Arambol - 33 today, hooray!
Trip Start Sep 09, 2008
86Trip End Aug 17, 2009
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It's been a fabulous five weeks in Goa. It was a real treat having our four friends here with us and now they have all flown back home it's just the two of us again. We are ready to pull up anchor and set off once again, this time to experience the wonders of the Indian subcontinent. Our last two weeks have been lazy, as usual, but we have been scooting about, checking out some new places. Last week, we took drive up to Maharashtra, the state above Goa, to check out a little known beach that one or two people had recommended to us. We made our way across a river on a rusty old ferry, drove through some beautiful villages and a maze of paddy fields and arrived at what we were told was 'paradise beach' It did, indeed, live up to it's name and as we left the bikes and walked down to the water's edge we were greeted by crystal clear water and a stretch of pure white sand. There were maybe five other people here and the only noise we could hear was the sound of the ocean and the birds chattering away. A river flowed into the sea and I decided I was going to swim here, rather than in the salty sea. I jumped in and the cool, fresh water felt amazing against my skin, that had taken a pounding from the sun after the long scooter ride. Mish was about to jump in with me but then I spotted a water snake swimming two feet away from me and she didn't fancy it anymore. On our way back to the scooter we found the ruins of an old, Portuguese fort and went exploring through the maze of crumbling ramparts and towers. I nearly walked head first into a banana spider after not paying attention to where I was going. Luckily, I looked up just in time to see it dangling a foot away from my face, at head height. I jumped back, the spider jumped back and Mish jumped, not knowing what was going on. When I showed her what had startled me she did what most girls would have done, she shrieked and demanded we make a quick exit. The sighting of a snake climbing a wall on our way out didn't help matters. I used to love Tarzan as a kid, but the spider was a little too close for comfort and Mish definitely didn't enjoy her role as Jane!
One morning I ventured out early and wandered along the beach, passing people practicing Yoga as the sun came up above the palm trees. I found around twenty fisherman who were busy dragging in a huge net that they had laid . I waited there for around an hour, eager to glimpse what was in their nets. When it was finally hauled out onto the beach I walked along, inspecting the catch which consisted of various fish, crabs, squid, prawns and sea snakes. They kept everything, apart from the sea snakes which they threw back. I wouldn't have fancied handling the snakes but these guys are pros and they just grabbed them by the tail and tossed them back into the sea. What did make me chuckle was the reaction of a couple of unsuspecting people who suddenly found a sea snake at their feet. Two Japanese ladies jumped back in horror as their casual walk along the beach took a whole new turn of events. I'd seen enough and went to my local bar to grab a coffee and watch the sun rise.
A few days ago, we hired a scooter and went from one end of Goa to the other, 10km from the Karnatikan border, to a beach called Galgibag. Our friend Russell took us and said that this was a beach he had always wanted to visit but had never as yet. It was by far the cleanest beach I have seen in Goa, so clean in fact that there were turtle nests on the sand, penned in by wire cages to stop the dogs digging up the eggs. We swam in the warm water and had some nice sea food and a few beers in one of only two beach shacks on that stretch of the coast. Afterwards, we drove up to Palolem and had dinner in one of the many beach shacks that cram the shoreline. I visited this beach five years ago and since then it has had a drastic facelift. It used to be a quiet place, but now the crowds have taken over and it has become more like the north of Goa. It's still a nice place though and I wanted Mish to see it for herself. It was a long day, especially traveling all that time on a 100cc scooter. We arrived back home, ate some food and crashed out early.
We have met some more nice travelers including a South African guy, a Norwegian girl and an English couple. We have been eating and drinking in the same bar and having some great chats. What else is there to do when you are having a lazy day?? We have been taught a new game, backgammon, we have seen some great live music with tabla, harps and didgeridoo and taken some nice walks along the coast. It really has been a lovely few weeks here in Goa. Tonight, we are going to Double Dutch, a great local restaurant that serves the best steaks in town. There will be five us so it should be a great night and a good birthday dinner. Tomorrow, we leave for the ruins of Hampi, in the state of Karnataka, and beyond into the vastness of India.