Leaving Goa for the second time

Trip Start Jan 21, 2007
Trip End ??? ??, 2008

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Where I stayed
Sairaj Guesthouse

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

First of all, only one thing to say and that's thank god for broadband!  Have finally tracked down a broadband internet cafe chain, uploading photos is even possible!

So I said in my last entry I was heading back to Goa for a few days.  Just over 4 weeks later that's me finally leaving!

I arrived on a Saturday morning at something stupid like 6am in Mapusa, which is a biggish town in north Goa.  Bus journey was quite unpleasant as expected.   I had booked a single berth, but when I got on the bus I was shown it and it was only about two thirds normal size.  So as I wouldn't have fitted in, I had to share a double with another girl.  She was very nice and all but it's a very small space to sleep next to a stranger and the bus drivers are crazy which means it's difficult not to roll about from side to side.  Anyway made it in one piece, hopefully that'll be my last experience with Indian sleeper buses but I doubt it.

I got the bus to Calangute and found myself a room there with the help of an overly helpful Kashmiri man.  Only stayed there one night as for just over a week after that I stayed with my friend Sanjay in his apartment.  Nice to have some home comforts, like washing machine, big TV, microwave etc.  I did over stay my welcome a little there however as I had said I was only coming for a few nights.

So then moved out into a guest house in Baga (just next to Beira Mar for people who've been) so excellent location, just 5 mins walk from the beach and all the bars. 

Lots has changed in Goa this year.  The police are now strictly enforcing a music law that states no amplified music can be played after 10pm (except inside).  So this means that no bars have music after 10, Mambos (outdoor nightclub - where I spent every night on holiday last year) has knocked down the very small inside bit they already had and built a new inside bit where they can play music.  There is no music in the rest of it and it's pretty much dead.  Although saying that, there seemed to be a bit of law flouting going on just before I left.  Club Cubana (outdoor nightclub at the top of a hill - they have ladies night on a Wed when entry and all drinks are free!) is still going strong, music law doesn't seem to apply there for some reason.  So apart from Club Cubana, really the nightlife isn't great this year at all.

I was just planning to leave Goa when I met 3 Scottish girls, Julie, Lynne and Jane.  They were a lot of fun so I stuck around a bit longer and hung out with them.  Only problem with hanging out with tourists is spending money.  Vodka red bull is not in a backpacker's budget!  The girls' Canadian friend Chad came over from Thailand, where he has been travelling, to visit them and once they left stayed on with me.  Having a roomie fairly cuts down the cost of the guest house, but he moved out after about a week due to wanting his own room and also his complaining that the room smelt of mothballs and was "soggy".  It is true actually, the room never got the sun which meant that it was always a bit damp with the humidity.  Anyway Chad has moved on to Panjim (the capital of Goa) to volunteer in an orphanage for a week or two before he goes back to Thailand, so unfortunately I had to say farewell on Sunday but hopefully we'll meet again in Thailand.

I haven't done much of note in Goa at all, it's been very much lying on the beach all day and drinking at night.  Chad and I went to Panjim one day for a little bit of shopping and sightseeing and to the movies.  Panjim is a nice city, it has a nice "promenade" which was built for the Indian Film Festival and looks like it could belong in the south of France.  That's if you hold your nose and don't smell the stink of the River Mandovi!  We went to see Red which is my first Bollywood movie.  I really enjoyed it and although it was mostly in Hindi we managed to follow the story ok, partly because they throw in some random English now and then!  I had also been to the movies there already to see Ghostrider, which was absolute rubbish.  Cinema is very nice though, the seats even recline a little which I would say makes it better than the ones at home.

We were here for the Holi festival.  I'm not actually sure what it's all about, Chad heard it was something to do with getting rid of evil spirits with colour.  Anyway it basically involves covering each other in powder paint!  We woke up one morning to hear what sounded like a concert going on virtually outside our door.  On investigation turned out to to be the Beira Mar (hotel next door) with massive speakers playing Hindi music and giving out free beer and covering people with paint.  Excellent fun although I ruined a bikini and a top!

I also went to visit a porcupine called Peta at the request of Eleanor Cook!  I had to go into a bar and say "Is this where they porcupine lives?"  Eleanor knew this porcupine from holidays there 3 or 4 years ago, so I had to go and check it is still alive. It's very much still alive and actually quite interesting as I've never seen one before.  I had to go back 5 times before it would co-operate and let me take decent pictures of it.  I also met it's owner and he said it's only aged 16 and (I think - can't remember exactly) he said they live til they're 30 so should be ok for a few years yet!

Chad and I also took a walk down the beach from Baga to Candolim which is the next but one town.  There is a ship there called the River Princess which ran aground in 2000 or 2001 and has been sitting just off the beach rusting ever since.  Bit of an eye sore when you're sunbathing!  They're finally working on it now and it supposedly being moved this month (March).  We'll see!  Whole walk there and back took us about 3 and a half hours - don't know why I haven't lost any weight yet, the amount of walking I'm doing!

I was planning to move onto Gokarna next, which is a town just a couple of hours south of Goa in the state of Karnataka.  But since I've overstayed so badly in Goa I've decided to give that a miss and go straight to Kerala.  Managed to book a train ticket with only minor inconvenience.  For some reason travel agents here can't book them electronically the way they can in other parts of India, they have to send a person to Panjim to do it!  So I went to Panjim and managed to get a ticket for only a day later than I wanted.  15 hours in cheap sleeper class on the train, I'm sure it'll be fun!  People keep telling me it's raining in Kerala, it better not be.  The rain isn't supposed to start til May/June but the weather in Goa over the last few days is more like the weather at the end of April, hot and sticky and very very humid at night.  There is a LOT of sweating going on....
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nonyek on

Well, welll, well
Jo, you are making me so incredibly jealous and proud. Every time I read your travel blogs, you seem to be growing in confidence and courage. And you're loving it I bet. Which is why you aren't hassling me about not keeping you up to date with ER and Desp Housewives. Don't worry, you are missing nothing!

Keep on rocking girl, you know that I am living vicariously through you!

Lots of love and hugs,

Ngozi xx

rara0 on

Hello from London

Was good to read your blog update tonight! Am soooo jealous. It seems like a million years since Palolem, the Israelis, Raj and our henna tattoos! I still have the outline of mine on my foot...either it's a tan mark or I've been scarred for life!

Life back home is good but not as good as India! Am planning my next trip already. Sounds like you are having a fabulous time so keep on enjoying, relax, have lots of fun and seize every moment!

Take care

Love Rachelxx

nelliec on

Peta made me smile
Hi Josie,

I am soooooo glad I harrassed you to go and see Peta. The photos made me smile and Drew did too. Impressed that you got photos in daylight...ours are all in the dark but hopefully we will get back to see her sometime soon and see her in daylight too. Glad to hear she might live for a while longer although I have to say her quills look decidedly greyer......awww..... I love Peta the porcupine.

I am so jealous/proud of you....wish I had had the guts to do what you are doing and so look forward to your emails. I looked at the pictures of you and Chad at Holi and wondered what the f*ck the paint was all about before I read your blog....wish I was there instead of working in the poxy hospital where everyone thinks your brain was removed before you got the job! I miss Goa...even the damp and mothballs! Like the look of Chad too...be sure and meet up with him in Thailand and take care who you are rumbling about with on these trains and buses. Seriously....watch what you are doing but enjoy and have a ball.
It has been a lovely few days here. The weather has been great. I love this time of year in the UK.

But...I am 40 on Monday...can you believe that!?

Going to Spain with my primary school pals for a long weekend to the place where we went our first girlie holiday when we were all 18.Scarey.

nelliec on

meant to say I liked the look of the promenade...very chic!

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