Sunday, April 8, 2012

Goa (Feb. 24-28)

The weekend before I started Ob/Gyn, Kim and I talked about taking a trip to Goa. She had been to Palolem Beach with Michael, Carina, and Carina's boyfriend Noti the weekend of my birthday but had heard about a beach party happening at Morjim Beach in north Goa that she really wanted to go to. I just wanted to go to Goa so we decided to try and make that happen the following weekend. During the week, our group going to Goa grew - it started out just Kim and me and then Carina, Sonja, and Julia all decided to join us as well. The problem was that we tried to buy our bus tickets very last minute. We went to the travel agency on Wednesday afternoon to buy bus tickets for the weekend. We had decided to go for a long weekend and leave on Thursday night. We had a horrible time trying to get bus tickets. We spent around 2 hours at the travel agency with no luck. There were tickets showing up on the website, but for some reason we were unable to book them. Then we each tried to buy tickets online on our own computers but were again unable to book bus tickets. This was the only time during my time in Bangalore that the bus ticket websites (we tried several) would not accept my American credit card. Just when we thought there was no way we were going to be able to make it Goa, our magic friend Mahesh came through for us. He got on the phone with someone and suddenly we had bus tickets for all of us on a sleeper bus leaving Thursday night for Goa. Unfortunately, we could not get bus tickets to return on Monday morning so we ended up having to change our return to Tuesday morning.

Thursday night we headed to the bus pickup point and made it on our bus with our handwritten paper tickets. We were not confident these tickets were valid since none of us had had handwritten tickets before this. Thankfully, they worked without a problem and we boarded our bus to Goa. The difficult thing about being on a sleeper bus with 5 people is that often the beds are shared between two people. Since Julia was the last person to decide to join us on the trip, she ended up sharing a bed with a stranger. This actually worked out to our advantage. The guy Josi was an ex-pat living in Morjim Beach. He knew a guy with a car that would be able to pick us all up from our bus drop off point and bring us the rest of the way to Morjim Beach (about an hour away) for a very cheap price - 700Rs for all 6 of us (about $2 per person). He also knew the owners of a group of beach huts and was able to get us a great deal on our accommodation as well. We paid 450Rs per room per night which split between two people was less than $5 per night. They were clean huts with a great location. There was a common shower and toilet that everyone used, but for $5 per night, none of us could complain.

After arriving at our huts, rearranging our bags, showering, and changing into our beach wear, the 5 of us headed out for breakfast on the beach. The place we went to - Fish and Feni - ended up being our breakfast place for the duration of our stay. The food was delicious, the service great, and the prices very, very reasonable. The fresh fruit and the fresh fruit juices were amazing as were the omlettes. After breakfast, we headed down to the beach and began our weekend of relaxation - napping on the beach, reading, swimming in the ocean, and of course eating. Late afternoon on Friday we decided to head over to this party that Kim had found and have lunch in that area before checking it out. We went to this Italian place on the beach. The food was good but it took 2 hours for us to get it. To make up for their incredibly slow service, they brought us two pitchers of sangria. Even though we didn't have anywhere we needed to be, we were all starving and a little frustrated at having to wait so long for our food. We finally did eat and then headed to the party next door.

I have never been to anything like this party. The music was loud and the place was packed with people - mostly Europeans - who were all dancing, sometimes very crazily, to the beat of the music. I think a lot of the people were on some kind of drug but it was great for people watching. Julia left to meet up with Josi and Carina and Sonja left soon after because of the crowdedness of the place. Kim wanted to stay and although I am sure she would have been fine on her own, I didn't really want to leave her by herself so I stayed as well. After a couple hours of dancing and a ton of sweating, we walked out of the party to get some fresh air. It was a little after 8pm and the sun had set. We still had our swimsuits on and so to cool off, we decided to jump into the ocean. We set our stuff a little ways down the beach - our clothes, flip flops and put our wallets, phones, and my camera buried within the clothes. We jumped into the ocean and played around in the surf for no more than 10 minutes and when we got out and went back to our stuff, it was gone. After searching up and down the beach area and asking anyone nearby if they had seen our stuff, we headed back to our huts in our bikinis to put on more clothes and get a flashlight to look for our things. We were sure it was stolen, but as the clothes really had no value, we were hoping to at least find those thrown somewhere. When we returned to the huts we had an additional problem. I had used my own personal padlock instead of the one provided to us by the hut to lock everything up and the key had been inside my wallet and the spare key in Kim's wallet. We had to have the staff break into our room my removing the bolt on the door (which definitely needed replacing anyway) and replacing it. We got dressed, grabbed our flashlights and as we were heading back down the beach to the party, we ran into Carina and Sonja. We told them what happened and both tried calling our cell phones from Carina's phone. They had both been turned off. We did not find anything when we returned to the party to search for our stuff. We told the bartender at the party about our stolen stuff and asked if anyone turned anything in, if he would let us know. We walked back to our hut and decided to call it a night. Thankfully the flip flops were cheap and I had other sandals, the sarong I had on I bought in India which was no great loss, I didn't have any ID or credit cards in my wallet although I did have all the cash that I brought with me to Goa in that wallet (stupid, I know...), the camera was several years old and actually the back-up camera that I brought and only had pictures from that night on it, and the phone was cheap. The bad thing about losing the phone is that getting a SIM card in India was such a pain and now I would have to go and get another one.

Saturday morning I woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep. I decided to go for a run along the beach to burn off some of my frustrations of getting my stuff stolen and to also look in the daylight to see if any of our things of no value had been ditched. I ran back to the location of the party and did find both of our pairs of flip flops but nothing else. It was a beautiful morning so I decided to bring the shoes back to our hut and continue my run along the beach. On my way back to the hut, a young-looking Indian man in a white running outfit whom I had seen on my run to the party beach ran up to me and started running next to me. He asked me what I was doing and I said "running." He asked if he could join me and I said "No. I want to run alone." Then he asked where I was staying and I responded vaguely "On the beach." He then asked if he could go to the place I was staying with me. And again, more forcefully I said "No." As if somehow he thought I was not getting his intention, he then reached over and grabbed my crotch. Completely startled, I stopped pushed his hand away and yelled "Don't do that!" Thankfully at that point he turned and ran away. I continued running toward my hut and before I turned in, I checked to make sure he was not around before going in. I brought our sandals back and told Kim what had happened. I still wanted to continue running as now I had even more frustration to burn off and so Kim got dressed and went with me. After my second run with Kim, we went back to the huts and saw Carina. Carina had wanted to go for a run as well so I went on a third run with her. After all of my runs, I went back to the hut, rinsed off, changed into my beach stuff and went to the beach. Julia wasn't feeling well that morning and so didn't join us at our breakfast place for breakfast.

The rest of the weekend was much improved from the first 24 hours. I finally had a chance to relax and enjoy the weekend with great friends. We laid on the beach, swam in the ocean, ate good food, read (I finally finished the book Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors and read a great book that I highly recommend especially if traveling to India called The White Tiger), slept, and had great conversations. I'm so glad that I was there with such great friends since the weekend would have been a miserable disaster if all that had happened and I had been alone. I am very thankful that nothing worse happened with that guy on the beach and that I had good friends to help me out and make sure the rest of my trip was enjoyable. Monday night came all too quickly and soon we found ourselves back on a sleeper bus and heading back to Bangalore.

Location:Morjim Beach, Goa, India

1 comment:

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    Thanks a lot for sharing