Goa, sunburn and cycles
Trip Start Feb 24, 2010
30Trip End Sep 06, 2010
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I'm sat in our beach shack on the coast of Palolem, S. Goa writing to you today and for the first time in weeks I actually feel like we've done something that relates to the day of the week. By this I mean I have sat in front of a big screen, had a few beers watching sport, and Kal has been... er.... elsewhere.. I think. Super Sport Sundays, can't beat em. Only difference is in England it would be mostly motor-sport, here we had F1, cricket and tennis (10 minutes of tennis before the bar staff wondered why that old computer game all of a sudden was being played by men, looked at each other confused and switched it off).
So then, North Goa. Number 1 package holiday destination in India. For parts of it that is, all that can be said of it, actually I need to remind myself here that I'm writing this on behalf of Kal too
My version: I saw beyond the European package holiday makers to a nice sandy beach, warm clear blue sea and no locals trying to get a glimpse of skin (this was Candolim)...however...moving on to Calangute and Baga – I agree with Simon...Blackpool/ Torremelinos! (Kal)
Ahem, thanks for that Kal
Now, remember just before I slated Goa I prefixed my ramble with 'parts of'? I was talking very specifically about Candolim, Calangute and Baga. Three small coastal towns in the state of Goa in which the package holiday community congregate i.e. fat Europeans sweating into the largest portions of curry (or chips and beer) humanly possible. I swear the chefs deliberately under salt the food to compensate! The rest of Goa is bloody gorgeous, a green tropical paradise blooming with life, colour and crops not to mention what seem like hundreds of rivers terminating in the Arabic Sea. I think I've crossed more bridges here than in the rest of my life put together. As much as the rest of India is like walking through Victorian Britain, everything so old fashioned and antiquated, Goa is the same but with a much more obvious charm. E.G. Fishing is not commercialised at all. We stumbled across a fish market and I kid you not was the tiniest harbour and there were about 7 boats just pulled up selling their catch and that was it. It was sold direct to the cook of the house and restaurateurs, no middle man anywhere. In fact one lady bought half a carrier bag of squid for 60rs (90p) and ever since I've been trying to convince Kal we should get loads of mixed fish and cook it over an open beach fire, second appeal for help ;)
In order to escape the blubber of the resorts we hired a scooter, at first for 1 day. With trepidation I set out on my own to learn some of the 'etiquette' of driving on Indian roads. I had been studying the roads and behaviours for a few weeks anyway in case such a situation should arise and the key observation had been that the safest drivers will always concede defeat if needed and use skill, timing and knowledge of the machines ability to make back lost ground from the concession
Can I add here – the beaches up'north were pristine, idyllic and amazing (Kal)
You mean in the far North where we had to travel by scooter I hope? (Simon)
LOL, yeah (Kal)
After travelling North on the first day and returning all in one piece, we decided to extend the hire and use the bike the next day to travel South to Central Goa, see the sights of Old Goa (once the old Capital) and visit a spice farm. We had already been to Panaji (New Goa capital) which was nice but quite small and uninspiring and expected a little more from Old Goa. The place was steeped in history and is home to the biggest bell in Asia – on the cathedral, which is also the biggest church in Asia. We couldn't see much else worth checking properly so moved on before the heat rose too much and after about 3 hours of riding to find the spice farm were not surprised to find the tour was just a guided walk around a large garden with an example of each spice planted there. It would have been nice to walk around the actual plantation itself seeing how the plants grow in a farm situation but it wasn't to be, so we gorged ourselves on the 'free' buffet to make up for it.
We are now in South Goa in a place called Agonda which is like a deserted island paradise. Nothing really to do but sit back and enjoy the view. Oh, the waves are so strong that you don't need a board to go surfing