Despite the very early morning start and waiting for the coach pickup in the teeming rain, there was a lot of good humour under shared umbrellas and everyone eagerly looked forward to their impending day trip to Boulogne and most importantly, some serious shopping at the Hypermarket in Calais on Saturday 30 September 2006.
Once everyone was comfortably seated on the coach, Flavio Gracias led us all in a small prayer to ensure a safe and pleasant journey. We were then each treated to a bag of tasty snacks and a choice of bottles of fresh juice or water. We were also informed that due to an unfortunate mix-up between the coach company and the Euro Shuttle operators, that we would travel across by ferry instead. This was generally accepted and all settled down to a very pleasant drive to Dover. We hardly wasted much time in boarding the ferry (thankfully, no one had left their passports at home) and within the hour, we were on French soil. We then drove to Boulogne in time for lunch. It was a glorious sunny and warm day and the 2 hours there passed really pleasantly.
Then on to the immense Hypermarket, where thanks to the foresight of Norma Menezes-Rahim in providing us with a handy list of the £ = € conversion, a lot of goodies were happily purchased! Soon, it was time to return to catch the ferry but not before another stopover to a second hypermarket specialising in booze.
Everyone was in high spirits by the return journey back to London, lustily singing old English and Konkani tunes whilst young Martin Gracias – not to be outdone by the oldies – impressed us with his own impromptu and sweet voice.
It was a very enjoyable and well-organised trip by the GOA and thanks should especially go to Flavio and Bernie Gracias, together with Norma and Rosy from the Ruby Social Committee for making it so.
By Anita Rebello