Picturesque Goa

Picturesque Goa
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Friday, February 27, 2015

Via Dolorosa


Growing up as a young lad in Goa in the 1950’s, I accompanied my mother every week to the village chapel in the evening to attend the ‘Way of the Cross’ during the Lenten season. On some days young boys and girls took turns as either the one who carried the crucifix or the candles on each side, stopping at the series of pictures of the Stations of the Cross, also called Via Sacra, Via Crucis, Way of the Cross and Via Dolorosa. These names are used to signify either a series of pictures or tableaux representing certain scenes in the Passion of Christ, each corresponding to a particular incident, or the special form of devotion connected with such representations in Christ’s journey to Mount Calvary.
Taken in the general sense, the Stations are represented differently in many chapels and churches in Goa. Some may be of stone, wood, or metal, sculptured or carved, or they may be merely paintings or engravings. Some Stations are valuable works of art along pathways leading to chapels or churches on the hills.

The 14 stations are usually ranged at intervals around the walls of chapels and churches. In the open air they can be found on roads leading to a church or shrine.

Bottom far left in the picture above: Fifth Station of the Cross leading to the Shrine of Fr. Agnel, Pilar Seminary hillock, Goa. ~ Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry his cross. Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you. All: Because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Goan Proverbs & Sayings


Kanvllean apnak dovo rong kaddlear to parvo zainam.

Literal translation:

If a crow paints itself white, it does not turn into a dove.

Meaning and application: 

We cannot hid, lie or escape from obvious faults or situations.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday

OK, we do penance for forty days because Jesus fasted forty days in the wilderness. But did you ever wonder why he was out there for forty days rather than seven or ten or fifty?

Think back to the Old Testament. Noah and company in the Ark watched rain fall for 40 days and forty nights. Moses was up on Sinai receiving the 10 commandments for 40 days. The Israelites wandered around the desert for 40 years.
So why all these forties? Probably because it is forty weeks that a woman carries her developing baby before a new life can come forth from the womb.
All these “forties” are a necessary and not-so-comfortable prelude for something new. In Noah’s case, it’s the rebirth of a sinful world that had been cleansed by raging flood waters. In Moses’ case, it was the birth of the people of the covenant. For the nomadic Israelites, it was the start of a new, settled existence in the Promised land.
And Jesus? What did his forty days mean? The birth of a new Israel liberated from sin, reconciled to God, and governed by the law of the Spirit rather than a law chiselled in stone.
So our forty days? Time to use the tactics modelled by our captain and break the strongholds. Prayer, fasting, humble service. The heavenly bread of the Eucharist and the Word of God. If we make use of them diligently during this season, pregnant with possibilities, we can enter into greater freedom. Darkness can give way to increasing light. Something new and wonderful can be born in us.

Friday, February 13, 2015

American Classic Cars in Cuba

 One of Cuba's most distinctive anachronisms are the classic American cars from the 1950’s and 1960’s - Studebaker, Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge cars are seen cruising on all streets and highways – giving me the feeling as if I had just momentarily stepped back in time. Photographing these gems were simply a delight for me - a paradise of classic cars - reminding me once again of Goa of the 1950’s.



Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Sight-seeing in Varadero, Cuba


Varadero (Spanish pronunciation: [baɾaˈðeɾo]) is a scenic resort town in the province of Matanzas, Cuba, and one of the largest resort areas in the Caribbean.
It is situated on the Hicacos Peninsula, between the Bay of Cárdenas and the Straits of Florida, some 140 km east of Havana, at the eastern end of the Via Blanca highway.

The peninsula is only 1.2 km wide at its widest point and is separated from the island of Cuba by the Kawama Channel. This spit of land however extends more than 20 kilometers from the mainland in a north-easterly direction and its tip, Punta Hicacos, is the northernmost point of the island of Cuba. At the northeastern end of the peninsula there is a nature reserve with virgin forests and beaches.
The northern coastline is lined with luxury hotels and connect with the main highway running along the southern coastline. Downtown Varadero is about 25 km away.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A day in Old Havana - (Habana Vieja) Part 2

Day trip to Havana - Cuba (2)

 A walk through the cobble stone streets of Old Havana after a wonderful lunch at a lovely homely family restaurant that reminded me of Goa. Walking through the quaint streets of arched facades in various pastel shades of green, pink and yellow, sounds of Cuban salsa music, permeating through the arched doorways and windows of restaurants, and tourists shopping along the streets for a souvenir of handicrafts at the Plaza de San Francisco de Asis. An overall short, but great experience of Old Havana or Habana Vieja. Memories to cherish in the company of our jovial and happy little group of friends.


Monday, February 09, 2015

A day in Havana, Cuba.

Day trip to Havana - Cuba (1)

Leaving the hotel in the morning from the east of Varadero, driving along the scenic boulevard 32 km towards the province of Matanzas to the east of the Varadero peninsula, a photo and souvenir stop at a lookout point at Mirador Bacanayagua, overlooking the highest bridge in Cuba. A magnificent view of the Yumuri Valley. Listening to traditional Cuban music, enjoying a piña colada in a scooped-up pine apple. A panoramic tour of Metropolitan and Modern Havana. A scrumptious lunch in a homely atmosphere of a Cuban house in the locality with a trio of traditional Cuban musicians. At noon – a walking tour through the historical center of Colonial Havana a.k.a. Havana Vieja or Old Havana – free time for browsing, shopping or just wandering along the narrow cobbled streets of good Old Havana. On a return ride along the way to the hotel at sunset in Varadero, a brief stop to pay a visit to ‘La Casa de Al’ - the vacation retreat (supposedly) of Al Capone – an old stone mansion. A gigantic framed photo of this house was in fact hanging on the wall of our hotel room.