Total number of days: 8
Place of Stay: North Goa (Mandrem and Calangute)
Meals eaten: 15
Of which Butter chicken was: 6 times (yes, I ate sea food too…once)
Highlights: Swimming in the sea, paragliding and expensive cabs.
I’ve been to Goa with my family as a 10-year-old, but since this was a visit with friends from school, it was quite different. For one, there was a lot more going out in the evenings and a lot less time for breakfast. When I went with my parents, we went to a lot of churches and stayed at the Army base. This time, we stayed in cottages and guesthouse rooms and saw only one church.
Out of the eight days that I spent in Goa, the first four were spent with 3 of my friends from college, in cottages called Vailankanni that had their own private beach (called Junas Vaddo).
For the last few days, I stayed with 3 of my friends from school in a guest house near Calangute. To escape the rude landlord and the commercial beach, we spent most of our time at our other friends’ place in Candolim (at a distance of 2.2 KM), who had a nice little apartment to themselves with a pool!
Though most of the days were spent by the beach: swimming and relaxing or in a cab travelling to various clubs and restaurants, these are the slightly eventful days:
The view from the breakfast deck at Vailankanni
The Day we spent travelling (December 26, 2016)
Our flight to Pune from New Delhi was in the wee hours of the morning. We were lucky that our flights didn’t get delayed or anything like that! We reached Pune around 5 AM and took a cab to where a bus was to pick us up (yeah, bus to Goa), an hour late.
Not a single passenger was awake in the Volvo, and this remained the case till our first pit stop. The seats reclined quite a bit and every seat had a footrest (mine was broken but I’m used to such luck so I was fine)
The drive to Goa was beautiful, as I’d heard. We drove through the Western Ghats and every now and then I’d wake from my slumber to catch a glimpse of the sandy brown hills.
NOTE: I love travelling by road but I also believe in using every opportunity to catch some sleep (honestly, I don’t even need to try)
The recline lever of my seat was broken (no surprise there) and every time the bus jerked I’d go crashing into the lap of the poor lady behind me. And of course, at one point, the man in the seat in front of me reclined his seat with such force, I ended up with bruised knees.
On the outskirts of Goa, our bus met with an accident. A little red car was trying to overtake a car on the opposite side of the traffic and ended up colliding into us, head on. By the time we realised what had happened, the bus driver had taken the driver of the pretty badly bashed up car to the hospital (there was no sign of physical wound, thankfully)
An hour or so later, we were back on our way. The bus dropped us at Mapusa and we found a cab to our cottages. There, waiting for us was butter chicken! And the yummiest I’d had in a while.
The chilly salty air was very welcoming, and I remember feeling relaxed and well fed as I lay down in bed that night, swearing never to sit in a bus again.
The discovery of Starfish (December 28, 2016)
I woke up unusually early that morning and took a walk by myself at the beach. The sun had just come up and the beach was full of people exercising. I too, I’m proud to tell you, went for a 15 minute run. It was the perfect start to the day.
After breakfast we sat on the beach and I made a curious discovery. I noticed well-defined star-shaped markings in many areas in the sand. On further inspection, I realised they were starfish that had buried themselves under the sand! Just then, I saw a starfish get washed up by the wave, and use it’s little tube like feet to bury itself under the sand! It was fascinating at first, but then seeing those hundreds of star shaped patterns started making me feel a little sick.
That evening, the four of us met my school friends at a nightclub called SinQ. There were 17 of us in total and we ended up having a great time!
The night I tried sea food and slept on the beach (December 29, 2016)
This day was, by far, the best day of my trip. It started with me photographing some paragliders. In the evening, the fifteen of us met at Calangute Beach and ate at Souza Lobo. In between our meal, we went for walks along the beach and bought a lot of glow bands. This day was to mark me falling in love with these bands and wearing them each and every day till I was back in Delhi.
After dinner, we took a cab to our cottages in Mandrem and the boys followed on their rented scooters. It turned out to be a bad idea because it was very cold and quite far. Oh, and they had come with the intention of crashing at our place, which wasn’t actually possible.
And so, with no cabs available till 6AM, we all huddled against each other on the sea shore (the water was quite warm) and later joined some beach chairs and hugged each other until we fell asleep.
It was absolutely beautiful. It was a clear night and the sky was dotted with a billion stars, more than I’d seen in my 20 years of living in the countryside. We could hear the waves crashing against the shore and there wasn’t a soul in sight. We told each other stories and talked about the stars, space and time in theory.
I saw a shooting star that night, but I couldn’t think of a single thing to wish for that could make me happier than I was at that point.
The sightseeing in Panjim (December 31, 2016)
Tanvi and I took a cab to Panjim to visit the infamous “Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception” Church.
It was a hot day. We visited the church and then walked to Cafe Bodega to eat our first meal of the day. (I managed to hold out while Tanvi snapped a photograph of our food!) We then headed the same way we came but instead of a cab, took an auto back to our hotel.
That night the 15 of us went to a beach party at the Ashwem beach to celebrate the new year. We danced a lot and went for numerous walks on the beach. It was the perfect end to the year.
And the perfect beginning to the next.
The day of the watersports (January 02, 2017)
We all were pretty upset to be leaving soon, but we certainly spent our last day well. Four of us went to the Calangute beach and went parasailing! (I have no pictures unfortunately, but I can try to paint you one!)
Two of us were tied to a harness attached to a speedboat. When we were up in the sky, the world around us seemed to slow down. The sun was setting on our right and the sky was a clear dull orange. The sea below us was a dark blue with dangerous looking waves, the vastness tantalizing. In the fading sunlight, we could see many boats, returning to harbor.
We also went on a jetski, driven by one of the people incharge. The waves were pretty crazy that day (in fact, no one had been allowed to swim that day). Tanya sat in the front of the jet ski and I sat at the back. Standing between us was the driver, who had no place to sit. Despite his open life jacket flapping dangerously close to my face, it was a lot of fun, the fear of falling off making it all the more exciting.
We ate our last (and my sixth) meal of butter chicken at the same beach and then went off to retire for the night. At a club. In Anjuna.
We slept through our alarms the next morning and almost missed our flight. It was a perfect 8 days and I couldn’t have asked for a better holiday.