And we're back!
Trip Start May 09, 2011
16Trip End Apr 22, 2012
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As i've already stressed, its pretty tough to make plans in India. Today was no exception. Our bus was due to take us to South Goa (where we hadn't been); however, on arrival at 6am they booted us off in Panjim which is very near to Mapusa bus station - NORTH GOA, where we had previously been when in Goa 1 week ago. As it was so early, everywhere was pretty dead, and the easiest option was to find a room for a night and head down south the following day. We picked a beach out of thin air (too early for fishing out the lonely planet) and asked the only taxi driver at the station to take us there; Baga. As it was the ONLY taxi there we were sharing the taxi with an English guy from Divisers called Michael. Nearly in Baga and the taxi driver advised us that the cheapest accomodation there wasn't cheap as the Indian tourists venture there for the start of the monsoon season - we then twigged and realised an Australian guy had told us this a few weeks ago. Oops. Therefore, we headed back to Arambol as thats where this guy Michael was going and the taxi driver was annoyed he had gone out of his way. I LOVED Arambol so i wasnt complaining. All the Indian locals who worked in the shops and bars couldn't be nicer to you. So as expected when we returned we were welcomed with coffee, breakfast and the same room we had 1 week ago.
BUT this time, Goa was different. HELLO MONSOON. The electricity pilons were sparking non-stop, there was no electric when we arrived (for 2 days) and as Arambol beach was at the bottom of a hill the water had washed down all the rubbish on to beach. The tide was constantly very far in and lots of the restaurants had closed for the season. I know, I know, it sounds like a bloody nightmare but it was an amazing thing to see. Fun too. It rained allllll night and every few hours for an hour throughout the day. We spoke with some of the local guys that were left who said everything will close soon and they will all go home to their families for the season - with this in mind we changed our flight date to 12th June from Mumbai - this meant we had 7 days left in the monsoon and were pretty much stuck where we were. Mind you, some people were arriving just for the monsson season and the Indian tourists seem to only appear when it was raining - it was getting much quieter now.
The amount of dogs seemed excentuated too as they were confind to a much smaller area of the beach. They fought amongst each other a lot and we also noticed how bad some of the indians beat them (they really were scared of humans though so no agression towards us). There were quite a few with hot water burns all down their backs or a leg dangling which had been broken and left. Obviously I took a liking to some of them and had two favourites - Bernie - who was hit by a car when he was a puppy and had a huge black scar all down his back (I knew this as a Portuguese guy who owned the bar feeds all of the dogs chicken feet on a daily basis - also note North Goa is known to have a Portugeuse influence) and Scatty or Scatman - named because he was absolutely crazy and bounced around everywhere. One night I even got back to the room to find they had sneaked in and were sleeping on my backpack!! Little scamps!!
We woke up the one morning and sun was shining so we decided to jump out of bed and make the most of it. Two Indian guys who run the tattoo shop there come along I took some amazing photos and had a dip in the sea. All was good until Jhon and Kieran told us it was about to rain. This was bad as when the showers come it isn't advisable to stand out in it. We ran for cover and sat under a fishing boat for around an hour until it cleared. The walk back via the beach was crazy. A load of fish had been washed up and were flapping around. I saw tuna and some strange transparent fish that looked like an eel. Then there a rather small fish splashing about in a puddle and all the dogs were crowding around. I took a photo and low and behold it started puffing up its stomach and pertruding spikes were everywhere!! PUFFER FISH!!
It was getting towards the end of our India trip and we starting saying bye to everyone we had met. Just before some of the local guys left they told me they were going to climb up a small mountain at the edge of the sea to pray to their God and obviously I wanted to go with them!! (note here that a lot of them drink, date western girls and generally live like a tourist but still go home to their family and pray to their God). It was a steep climb, specially bare foor as no shoes allowed on the mountain, but it was an amazing view when we eventually got there. All the guys queued up, bowed down and spoke to their God. These were guys I had been partying with until 6am every morning. It was really strange.
When I first arrived in India I didn't know how I was going to last 5 days let alone 5 weeks but when our final day arrived I have to admit it was emotional. I met some friends for life in Goa, mostly locals, and I will definitely be returning.
P.s I had the last tattoo of the season in Arambol. Pictures to follow.