Delhi NY, Goa Beach life & Pushkar Memory Lane
Trip Start Sep 30, 2011
32Trip End Oct 16, 2014
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After dropping him off in Delhi to go and meet his mum again, I continued to a friend's house to crash as his place for a few lovely days over New Year. 2014 started with oliebollen, Dutch recipe, lots of wine, and the company of some special people, amongst them Charles, another great Delhi friend. Delhi is shit for park&live, but every time I enjoy the meetings with friends, and strolling through Pahar Ganj backpacker area for a bit. Not too long though, after my passport is in progress, I am off…down to Goa.
I cannot believe it myself when I say it out loud, but I have been driving around India and Nepal for over 4 years now. Yet somehow never made it down to famous Goa beach, nor back to Pushkar, in Rajasthan. My journey has taken me to the North East, the North West and in between, but never to the South of India. As I am about to drive back to the Netherlands again, I really wanted to experience the Park&Live on the beach life myself. Lots of overlanders told me Agonda beach is heaven, so decided to check it out.
The way down, well only halfway India really, is long…like driving from the Netherlands to Spain. Taking the toll roads, yes there are some in India, is the quickest way. My van is often classified as category 2: LCV (Light Commercial Vehicle). But of course I talked them down to category one, as my van is not commercial! It worked… most of the time! On the way back up I tried it differently: I just told them 'foreign licence plate ko gari he’, meaning it is a car with a foreign licence plate… and waited. Most of the booth boys had no clue what to do and let us drive off paying nothing! VIP category hahaha.
So after driving for 5 days non stop, parking and sleeping mostly at road dhabas (little
Agonda beach is rather quiet, with some restaurants, few tourist shops and yoga sessions on offer. So for all you Goa-party people, this is not the place! Better head for Anjuna or Arambol. Bur for me, living in my van…. If was HEAVEN!!! At the far left side I could park my van right at the beach next to a palm tree! Perfect spot for my hammock and ocean view as soon as I opened my door in the morning! The water man coming to our part of the beach every morning, the fish guy passing by, home-made honey sold on my van-step! And with my bicycle going to the bakery and fresh fruit&veg shop, just around the corner. JOEHOE! Falling asleep with the sound of ocean waves, Haku running around, jumping in the ocean, or trying to catch beach crabs, me going for morning beach walks/jogs, evening campfires, overlander evenings, and an Indian cooking class….Just HEAVEN. Why did I not come done here every year ;-)
Inge, Akshat and two friends also came to visit me in Agonda for a few days, and later on it was reunion time with Bob and Lulu. I had not seen them since their wedding 2 years before. From the start is was like old times, with Haku jumping around us all. Time allowed us to spend a few relaxed days at the beach together, and then we set off to Pushkar, the place where we met for the first time, over 4 years ago.
After some long days driving back up the highway again, this time without paying any toll tax, sleeping all together in the van, we were back in Rajasthan. Greeted by the camels, desert dunes, and old fortress gates. The Pushkar gate welcoming us just before sunset. A few days down memory lane it would be. I parked at the back of magical Pushkar lake, with Haku running around with the monkeys, street dogs, and the cows. Drinking chai at the Gopal’s chai shop on the market, a fruit juice from Sonu, and losts of shopping! As I am about the leave this area of the world soon, I loved to take with me some Indian items that will bring a smile to my face when I see and use them later. As I am not a shopping person at all…. Lulu proved to be a great partner in crime. Thanks lady for the patience and advice!
Pushkar…. Hello-to-the-queen dessert, chai drinking sessions, many hello-again moments,
Too soon my visa expiry date was closing in on me, so after a quick-stop in Delhi to pick up my new passport, and a tea with fellow-overlanders Peter and Jen, it was time to drive back to the Banbasa border again. Of course one evening in Rudrapur, meeting Bhooi and the kids is part of my by now routine trip. And this time I made it right on time back at the desks of the Immigration and Customs to say Hello-Again! Once more. They know me there by now, as I always cross at the same border town.
By now I have been back in Nepal for almost two months again… story and photos to follow this week….