The beaches

Trip Start Dec 30, 2006
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47
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Trip End Jul 27, 2007


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Flag of India  ,
Monday, May 7, 2007

"Like Britney Spears, I wear no drawers" 

That may not be true, exactly...but it is stuck in my head from a song I heard recently.  It also has nothing to do with Baga, one of the many beaches in Northern Goa where I decided to stay.

Baga is a pretty good location, beach-wise, in Goa.  A little north of Calangute beach, which is package tour central and a little south of Anjuna beach, which is where all the die-hard hippies went to live after the 60s.  I can only take so much of the dirty hippies so I didn't want to stay in their enclave.  Baga is small but has a good mix of different people.

There are definitely people in town (tourists, that is) but you can tell that the season is fast coming to an end.  No endless throngs like would have been here a couple months ago since the monsoons are expected to start up within a couple weeks.  During monsoon season, for about four months, Goa essentially shuts down, so I came at the tail end of the tourist season.  Weather is nice but a little warmer now as humidity has started to rise in preparation of the impending monsoons. 

I saw a couple of "pre-monsoon" storms in Mysore and Mangalore and they are impressive thunderstorms.  There was no rain or thunder in Goa during my week thankfully.  Just one sunburned Canadian.

Goa is a good place to sit on the beach and drink.  Very tranquil and relaxing.  A number of different beaches along the coast have different vibes and I rented a scooter for a few days to explore some of the other areas away from Baga.  I don't think I have ever actually driven a scooter before and, in hindsight, learning to drive one in India was probably not a wise decision.  I have ridden motorbikes as a kid - maybe 15 years ago - and they say you never forget to ride a bike once you've learned, so I tested that theory.

Here's a tip for anyone thinking of riding a bike in India.  First, find the horn.  You'll need to make sure your horn works well because you will be using it often.  It is probably the most important part of your bike.  Second, find the accelerator.  You will need this often as well.  Brakes and turn signals are entirely optional.  Use them if you are a wuss.  Scooty the scooter was sweet.  I might have to get a scooter when I get back to Canada...a much faster way to get around short distances and very easy on gas.

Every Wednesday is the Anjuna flea market - a.k.a. The hippie market, 'cause it was started in the 60's by hippies looking to trade their love beads for bongs (or something like that).  Not all hippies became respectable - some of them just game to Goa to get away from the "man", man. 

The flea market was a wild mix of fabrics, earing's, bongs, love beads, a couple restaurants and pretty much anything you could want.  It even had a cow who could break-dance.  I kid you not.  I saw it with my own two eyes.  That cow could put Britney Spears to shame and no, I don't think she (the cow) was wearing any drawers either.  It also has very aggressive sellers who will try to gouge you for anything.  Bargain hard.  If you pay even half of what they first offer you've been taken.

The beaches of Goa are nice.  Very clean, some good times.  I've never been to the Caribbean but this is similar to what I imagine it would be like down there.  Minus the hippies of course.  A bit more expensive than other parts of India but still a good value overall.

South of Baga, at Fort Aguada beach, nearer to Panaji, is the prison.  It houses mostly foreign tourists caught with drugs in Goa (remember those hippies?). I didn't go to the prison myself cause I'm smarter than your average hippie...but next to the prison is an old fort built in 1612 by the Portuguese for incoming ships from Lisbon.  I'm not sure how the ships even saw the old lighthouse back in the day, considering it is not that tall and rather in and up from the sea but it was built anyways. 

A taller "new" lighthouse is nearby but it doesn't look very visible either - or very effective.  Maybe that's why a freighter is grounded off the beach of Fort Aguada and has been sitting there for a few years because no one will take responsibility for getting rid of it.

I ended up catching an overnight bus to Mumbai from the nearby town of Mapusa, about 4km or so from Baga.  'Caught a ride into Mapusa with a group of three horny guys, looking to get some "boom-boom" that night.  I wished them luck and got ready for a twelve hour ride to Mumbai.  Nice.  Those guys are getting "boom-boom" and I got some big Indian dude cuddling me all night in his sleep on the bus.
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