Ravin' Goa

Trip Start Jan 14, 2010
Trip End May 18, 2010

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Flag of India  , Goa,
Saturday, January 23, 2010

The crazy bus ride was
only the first part of our journey to Goa. Goa – that paradise by
the beach, right, former Portuguese colony and therefore influenced
significantly by them. This reflects very much in the kitchen, the
architecture and many names. Probably every third name is De Souza or
some form of it. The Indian railway is one of the things in the
country that function really well. We came to conclude that it is one
of the best ways to travel in India, not least because you meet many
locals on the trains. We booked a sleeper train, non-air conditioned,
to Goa. Think a normal European slightly older inter-city train with
open windows and no compartment doors. In each seating section can be
transformed into 6 sleeping boths, which is really comfortable to
sleep on – even if the general height of the Indian is probably
about 1,75m. In any case, since that night on the bus I went right to
sleep and just woke up when we arrived in Goa. Great stuff.
The first three nights we
spent in Anjuna Beach in North-Goa. North Goa is supposingly the more
active, i.e. Party place. I guess we all have these notions about
Goa, long nights, rave parties on the beach, people dancing
everywhere day and night. Well, although we have seen many Westerners
chasing after parties, riding their motor bikes from one beach to
another at night, we have not been part of that rave-party Goa. But
the bike is definitely a must in Goa, since Goa is the smallest state
in India, but distances are far-stretched. Of course we didn't have
any bikes or scooters for us.

We stayed in a small guest
house fairly close to the beach, and the beach had quite a few bars
playing good techno music in between the palm trees. Although Anjuna
beach was not as stunning and paradise-like as I had expected, but,
man, after a long Norwegian winter and virtually no sun at all, this
was as close to paradise as it could get – including good music on
the beach ;-)

The second night we met
three guys from New Delhi in a restaurant. We were sitting having
paratha and some beer, while while a neighboring table had been
served this deliciously-looking sizzling dishes. Chi went over and
asked if she could taste, and they invited us with great hospitality.
We came to hang out with the three of them, Gaurav, Saurav and Bunny.
They are three best friends that enjoy traveling together, and they
undertook the long journey from New Delhi to Goa by car. I think this
is more than 2000km, and those guys are explorers that had previously
been by car to the norther deserts and the southern tip of India,
were the three seas come together. We had good fun hanging out with
the Delhi guys and they took us around with their car to check out
Goa by night and day. Unfortunately they had to leave two days later,
but we would promise them to come and see them in New Delhi when we
get there.

Also the three of us moved
to a different beach in Goa the next day. We arranged for a guest
house at Palolim beach in South Goa. The owner would only accept our
booking if he sends us his taxi and picks us up. Palolim is a
somewhat quieter beach, and apparently some young tourist that were
more after party would not check in when they came to understand that
South Goa is quiet, or dead. Anyway, a quiet, and much nicer beach,
is just what we were after. So we welcomed the offer. Quite frankly
Palolim was still full of tourist, bars, restaurant and every 5
meters some local kid or seller would jump at you trying to pull you
into his shop: «Come very cheap price, only have a look,.... blah
blah». A pain in the a.. . Chi, however, is a very successful
bargainer, and she would sometimes make the sellers scream at her.
But in the end she would always get the desired article at a fraction
of the price, and the seller would be left with a meager profit.
Those sellers just have too much of an expectation that the tourist
throw the money after them. Big minus point for that.

Anyway, our guest
house, Om Sai, was very good and clean. We got to know the owner,
another Gaurav very well. Gaurav is a now 26-year old business man,
who run successful guest houses and shops in Goa – and a very funny
guy. And he enjoys hanging out with his guests. He invited us to a
beach tour in his private car, and showed us around in the area. It
was just then that we came to understand that there are
quite a fee paradise beaches in Goa. He took us to an old Portuguese
fort, a small beach bay were we had some very delicious Goan chilly
chicken in the sand. We went to a small beach were one of his friends
owned a small guest house consisting of big white Roman tents. We had
home-made Goan fish curry, Chai tea, much swimming in the sea and the
laguna and quite some good fun, when Gaurav started crying about his
baby, his car, that would suffer so much from the bad roads down to
the beaches with all our heavy weight.

We also met Roger, Steve from the UK and Karri from Finland and
enjoyed their company on anything from fishing tours to beer and pool
billiard in the standard bar. Eating! And still Chi, Rosalinda and I
we are all about eating. Every night we would go to a new restaurant
to try new dishes. Each night we learned nothing new and always
ordered way too much, and had to roll the way home later. But most of
the time we found very good food – not least to mention the
elaborate sea food and fish platters have had: fresh white and red
snapper, king fish, hammer head shark, squid, tiger and king prawns
and that all garnished on a big platter on a table right on the
beach. HMMMMM!

A day we eventually rented a few bikes. Roger had organized them for
us. Roger, Steve, Rosa, Chi and I went on three scooters to Margao, a
bigger city some 35 km away. On the way through the Goan landscape –
cashew nuts trees, banana, rice and patty fields, masses of palm
trees and Hindu temples – finally one sees more than just the
touristy beaches. I could only survive the ride by borrowing a pair
of sunshades from Steve for there was too much wind for my eyes.
Other than that it was an enjoyable ride, me being on the back of
Chi's scooter. You know guys, I am not much of a scooter driver, and
then left-side traffic and crazy driving styles – I rather leave
that to someone that knows how to handle that from experience. Quick
late lunch ion Margao – again way too much food for all of us –
and then back to Palolim. Our faces and skin were almost black when
we arrived back, so much smog, dirt and dust is in the air everywhere
in India.

Our life in Palolim is pretty relaxed though. This is a real holiday
from our travel, one could say. Sleeping in, chilled walks to the
cafe, much ready and just enjoying not to have to follow an not to
have to follow any kind of schedule at all.

Nevertheless, I mean, Goa is supposed to be a party place, so we
really were not allowed to restrict ourselves from that. As said,
Palolim is a pretty quite place and all loud music is to be halted
after 10 or 11 pm. But this doesn't mean the party has to stop
altogether. This beach offers quite some good stuff, just that
instead of massive loudspeakers propelling bumping beats and bass and
loud music everyone at the outside parties is wearing headphones.
Right, headphones. Those are all connected to 2 to 3 different Djs
playing pushing techno and house or some funk and party music for the
non-technophiles among us. Those parties are wild, outside and
underneath palm trees. People are dancing and shouting everywhere,
drinking, chatting, enjoying. It all seems like the most normal
thing, no different from any other party one has been to – until
you take of the headphones. Suddenly the music is gone, you see
people moving and dancing, and wonder why, what's wrong with them,
maybe a spastic attack? The entire scenery seems very bizarre, almost
ridiculous. Is this reality or some funny-flick from TV? And then you
put your headphones back on an you understand and things make sense
again, and not long before this contagious ambiance reaches yourself

We had two great headphone parties in Goa, and I do sincerely hope
that this will be adopted to Norway not to long from now. How about
in June, when we are back!?!

Just after seven days in Goa being lazy and living into the day, it
is time for all of us to move on. And we are all looking forward to
see more of India, change location and escape the lazy life, too many
tourists and shop sellers. Next we are opting for Mumbai. Let's see
what this big city brings, Bollywood, slums, and more of India in a
new state: Maharashtra. I am very much looking forward to go to
Mumbai, for the book I am currently reading plays in Mumbai, and I
have read so much about the locations, the people and
enthusiastically follow the 1000 pages of «Shantaram».

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