Damp Goa Heaven...

Trip Start Aug 22, 2005
Trip End Feb 06, 2006

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Flag of India  ,
Wednesday, September 14, 2005

We left Mumbai as the rains began. Our visit on the last day to the India Exhibition brought us dangerously close to the sea and I could tell that just a little more rainfall was going to turn Mumbai into a mudslide again.

We arrived in Goa and headed to Vagator in the North. During peak season it's the party town, but off peak (March-October) it's quiet and peaceful. The only problem was that the monsoon had followed us! so instead of beautiful clear skies and calm blue sea we had rough stormy waves and a grey sky that threatened us everytime we left shelter. It would have been ok, but the place we were staying in was a mosquito hotbed and very very damp. I guess my nose wasn't working when I accepted the room, but putting my head on that pillow was a very real and disgusting shock! To make matters worse I had chosen Vagator as the place to wash my dirty clothes.. so then I smelt of damp. In fact I'm pretty sure I still do.

We decided to move down the coast as we heard the weather was better down there. It was slightly better and the place was tranquility at it's best. We stayed in Palolem for a few days, relaxing and reading. I've rediscovered my ability to devour whole (normal) books in one day. I had almost forgotton what it is like to read a novel! I was also scared by the prospect of picking my own reading list for once...

I like storms so I didn't mind swimming whilst it rained. It took me a while to work up the courage to go deeper as I was afraid of rips, but once I felt it was safe to dive under the waves I had a whale of a time.

The next day we were in the sea again and I suggested to Marcus that we swim out to the island off the coast (about 2km away), except he misheard me and thought I said "shall we swim out past the break", so I guess he felt a little panicked when I started to disappear off into the distance!! He caught up and it took us about 30 mins, the waves making it a case of two steps forward one step backwards. When we reached the island it was beautiful, until we realised that the curve of the beach meant that we could have waded there from the end of the beach... at least it made the return journey easy!

We watched the fishermen bringing in their catch (I've written about it in a 'gratuitious food entry') and took some moonlit strolls along the beach after dinner to work off the squid and prawn red thai curry I had eaten. There is a strange phenomena happening at the moment with the moon - a corona. The astrologers among you will know this is a halo around the moon caused by ice particles in the atmosphere. The fact the halo was absolutely huge meant the particles must have been very high up. It's been an incredible sight the last few weeks and in Palolem it was also a full moon so we were very lucky to be in a place with no light pollution at all.

We eventually realised we had to leave..sob! but we didn't really know where to. We've been hopping place to place as we feel and really haven't had a solid plan as to where we were going. This is good for flexibility but I was starting to panic about missing things out/running out of time! We booked an overnight bus to Bangalore and hoped for the best, but what we didn't realise was that the bus = near death and Paulo Travels = Con Artists... It made for an amusing journey. We were told to be at the bus stop for 7.30pm; the bus actually arrived around 11pm. The pouring rain completely drenched us at about 8pm and when the bus did arrive we realised we had been totally and utterly ripped off! We had been given the delux 'western style cabin'. They had fit two of us into one sleeper bunk and it was missing a curtain/place to put shoes/dryness/bar to keep us from falling on the floor. You see, sleeper cabins in India basically mean a normal coach (but built in the 50s) with a load of 'boxes' above the seats. They are not big enough to stretch out in and wide enough for a small kitten. To add insult to injury they insisted we have our bags in there too... Angry Sarah had her own way however and the bags were put elsewhere. Oh and the 10hr journey took 16... We were glad to get to Bangalore.
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