Thursday, May 7, 2009

Goa, II - more Rivercat

By now you are familiar with my favorite hotel in India... I could not keep from taking pictures, nor evidently can I stop myself posting them! I hope you all enjoy the splendor as much as the kids and I did.
Kids playing chess in the common room downstairs

Upstairs hall, right outside our room

Door to our room

More rooms upstairs

Doo, doo, doo, lookin out our back door

Our bathroom

A rivercat

Lovely though the environs may be, the place would be nothing with out the gracious attentions of Rinoo Seghal, the proprietor. Rinoo escaped life as a business man in Delhi 20 years ago and built the villa bit by bit. He lives mostly in Goa now and is the consumate host. Mellow beyond belief and just the perfect blend of helpful and inquisitive. Every evening he materialized with questions about our day and a pitch-perfect recommendation for dinner. Every spot was a winner, even the joint in Arombol that the kids hated thanks to the loud music and weird hippies. (I felt right at home, naturally.) Like so many adults we've met here, he was genuinely interested in my kids and truly wanted them to be at home with him, and happily, unlike so many folks we've met, Rinoo was able to strike the right balance between friendly and completely overbearing and cheek pinching. Not only did he greet Ben with "Chota Baba-ji ki jai ho!" ("Hooray for the little Baba!") (Baba means something like 'guy who makes everything easy and happy') he also listened to Caitlin's observations about jellyfish and her reactions to a horse book she borrowed from his library. Nary a cheek was pinched. And perhaps best of all, he effortlessly wove in and out of adult conversation with me and chatting with the kids, showing no twinge of frustration or annoyance at the interruptions.

Rinoo-baba's vibe rubs off on everyone around him, apparently. The 2 staff people were equally kind, mellow, and affectionate without being TOO affectionate. The cook was called Amma (Mother) for good reason. And the other guests were also a delight. We met a great Omani/Brittish/Cincinattian couple who were in Goa scouting locations for a camp/retreat of their own, as well as doing some work as photographers. He is also an actor and spent a long time one morning talking to Caitlin about the ups and downs of 'the business' and strategies for staying hungry and improving your craft even when you can't get on stage. He did more to cure her homesickness in one breakfast than I think I've been able to do in months. Wonderful.

Once we settled into an AC room (Goa is HOT and HUMID in April, don't let anyone tell you otherwise!) a week wasn't nearly enough. We will be back, definitely.


Anonymous said...

This hotel looks wonderful and the host sounds like an oasis! Love the bright colors and simplicity.

girl_in_greenwood said...

Absolutely stunning. If I ever find myself in India, I will make a pilgrammage to Rivercat.

Also, it warms my nerdly heart to see your kids playing chess at their tender ages. :)