Trip Start Feb 07, 2007
69Trip End Ongoing
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We even had our first attempted bribe from one of the local bent coppers. We argued with him and ended up getting away! Sux to him!
Peace out......... Did I just say that? The bloody hippies are brainwashing me!
We have now spent a week on Palolem Beach, constantly amazed at how much busier it is from 5 years ago.... the beach a messy clutter of local fishing boats, sun lounges, 'cocohuts', packs of dogs and the inherent dog turds, sarong sellers etc. etc. The beach is so lined with 'temporary' accommodation (that each June is pulled down, as per licensing laws, then put back up next October) that it's surprising the crescent shaped beach doesn't collapse under the pressure! We landed at the same place we stayed last time and got a hut right on the beach - great view at sunset, as you can see from the photos, but also front row seats for the nocturnal noises - drunken laughing and singing, packs of howling dogs, groups of Israelis arriving at dawn and arguing with touts right outside our door - and our only protection for this is our ply wood walls! We actually bought some Indian style ear plugs (with rope attached in case your ears swallow them!) to try and get some sleep!
We had lots of beautiful early morning walks to watch sunrise and lovely swimming at Palolem, but the novelty soon wore off.
a couple of days ago I got the traveller's curse (the toilet one)... Tim's had a minor bout already and I knew it was my turn. Of course, having had a marathon battle with this curse before it was more than slightly disturbing when the all too familiar gushing returned. I became way too obsessive about my bowels on our overland trip - perhaps because their state determined whether or not i could eat, whether we could move on, whether we could do any sight seeing etc. I'm determined not to become too focussed this time on the gurgling in my bowels - and you've all heard it before, right! Luckily it only lasted 24 hours and although i had a terrible night of feeling achy and uncomfortable, i seem to be OK now (touch wood and whistle collectively). However, the howling dogs and thumping music that accompanied my painful cramps and writhing was the straw that broke the camels back!
So, we packed up the next morning and rode the bike south. We'd already discovered a beach called Galgibaga (Turtle Beach) that some guy had told Tim about. It is completely the opposite to Palolem - fringed with tall she-oaks, rather than coconut palms, devoid of any accommodation and completely deserted. The beach is long with white sand and clear water and there is a small river mouth at one end, with mangroves in behind. There are eagles galore soaring in the sky and it's so peaceful. There are currently 2 turtle nests on the beach, fenced off and labelled - apparently hatching in a few weeks. The first day we came we didn't see any tourists, except for a group of Indian men playing a game of cricket. When they left we had the place to ourselves. Most days only a couple of tourists turn up on motorbikes or in rickshaws, then leave a couple of hours later.
There are 3 shacks on the beach where you can get food - there's no menus, but you can get fresh seafood and veg food if you ask. We've attached ourselves to one called 'Family Fruits Shop' where we have made friends with the people who run it. Tim has so far feasted on squid, mussels and lobster here - literally pulled fresh from the sea. One day when we arrived, we watched a local man labouring along in hip deep water parallel to the beach, dragging something behind him with floats attached. Our guy from the shack waved him in and Tim went to investigate. He had a good 60kg of huge green mussels in his basket and this was his way of transporting them back from the rocky point where he collected them! He was exhausted. Our friend explained that this guy has the most dangerous job in India - he swims out to the rocky point and uses a rock to drag him down to the sea floor where he uses his knife to collect as many mussels as he can on one breath. He then comes up, puts his mussels in his floating basket and repeats the process! So the mussels came from over yonder and were soon on Tim's plate and even sooner in his stomach...
Our friend has offered a small palm frond hut for accommodation - more of a lean-to really for 100 rupees a night (A$3). We're planning on coming to stay here for the last night of Holi on the 1st March as there will be celebrations on the beach and also the family will make special food. Meanwhile we're staying in a small village called Talpon which is about 5 minutes ride north at the next river mouth. This place is tiny and doesn't rely on tourism at all - there's not even a restaurant here, so we have to get on the bike to get food. We're staying in a small family run guesthouse which has four rooms facing the river mouth.