usable plate  ( No throw away plastic or paper plates please). Also carry  extra water to wash your own plate.

6) For booking & paying, please contact, Panjim , Rajesh,9833155713,  Aarti  9822522119, Mapusa, Durgadas Parab 9422445444,  or pay directly in the Bank Account no. in the name of Eco Treks, Account No 130 301 100 212 86,MICR Code 403 028 006,  IFSC      UCBA0001303,UCO Bank, Mapusa, Goa  & inform me immediately by S.M.S only .
7) Please note that unless we  receive payment , we will not confirm your seat.
8)  We assure refund of the paid fee in full, if we receive request of cancellation up to 48 hours from the starting of the trek. ( for this trek it is latest  by 7.30 am on  3rd   February 2017.)
9)  The number of participants for this trek is restricted to 75 only and out of those 19 are  already booked as per our new system of wish list. (Wish Lists for future Treks is given below ) 
10) Of Importance…… No early Bird Concessions for this trek.
 10) We totally oppose and do not allow any kind of littering or any other activity that can harm the environment. Also the consumption of alcohol,drugs, smoking or chewing Tobacco in any form  is not allowed.

There were altogether fifty of us in this trek. 
We stopped at the Forest department of Mhadei Wildlife sanctuary check post. There was an entry fee which Eco Treks took care of. There was a stop over for the vehicles and that is where we had our breakfast. Under the trees, a tasty vegetarian fare and tea made us ready for the climb. By now some of you readers must be familiar with the program, introductions had to be performed. All the new comers were cheered on.
Initially it was tight group. Soon it spread out; everyone was allowed to follow at his own pace. One could see cashew cultivation, and the trees were in bloom, the hillside filled with the sweet fragrance of cashew flowers.
The route we took from Panjim was to go via Porvorim, Mapusa, Tivim, Bicholim, Sankhali, and then Keri, past Anjunem Dam. Vagheri is in Chorla ghats. The whole route is picturesque, and I am usually glued to the window. 
The colours and foliage change with the seasons. Nature at its best!


At places the trail was narrow, at places wide, mostly tree covered. The morning sun playing hide and seek through the dense foliage overhead. The play of light and shadow was to be relished.
At a point in the trek, there were three paths ahead. Remembered Robert Frost's poem, 'Road not taken,...
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.'
I felt, in a forest, one would better be sure which path to take...
Finally we reached the top of the 3rd. highest peak in Goa. It was shocking to see all the grass burnt and black ash everywhere; Only trees survived the fire. Our guess was some miscreants tried to cook or start a fire for some purpose or threw a lit match stick. Since all the grass was dry, caught the fire and spread fast. 
Let me mention here that Western Ghats are known for Bio-diversity; which means, there are plant and insect species which are only here and nowhere else. Imagine with a fire on the hill top, how many living organisms perished. What if some of them were endangered species. When people go to ecologically sensitive areas, they should be more careful!
There were just a couple of shade giving trees. After an arduous climb, we were glad to park our base for a twenty minutes; followed by a group photo (a rarity). We started the climb down.
 There was 360 degree view of the mountains all round.
At the base, we got into the bus and headed to Keri village, where a delicious vegetarian, traditional Goan lunch awaited us. Did we do justice to the food? You bet, we did. I bought a raw jack fruit from them too.
As usual antakshari was played by the exuberant few. On this trek there was decent sized contingent of Germans, so they sang some German songs. 
We had been on this trek three years back, wanted to again for the climb and the scenery.
Every one had fun on this trek.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Stand for Necklaces and Bracelets

If you are like me, then you understand the dilemma I had been having for some time...
I have a fair (subject to interpretation!) amount of costume jewellery, and lack of adequate space to store them. I don't know how you all manage to keep them safe, secure and handy. For me, out of sight is out of mind. Will wear what is in front of me / visible. I tried keeping them in boxes, in the desk drawers, cupboards, almirah, leaving them on the dressing table, etc. None satisfactory. Lately I collected a few more necklaces, and I want to wear them too. So, it is imperative they are easily accessible (and not inside a box, inside a drawer etc.) and kept separately. I had been thinking about it...
Voila! The idea struck ...
In my recent post, I had put up the blog on Stand for bags which Jo had made for me as a New Year's gift. Because the wooden post was too long, he cut off the top portion of it. 
I fished it out, and gave it a wood polish (this too left over from the stand). If you notice closely, one After a few days of drying in the sun, took it to the hardware store and started looking for accessories to convert a piece of wood into a stand on which I can hang my Jewellery.
Found L angles for the base, and two varies of steel hooks. The hooks were available in several sizes. I chose the ones suitable for my purpose and keeping aesthetics in mind. The shop keeper was kind enough to throw in some screws to match the L angles. Armed with these, I set about making my stand. 
First and foremost, I marked the position of all the hooks with a black sketch pen. I wanted round hooks on the top, to hang finger rings etc. L shaped hooks went round in a spiral, so that the necklaces all won't be from the same height. The wood is teak, and has natural grain and small holes. I just let them be. At one end, there is a joint in the wood. I kept this at the base, and staggered the L angles on either side, so that, the screws do not split the post through the joint. It worked.
The trickiest part is to drill holes. I had to rope in Jo for the drilling job; which meant I had to wait until he was free and in the mood for the job. He is a wiz at drilling stuff, with the power drill machine. On the following Sunday, after a reminder or two, the holes were there, and he very obligingly fixed the hooks too. Huh! my jewellery stand is ready.
All I had to do after that was to hang up my necklaces etc.

Chapel of St. Catherine, Velh Goa

Jo got this sudden urge to do some sketching. Well and good! He wanted to go somewhere, sit there and sketch. Even better! He said we shou...