North Goa

Trip Start Jan 03, 2012
Trip End May 02, 2013

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Flag of India  , Goa,
Thursday, December 13, 2012

On the way to Margao we sat up in the bus' front enclosure. The going was breezy but the frequent stops kept us perspiring.  Once there we switched to another bus bound for Panaji.  Instead of catching a third bus and either fourth bus or second rickshaw, we caved and took a taxi the rest of the way.

Village Susegat had great signs posted for the first few turns, but then they disappeared so we had to ask for directions.  When we arrived the last few road signs were stacked against a hut, waiting to be placed.

A stone walkway led down between the brilliantly built huts on either side.  Di greeted us and checked us into number ten.  Her and her husband Steve from England had been coming to Goa for many years before finally deciding to call it home and start the business.  With monogrammed white cotton sheets and plush towels, we knew we were in a good place. 

Amazingly, all of the huts have to be taken down and packed up before every monsoon season and rebuilt again after the devastating rains.  Nature still has the power to determine the fate and prosperity of millions, if not billions of people all over the world.

Our first impression of Morjim Beach was that it was less idyllic than Patnem or Agonda.  It was wide and flat, with about a hundred metres separating sparse beach chairs from the lapping waves.  We set our blanket down on the hard packed sand nearer the water.  Sylvia read facing inland while Jason listened to music and promptly fell asleep.  His eyes opened as a few younger Indian boys approached, pointing and laughing.  The reason soon became clear as a murky rogue wave made its way onto the flats and soaked our blanket along with everything on top.  We jumped up, grabbed everything and moved to higher ground.  When it wouldn't turn on, Jason thought his iPod Touch was toast again.  After brushing it off, drying it out overnight and charging it in the morning it came back to life, briefly, then died again.

Later on we took a walk down to the mouth of a large river flowing into the sea.  The land changed dimensions rapidly with the tide so we had to be on alert once again.  We passed the first Ridley turtle nest of the year and were pleased to see that it was well protected.

We returned to Village Susegat for dinner where Sylvia ordered masala prawns and Jason tandoori chicken.  The latter was much tastier and more plentiful.  We shared as usual.

Sylvia's birthday began with a pot of Tetley tea beside a bacon and egg breakfast sandwich.  Jason savoured the sweetness of pancakes with maple syrup and bacon.  Afterward we washed some of our clothes, hung them out to dry and headed for the beach again.

In the breezy afternoon the kitesurfers came out in droves.  We wiled away a windy happy hour on the beach with a large Kingfisher for 90 rupees (~$1.65) and a roll of Oreos.  Chaplin also made an appearance on the big day.

After freshening up we took a sunset stroll along the sand and had a fantastic birthday dinner at La Plage.  Sylvia had prawn ravioli followed by calamari and saffron risotto.  Jason chose fish carpaccio then a red snapper fillet with stewed vegetables.  The night was capped off by the staff singing and bringing Sylvia a chocolate cake with cream in a ring of fresh flowers.  It was indeed a happy birthday.

The next morning the usual stray dogs hassled a herd of sacred cows roaming the sand.  We took a wonderful walk along the endless beaches further north.  There was something new around every rocky headland.  After fording a small, swift river we found a short crescent-shaped stretch of sand with the ideal slope for laying back and worshipping the sun. 

Sylvia continued to lose herself in the pages of 'The Rice Mother’ while Jason, after losing his ‘Touch’, wrote blog notes using pen and paper.  The surging sea suspended sand particles and the sun made them shimmer like gold.  The clock struck 12-12-12 12:12:12 and we were happy that the Mayans were wrong about the end of the world occurring during our year off.

Walking back the way we’d come, low tide made it look like another world with exposed red rocks and tide pools surrounding them.  We had lunch at the aptly named Paradise Beach Shack on Ashvem Beach.  Splitting up for happy hour, Sylvia enjoyed a banana cardamom lassi at Village Susegat while Jason downed another big Kingfisher on the beach.

It was another spectacular Goan sunset.  Jason shot a long video and his camera crashed immediately afterward.  Clearly, he was not having much luck with electronics.  Sylvia was on a mission to finish the 580 page book she’d borrowed in under three days.  As with most things she set her mind to, she did it.

Along with the satisfaction of our choice to have splurged a little near the end of our trip came the sadness of having to leave such places.  We enjoyed another big breakfast at Rainbow Restaurant and said our many goodbyes.

From the comfort of our cab we saw families sleeping in makeshift tents of patchwork cloth and black tarpaulin under huge billboards promoting world famous DJ parties at Goa’s posh resorts.  Several larger shops had Christmas decorations and greetings in their windows.  Tourism had clearly worked wonders for some of Goa.  There were proper highways and orderly traffic.  Surprisingly, we witnessed one of the few accidents we’d seen in India there.

We crossed several long bridges over wide waterways, some with mangrove forests sheltering their swollen banks.  Rusted ships rested in their retirement.  The palms stood tall but aloof, eyeing the surrounding scenes with little concern.

There seemed to be very little that was middle of the road in India.  Everyone and everything was either rich or poor, flooded or arid, clean or filthy, expensive or cheap, switched on or off.  We whizzed past a few lovely temples, but we weren’t pressing for pictures any longer.  Instead we sat back and let our absorbent eyes take it all in.  Of course, it didn’t help that Jason’s camera was no longer working.

At the airport, we once again had to pay to get our itinerary printed before security would let us in.
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Amanda on

Happy Birthday Sylvia!

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