Yesterday evening we went out to Katara, the cultural village on the far side of the bay. It’s a modern creation housing art galleries, restaurants, a theatre and the open air amphitheatre where we watched Aida. For hundreds of years fishermen, pearl-divers, and traders from Africa to India relied on the dhow for their livelihood. There are still working dhows moored in the bay.
All this week Katara Beach has been the venue for the International Dhow Festival, featuring over 100 boats moored alongside pontoons off the beach.
As we arrived pyrotechnics were set of along the beach.
The evening at Katara started with a really excellent meal at the Saffron Restaurant. We went for the 5 course South Indian option…. main course of Goan Lamb Vinadalao and Nariyal Jhinga – prawns poached in coconut with chili masala, scented with lime. Perfect except that restaurants in Katara are dry, so a 7-Up rather than a beer.
There was way too much food. The manager explained that they originally started with more sensibly sized amounts of food but the local clientele requested larger portions, possibly in pursuit their ambition to become the diabetes capital of the region.
At 8pm there was an amazing and spectacularly choreographed low level fireworks display.
We wandered along the pontoons, on and off the dhows.
There was also small exhibitions and displays along the beach and musicians and performers at various locations.
What was most striking was the well mannered and good natured atmosphere. No rowdy behaviour, loads of children and families but all well behaved.