02.03.2009 - 07.03.2009 35 °C
I originally didn't want to come to Goa. My goal is the Himalaya mountain range in the North. I came here because everybody is always going on about Goa, Goa, Goa. So I came to see by myself. I also came here because I could aready hear all the people saying “What, you went to India for three months and didn't go to Goa? What's wrong with you, you missed the best place...” and yak yak yak, bla bla. Just thinking about it pissed me off, so the primary goal of this trip to Goa is to be able to say to these people “Yes, I have been to Goa, I have seen it, now leave me the fuck alone!”.
I took the night train from Mumbai to Thivim in Northern Goa, which is supposedly the less touristic part. The journey took around ten hours. I was lucky enough to get the last ticket available in the sleeper class. Thank god for tourist quotas :-) I didn't sleep much that night, but that was expected. Sleeper class is the cheapest after the sitting places, however there are no doors to the compartments, and always people moving around and selling stuff, from food to Chinese-made plastic toy-flashlights.
Upon arrival I chose to go to the Chapora/Vagator area. These are two neighbouring villages close to an ancient Portuguese fort. There is a very lush tropical-style vegetation covering a soil of a deep ochre color, it's a very beautiful place. It is also one of the hotspots of the outdoor party scene. Or at least it was, many things have changed since the Mumbai attacks. Every sunday there is an outdoor trance-party, however they now have to stop the music at midnight, which is kind of a mood-breaker for a Goa-party. Chapora is one of those hangouts for old and young hippies. People are very relaxed and open-minded, it is quite similar in spirit to Dahab, another ancient hippie-colony in Egypt. This place is perfect to relax and I can see why some people just burn their passport and make a living here. What I love about this place is that there's no one outside in the morning. People emerge around noon to get some breakfast, then wander off to sleep again or go to the beach until four or five in the afternoon. Then life creeps back into the streets until late. That's exactly my rhythm of choice :-)
Here I am on the way to the old Portuguese fort. The view shows the Northern part:
Here's the South facing view with Vagator beach:
The street leading to the fishing harbor of Chapora, where my guesthouse was located:
The Chapora main street where I spent many evenings:
There are many of those small white chapels around and some of the locals are Christians. A legacy of the Portuguese I guess, although there are stories that one of the apostles came here around 50 AD.
The Anjuna wednesday market. It's quite big and everyone from all the area gathers here. Plenty of nice and beautiful stuff, but nothing useful to me.
I took this picture while waiting for the train back to Mumbai at Thivim train station. You have to love the optimism here :-)
I am back in Mumbai at Akhil's place now (by the way, go check out his movie about Tibet at http://www.filmyeti.com). Tomorrow night I'll take the train to Bhopal where I'll stay two days, then I'm off to Delhi. I'll enquire about buying a second-had motorcycle there, I'm playing with the idea of biking through the Himalayas...