Monday, February 23, 2009


Wow such a lovely chilled out place its like you are not in india at but you clearly still are! It seems to be a half way stop off point where people travelling north to south or as i was doing south to north, stop for a few days/weeks and so the plan in Goa for most there is to relax, eat well get some yoga in during the day and plenty of music, dancing etc on the beach at night, take scooters and explore the coast and bump into the random people you met the night before! And with this mentality it makes the place very hard to leave!

Anjuna Beach
This place was described by the guide book as the happening place. There was a huge market there on wednesdays, many lovely places to eat and do nothing and the beach was not bad but you couldnt sit there without being plauged by the women wailing 'come look my shhhhoooopppppp' or 'llloooookkkkiiing, lllooooookkkiiing' It was like they all had the same freaky london accent. Come look my shop became a phrase i was really beginning to dislike. Little girls would come sit next to you and would not leave until you promised you'd come look their shop later. It was not my cup of tea.

Dogs chillin out....they usually pick the most inconvenient spot!

This sign is posted about the restaurants....makes for nice reading before your meal..

Paradise or wha? By now banana and coconut trees are the norm....jealous mmm?

The 'come look my shop' shop! It was never open and we used to plague the people asking us to come look their shop, that we wanted to look at come look my shop, shop and this caused great confusion and fun.

See? She's shouting Come look my sshhhooooopppppp....llloooooooking, lllooooooooking....

The nightlife was mostly the same few bars that played the same thing everynight and by about midnight the sea came right up to where the bars began so there is nowhere to go on the beach after the bars closed. I did however find myself a really cheap simple room beside the sea, it had just really basic cold water, electricty (sometimes), the roof was just propped ontop of the walls so there was a big gap you could hear everything in the next room and outside as load as if it was just beside me, the mattress was hard and a little bit ant infested, and the room as painted bright blue. I just loved it!

Resident crazy men

Anjuna had a resident crazy man as i found out later Arambol did also. Anjunas crazy man is called Baba which is a polite name for a holy man. This guy you see during the day with really sporty sunglasses on sitting chatting to the cows and by night he is crazy dancing in one of his favourite bars. The first time i saw him he was dancing with a dog! The story is that he came from the mountains and....well not much else is known and he never failed in his nightly performances! He dances like crazy all night, he fills the bars with energy and for sure everyone is up either dancing with him or taking photos of him within minutes. Unfortunately my camera started breaking at this stage but a friend has excellent footage of him and his crazy dancing ill try and put a youtube like sometime in the future....manana...manana!

Arambol also had a crazy guy, when we first arrived we were sitting on the beach and this noise started up behind me like a chainsaw, i turned around to see what the noise was and there was a guy with his pants down by his ankles, a skirt on and a cowboy hat holding a radio that was making the noise and he says to me 'its energy' then he shuffled about over to a girl sitting on her own in her bikini, shoving the radio in her face and i could see her bursting out laughing! I met him later and he told me he was from Cuba and his wife and kids had left him i couldnt tell whether he was joking or not.
Later during our time in Arambol there was an open mike session where anyone could get up and play an instrument or sing. Anyway there was himself 'energy man' tuning his guitar, i though wow i bet he's crazy but an amazing musician but unfortunately it wasnt such a surprise, he was totally off his head, snapping the strings, mumbling like someone just woken from a deep sleep, sniffing, gurgling and shoating, and just belting the guitar like someone taking out their anger after a bad break-up. In the end after he'd broken all the strings he just got up and hobbled away clearly upset at his performance.

Learning the scooter!

It was a bit of an effort to pull yourself away from the beach but well worth it. I decided to give riding a scooter a go and have a little adventure! The others headed on while i had a strong coffee with a friend, Tulip to get myself ready for the challenge! I have never driven anything motorised so i was hoping it would be pretty similiar to riding a bike! Well the guy asked had a ridden one before i just said shakilyand unconvincingly ' i have but i cant remember can you show me?' But he didnt really care, so off i went down the road with Tulip on the back, swerving all over the place, nipping the mirrors on parked bikes and finally ending up in a ditch, stuck under the bike laughing our heads off!
I found a field and practiced here for an hour or two falling off quite a bit, the major problems i had was with you cant just put your foot down like a bike, and have to move the whole bike with you. Anyway after that practice we headed off to meet the others. Wow indian driving is crazy and its even more crazy the first time you're driving too! Cows chillin on the street, people driving on any ole side of the road, absolutely no patience and horns on full blast! I was gripping the handles of the bike so ridgidly on this first time i road the bike that my arms ached the next day like i had been working out!

I took the bike many times after that each time becoming more and more confident, even getting so good as using my indicator lights, the indians wondering why the hell waste battery power on that! I began to understand that you beep at everyone in your path to let them know something is coming, its kind of a communication between vehicles not a form of aggression and it makes sence. When there was someone walking ahead of me i just do a little beep, they move in without looking and no worries! I did rent one bike however that the horn kept jamming and i would be going through little villages with this horn roaring nothing i could do! I also drove past an elephant one day...i like that!

Juice bar
In a little village with not much else to offer and i cant remember the name of it, there is a really cool juice bar. By day its pretty chilled out with people from all over the place enjoying freshly squeezed tropical fruits and smoothies, parked scooters from the hippies that come here line the small streets the whole way up the town. We made this place a vital stop whenever we took the scooter for the day. At night the place was FULL of hippies and bikers, russians and the rest of us oh and cows of course. And nothing here but a juice music...and even another juice bar beside it but no this is the place!
It was the first time i'd ridden the scooter at night coming here and i realised the lights only work when you rev the engine so if you're going down a hill and want some light you have to rev the engine and hold the brakes...i think its really not seen as necessary having lights at night! There were also a few 'night owl' cows just chillin on the streets at 3 am!

The little village home of the juice bar

Juice bar at night


Panjim is the capital of Goa and was soooo so amazing i couldnt imagine just spedning all my time on the beach and never have seen this! It had been colonised by the Portugese so the city was really portugese looking, it did remind me of walking through an old part of spain. It seemed so calm and together, unlike other indian cities, it obviously had a lot more money than other parts of india also.

The main cathedral is painted 'toothpaste' white and you can see it clearly from the old part. The guys who had been sailing for months would arrive in Panjim, and make the climb from the port to the church to give thanks that they made it alive before heading on to the older part of Goa.
This church was STUNNING

Does this look like india to you?

Slightly scary statue of Holy mary on the outside of the church

Little girls who wanted a pic despite their frowns!

Yeah....i needed those instructions!

Indian Spelling
I dont know if i mentioned this already but the indians spelling for anything from road signs to menus is HILARIOUS! No effort whatsoever is made to spell a word correctly and sometimes menus can be a really entertaining half hour read, or kind of like some word game where you have to guess what it is! This is an example of one slightly mis-spelt word on a menu any ideas what this is??!

Also available here is:
Conflute and milk (cornflakes)
Mashrooms, hush potatoes, maxican food, conflex (cornflakes spelt wrong later in the menu!) brown saus, horney, porridadge etc etc this menu was damn funny! This is just something thats all over india and i love it! The bottle of water im drinking right now has printed on it best before 6 manths.

The cows

Arambol Beach
After about 2 weeks in Anjuna beach i headed to another beach about 25k north called Arambol and it was the be the best choice! By now i was travelling with 6 other couchsurfers so everyday was jam packed with breakfasts that lasted 3 hours, go exploring for a bit then another 3 hour lunch, maybe a swim then 3 hours for dinner and finally there was always some kind of jamming session on the beach late at night. I totally fell in love with the place.

There were some extremly talented people that flocked to the jamming sessions everynight. Unlike Anjuna the sea didnt come in very far at night so there was plenty of beach and sand to flake out on until the early hours. Some nights i will never forget, once i was lying on the sand looking at the clear sky full of stars while two guys were playing guitar, one singing, a girl jamming on the flute and some guys playing bongos, all of a sudden this guy popped his head beside one of the guys playing the guitar and started rapping all about Arambol beach, everyone was just totally sucked into the circle of music, it was quite trippy and captivating and because it was just jamming and not a particular song it kept changing, by the end everyone was singing along this new song. I loved that we were such a tiny group of people all alone on the empty beach, i only knew the people i was with, but by the end of the night i felt really connected to everyone, and this was generally the story of each night at arambol which for me was the absolute perfect ending to my time in Goa.

Very randomly one day we met a guy who asked us if we wanted to go to Jaipur and be extras in a bollywood movie, the deal seemed good, we got good pay, free transport, food and accomodation and ohmygod the push we all needed to leave Goa! We had just the night to decide and one by one all of us decided ok why not! It was a great time spent in Goa and i sure could have spent longer there but 30 young wans all coming from Goa could only mean a lot more fun! Bollywood here we come!
PS it is quite a long journey see map!2000 miles or there abouts. The next morning we were up at 6am to catch the estimated 22 hour train...i couldnt wait for the fun and the chance to get some sleep in on the train!

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