It's good to be back with good mates

Trip Start Sep 19, 2012
Trip End Jul 22, 2014

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Flag of India  , Goa,
Thursday, December 5, 2013

5 Dec 2013 to 15 Jan 2014

 It was quite a surreal experience arriving back in Benaulim so early in the morning. Everything was closed and the streets were deserted. I had booked to stay at Gina's apartments so I just dropped my bags and wandered through the village. The German Bakery was in the process of opening up so I ordered breakfast and sat and watched as the village came to life. Recognised some familiar faces of locals and holiday makers and it felt good to be back in a familiar place. 

I returned to my apartment and found Gina who got me settled in and found out my neighbours were my good mate Basti, with his mate Sven and also Christina who I met last year. All from Germany. Once I had unpacked and settled in it was off to the beach and my regular spot from last year, Hawaii Beach Shack. 

Benaulim is is frequented by many people from Europe who come out every year to avoid the miserable winter weather. Some of these people have been coming for over 25 years and will spend up to six months of the year here. Like my friend, Mike (Bastis' uncle), who works during the warmer months and is usually one of the first to arrive in October and the last to leave come March.

The welcome when I walked in was something special. From the staff to people I met last year, I once again realised how good it is to be back among friends. Even though I have made countless friends while traveling, many of these are just passing acquaintances and I will no see most of them again, these folk in Benaulim I got to know well as I was here for 3 months last year. 

Life in this little village is incredibly relaxing. Start with breakfast and then head off to the beach. The days are spent swimming, reading, chatting, playing backgammon, eating, drinking plenty of chai, playing beach games like boules (throw metal marbles as close as possible to a bigger marble), or Kubb ( a Scandinavian game involving throwing sticks at blocks of wood). Both are great fun and can get quite competitive. Having a beer or cocktail as the sun sets is a daily ritual and everyone gets very excited if the sun actually 'sinks' into the water as apposed to disappearing behind the cloud. This is called a touchdown! From here it's back home for a shower and then gather together for dinner at one of the local restaurants. Occasionally there is live music at one of the beach bars and the rest of the night is taken care of. Repeat the process on a daily basis.

If you desire a change, we catch the local bus into Margoa, the local town and usually end up in the local market buying a few odds and ends and enjoying a meal at Longinos, which is the oldest established restaurant in town. A lot of people hire scooters for their stay but I prefer to rent a bicycle. It is about 2 km to the beach and it is a pleasant ride there and back. Once or twice we will get a group together with scooters and head of down the coast stopping in at various sights along the way until we arrive at one of the other beaches in time for lunch and relaxing afternoon before we return in time for cocktails. It's an awesome trip as we pass through little villages, farms and a bit of jungle. There is very little traffic so it is relatively safe to drive.

Even if you want to spend time alone and do you own thing no one bothers you. I can understand why many people keep returning year after year. It is incredibly cheap and even eating out 3 times a day and including accommodation it cost between 150 to 200 SA rand per day.

One evening we organised a bus to attend a German Bierfest in Panjim which is a town about two hours away. All my German friends were looking forward to good a party but when we got there it was a bit disappointing to say the least. There was one imported German beer which was 3 times the normal price for a beer and there was no German band or music. The music was supplied by a local on a Casio keyboard and his mate playing the violin. There was some good German sausages with sauerkraut and potato salad and a few pastries, cakes and traditional Stollen Christmas cake. Anyway it was still a fun night and the highlight was that I won first prize in the raffle which cost 10 rupees a ticket. The prize consisted of a brilliant backpack with a built in solar panel and speakers so that you can recharge your mobile phone or camera while on the move. Unfortunately it did not come with the power pack/inverter so it was not much good. (I eventually got one in Malaysia). There was also a bottle of liqueur and 1500 rupees vouchers to a beauty saloon, which I gave to Christina as I'm already beautiful enough. All in all it was worth about 4500 rupees. I just wonder, can I convert the solar backpack into a jet pack to get around with???

Christmas and New Year were relatively quiet but we did have a few good parties with the regular crowd which usually ended up at Hawaii Beach Shack watching the fireworks display. I have enjoyed my six weeks in Goa and I'm sure I will return in the future. There is something about India that appeals to me. My next stage of my journey is a train trip to Kochi where I fly back to Malaysia and have a paying job for most of the year but more of that in my next blog.

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Stroopie on

Hey Padda - I know that you re slow but 3 months??? wtf - or am I still confused regards your timeline!
Glad you are enjoying, anyway.

Totsiens (most accurate Afrikaans word apart from 'Biltong'.

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