And we are off. After 4 weeks of succumbing to the inevitable beach life that Goa has to offer, me, Soph and Em have set off on the overnight bus journey from Mapusa in Goa to Hampi in the neighbouring state of Karnataka.
We are currently hauled up in what can only really be described as ‘a shit box on wheels’. Having only just boarded our ‘luxury’ air conditioned sleeper, we are happily soaking up the luxurious setting we have found ourselves in. After only 10 mins the driver decided to make a 20 minute pit stop – at this rate we might get to Hampi next week at some point!
Goa has been great, plenty of fun on the beach, some outstanding food and a chance to meet up with friends before setting back off to do some exploring in other interesting places around the world. Although our side of the river was a little overrun with Russians (who incidentally are about as shit at driving as the majority of the Goan population), the beaches and general pace of life was exactly what I was after, and with a few trips further up the coast to Arambol for some music and general drunken shenanigans, Morjim turned out to be a great place to stay for a month. Our house (which we left on Sunday) was much better than expected – barring a bit of an ant infestation for a night; we decided that action was required so we went to he shop to get some bug spray – who knew that you can get a double pack of bug spray + free shoe polish. When those bugs are gone, make yourself look smart and shine your shoes – obviously! However, the 2 bed apartment we moved to for a couple of nights, which was just around the corner was a little on the smelly side – a smell that we never really got used to and never managed to uncovered the source of.
During our final week we wanted to make sure to revisited some of the amazing eateries that we had been shown and unearthed ourselves during our stay. Ramesh’s remains a real highlight and our final visit did not disappoint – hands down the best tuna and prawns I have ever eaten. I never thought I would come to India and get served a perfectly cooked, outrageously tasty, fillet of beef, but the French restaurant La Plage in Ashvem succeeded in doing just that! We also mustered the funds to visit a place called Thalassa, in Vagator on the south side of the river – extortionate drinks, equally extortionate food (in comparison to almost everywhere else we ate), but oh shit it was seriously good Greek food. Again, I didn’t think I would be eating Greek food in Goa, but why not – it’s still probably about a quarter of the price of anything of the same standard in the UK. The ‘last meal’ card was getting chucked about quite a lot by the various friends who we were with in Goa – which became a little boring towards the end to be honest (some people got 2 last meals – Otis decided one last meal wasn’t enough so decided to stay an extra week and call in his last meal in again), as it was usually to one of the more expense places – but hey, when in Rome eh!?
Driving in Goa, which to begin with was pretty chaotic (“fucking chaos” were the words used to describe it, I think) ended up being part of everyday life and you soon end up getting into the swing of things, and probably picking up some of the terrible driving habits that are rife throughout the area. “Fucking chaos” turned into what is better described as “organised chaos”, as it became apparent (I think) that everyone on the road is expecting the worst, so is prepared for even the strangest things to happen. Herds of goats, stubborn cows, stray dogs, wild overtaking from oncoming traffic, and dangerously overloaded Honda Craptivas (the same shitty little moped I had). Never has blasting the horn been so satisfying, and necessary. Cow in the road, beep! Overtaking someone, beep! 4 Indians on one moped dangerously swaying around whilst casually having a conversation with a similar group driving side by side, beep beep beep beeeeep! All in all, I have started to quite enjoy the driving!
Goa provided us with a good insight into Indian life, however it was definitely a watered down insight due to the hoards of westerners that had begun to descend upon the state towards the end of the 3rd/4th weeks. Nevertheless, a great place to visit.
Anyway, off to Hampi we go, riding the bumpy highway in my luxury shit box. I’m going to try and get some sleep (hopefully), whilst trying desperately not to touch the unnervingly sticky wall next to the bed – oh dear!
More photos to come – the internet on my phone can’t really handle it right now…