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Anjuna to Arambol - More beaches, more riding..

INDIA | Wednesday, 27 August 2008 | Views [1247]

21/082008 - 27/09/2008

Anjuna, Baga, Varkata, Morjim and Arambol.

More beaches, more riding..


Excited about seeing Didi, and not knowing exactly how to reach the airport, i decided to leave early. Her flight wasn't due in till 3, but anyone who knows me, knows i hate to be late. Due to this, i am usually overly early. Even after taking the long way there, due to a premature turn, i still had an hour to spare. I explored Vasco a bit, deciding it was pretty boring, then went to wait it out at the airport. Due to security reasons, no one is allowed inside the terminal, so the exit is a sea of waiting people. The number of flights into Goa each day is astounding, even in the off season. It is truly the Gold Coast of India. So out the front is a mob of hotel drivers, holding signs for their expected guests. I sat with them, awaiting her plane to land. Being the only dread locked white man there, i figured that a sign for Didi, while amusing, would have been superfluous. She spotted me in seconds. All of a sudden we were the life of the mob, half of the drivers forgetting to look for their own guests while watching our reunion.. I dragged her away from the exit and the onlookers, and we enjoyed some relative time alone to catch up before the long ride to Anjuna.

We've spent enough time on bikes with big backpacks that that wasn't a problem. And i knew the way back now, so getting lost wasn't really possible. My biggest concern was police on the return journey. Sure, i was carrying my licence - my Victorian car licence. I really don't think i would be able to talk my way out of that one - it would be more games to minimise what it would cost me. But we were lucky. I know the spots the police vans hang out, and i was able to get myself between a rickshaw and a bus as we passed them near Panjim. We were noticed (even wearing a full face tinted helmet, my white arms are hard to miss), but it was too much effort to pull us up. An hour and a half later, saddle sore and sunburnt, we arrived to Anjuna. Our host Brahma makes a pretty good chai, and we sat to watch the sunset from our cliff.

We had also gained a neighbour - when i had left in the morning, i was the only one there (there was only a handful of tourists in the whole of Anjuna), but the day after Didi's arrival, we walked outside in the morning to the sound of music, and met Shai, an Israeli from near Tel Aviv. After 4 years in the army, he was doing the India trip he had always dreamed of. He had just come from the north, and was seeing a few things in the south before heading to Thailand. We got on well with Shai instantly - he's honest and grounded, and fun to be around. He had a lot af good advice about the north, and an incredibly diverse music collection. He'd hired his first bike that afternoon, so we organised to go for a ride together the following day - firstly, so he could gain a bit of confidence, and secondly, to check out some of the beaches up north. Although fleetingly, i had already visited them all so knew the way, and of course Didi was keen to explore also.

So with the next day planned, Didi and i headed back to Calangate for our specially ordered meal. I had arranged with Joe to cook us up an Indian meal with no hot spices. While i can handle a bit of fire, Didi cannot stand it. Hot paprika is too much for her. So Joe had assured us an Indian meal, free of chilli and overly hot spices. He is such an accommodating and genuine guy, i'll miss Joe when i leave. And i'm sure he'll miss me - i've been his best customer for a week! About halfway there, the skies opened up. I had still been reasonably lucky with the rain until now (excepting my adventure with the flat tyre), and hadn't been caught in a sudden dounpour on the bike - riding at 50kms, those monsoonal rain drops sting! Forced to shelter in a local bar, we drank beer till it eased up. Finally we arrived at Joe's for our meal, and yet again, he didn't disappoint. His food is amazing, and Didi not only got a chance to eat Indian food, but to love it..

The next 4 or 5 days were spent riding around Northern Goa with Shai. We spent time on nearly all the beaches - Varkata, Arambol, Baga, Morjim - checked out old Goa (including the Bom Jesus Basilica & the carcass of St Francis Xavier), and enjoyed good food (a lot of it from Joe) and sunsets by the cliffs. There are things i haven't liked about the north - the filth and their idea of rubbish disposal (thrown from the cliff to the sea); the inability to escape beach traders; the guilt technique employed by all the traders; the police.... But overall, i have had an amazing time. Shai has turned out to be a like soul - one of those amazing people that turn up in life when you least expect it. And of course, it has been great to be with Didi again. Our motorcycle tour of Northern Goa has been a highlight of my trip so far, without a doubt. Next on Shai's loose itinery, was Palolem, and with Didi and i's plans still unformed, this sounded perfect. I would finally see the beach that had eluded me in my early attempts to escape Colva! We could also put off saying goodbye to Shai, and hopefully, it might be the wonderful place to be for Didi's birthday....



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