Tio Tony's, paradise in Parra, Goa, India

Tio Tony's, paradise in Parra, Goa, India
“ Take the left once you reach the circle with some red, fancy coconut fronds,” advised Savio as we were driving down in our rented car, from our village Pilerne, to see his newly refurbished home in Parra, Goa. Sure enough as we reached the circle we collectively grinned at the red, modern art, coconut fronds that graced the circle where we turned left.

In no time we reached the roadside chapel, which was another common Goan landmark and we pulled up infront of his lovely old goan home called Tio Tony’s, an air B& B which has been lovingly refurbished and open to the public.

The yellow ochre and stark white painted walls with it’s sloping, tiled roof, was the first feast to the eyes that we admired, as we unravelled ourselves from the little Zen, we had hired for our holiday. Best to hire little cars to zip around in Goa’s wonderful roads and self drive too is available.

“ Welcome, welcome,” said Nisha and Savio our hosts as we walked into the cool, high roofed interiors of their beautiful home. A dream team really as Nisha explained,” I am the dreamer and Savio gets the jobs done.”

Impeccably painted and impossibly high, they have retained the beautiful wooden roof rafters of the main part of the house. Very expensive to maintain, wood if not treated with repellants become a fest for the termites that also call Goa their home. Unwelcome guests in most goan homes, they assiduously chomp their way through lakhs worth of wooden rafters, doors and windows and very generously leave a thin patina of the exterior, which can collapse and crumble under the least pressure, if not looked after regularly.

“ We had always wanted to come back to Goa and retire,” they share, though far from retirement age.Quirky touches of their creativity abound in the house. I personally loved their toilets which are modern and upto date. Thankfully the goan piggy toilets of yore are a thing of the past, with sewage systems and running water being the norm now in goan homes, thankfully.

Every bedroom through the little homestay is beautifully appointed and there is a completely uptodate kitchen, which a guest can enjoy rustling up a meal if they so desire.

Savio and Nisha have extended the back large old firewood kitchen, into two more bedrooms and the well which is a fixture of any goan home is saved and is part of the seating out in the back.

“ Come let’s go out into the back,” said Nisha, drawing us out into her back garden. Nothing prepared us for the beautiful green expanse of garden, that stretched out behind the house, with the fields all around them. At least ½ an acre of emerald green lawns, greeted our delighted eyes and we all settled down in the cool verandah behind, on a welcoming brand new Portuguese style balcao, which was Savios inspiration to construct. It definitely makes one relax, surrounded by lush greenery, in the open fields around.

A pair of Oriental Magpie Robins took turns to plunge into the lilly pond, while we watched sipping our chilled fresh lime sodas. And a large red eyed Coucal, with its chestnut coloured wings, flapped on a low slung mango branch, probably searching for small invertebrates that it feeds on. A great little paradise for a bird lover to enjoy, with it’s plethora of bird life.

We sat out in the verandah and enjoyed a typical goan meal. It had been a while when I had tasted “ teesrio” ( shell-fish) cooked in a green masala and drowned in coconut. And massive king prawns lathered with delicious goan recheardo masla and pan fried. In typical goan style the table groaned with a variety of sea food and vegetables for which we greedily, went in for seconds. I especially enjoyed the Bombay Duck prepared by Aashish, Savio and Nisha’s man Friday.

According to the UK Guardian, the Bombay duck, or bombil as it is called locally, is one of Goas culinary experiences. This charmingly misnamed delicacy is actually a fish, whose pungent odour is part of that special love-it-or-hate it-Goa smell. It got its name in the days of the Raj, from being transported on an iconic train, the Bombay Daak, daak being the Hindi word for mail. The term was then bastardised to duck, which stuck, says the UK Guardian.

Then for afters, we had pieces of the delicious goan delicacy -- Bebinca, which tastes divine in Goa, compared to the imitations made in the cities. Every layer a melt -in- the- mouth experience.

“ Our guests hardly ever want to venture out, since the garden is a safe haven for their babies,” shared Nisha. Besides a trip to the beach which is closeby, or to Mapuca market to collect their stash of goan masalas and sausages, the homestay is perfect to just chill and let your mind transport itself, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Check out the facilities and for bookings contact: https://www.facebook.com/tiotonys2016

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