Places to remember Goa

There is room for everyone in India's most loved, multicultural beach state
Places to remember Goa

I&rsquom not one for preserving cultures in aspic, for inveighing against the crudities of the present, but when I saw Fontainhas, with its balconies, its buildings the colours of fruit pastilles, shedding pink paint peelings like dandruff, I felt a pinprick of nostalgia for a past that isn&rsquot even mine. My memories of Goa are not of its prized blue-gold beauty, but of eating fresh fish by a slug-brown river of watching a cat creep warily through a fish market as if any moment expecting to be ejected from Valhalla of eating crabs and rare beef late into the night at a Burmese restaurant of listening to fado &mdash those Portuguese dirges of love and loss &mdash in a Baga restaurant, while outside packs of lubricated Russians coalesced around night clubs. What is most attractive about Goa is its room-for-everyone catholicity the Dutch and Brazilian couple who open a French restaurant, the violinist with the frayed cuffs who plays under an empty Fontainhas window, the boy in a faded Brazil shirt the colour of egg yolk chasing an errant football into the sea.

The information

Where to stay
The Afonso Guesthouse in picture-postcard Fontainhas is cheap and has charm to burn (0832-2222359)

Where to eat
Bomra&rsquos in Candolim is the best restaurant in Goa &mdash innovative cooking and casually convivial. Contact 9822149633.

What to do
Visit Mario Miranda&rsquos manse in Loutolim go mackerel fishing in Morjim visit Cotigao

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