The second month of 2019 is about to begin and there is no better time for a vacation in India than Goa. As planned with my parents and uncles family we need to be at Goa on the same day, they all were coming by train while I boarded a flight from Delhi a day earlier and was mesmerized by the fresh salty breeze of Goa on Jan,30th night. As I walked out of the airport which is located 30 km away from my resort, Chandan Naik a local guy came across and offered me a stay at his home and visited nearby beaches on his bike, our conversation went for an hour and after knowing each other well, we decided to leave and on the way home he briefed me about his life, family and Goan lifestyle, this was a type of start I was looking for. After reaching his home we arranged our beds, later came to know this was his second house which remains vacant most of the time as now he has moved with his family to another part of Goa. His house was old and resembled old Goan architecture which constituted a kitchen, washroom, bedroom and a big lobby having high ceiling and glass top beside fan for the sun to wake you up, after arranging his house we left for a bike ride at Colva beach, spent some time there and while returning we stopped at football stadium as football is widely played game in Goa and Goan football team FC GOA is known all over India, as it was 4 in morning and I didn’t had any plans for tomorrow we decided to sleep.
Next thing I wanted to do in the morning was to hit the beach, but to my surprise, Chandan took me to his other house, where I got to meet his parents and was presented with Goan breakfast. We had paranthas with sabzi and samosa, during breakfast a new friend also joined us, as he was 5 years old and knew only Konkani he was a bit shy of opening up but gradually after chit-chat and Chandan being our interpreter we became friends and later came to drop me. As I had a whole day left for myself I packed my bags and Chandan dropped me at Colva beach. When I reached there, the beach was too crowded while I was looking for a silent beach, so my walk begins towards right side by the shore while the waves swept away the trail I left behind. Right now sun was just on my head but my soul was searching for a shack that will stop me for beer and after walking for 45 minutes, there it was cafe MAGZIKA at Betalbatim and I decided to spend my day there, while I ordered Tuna sandwich and salad I ran into the sea and hugged it till they didn’t call me out for lunch, after my meal I relaxed by the sea and again went for swimming and this cycle continued, gradually the sun was drowning in the Arabian Sea and more people came to see its immersion.
To make the night melodious live music started at MAGZIKA cafe and songs were played on demand, to fuel my hunger I asked for butter garlic king prawns, unaware of being allergic to it I consumed all and booked a very nice homestay on OYO for the night just for 866 rupees, but god had different plans for me that day, so when I reached my homestay it really amused me with its huge lobby which was enough to accommodate 20 people, later I decided to take a nice warm bath as I played all day in sea and again went out to check out lovers beach nearby, to my surprise it was uninhabited, making my way back to resort I was jolted by storm of continuous sneezes, uneasiness in breathing and an unavoidable itch on my palm, assuming it to be regular cold I checked myself in the mirror, there was swelling all around my eyes upon which I called at hospital who informed me that it will atleast take an hour for ambulance to reach there, another thought that came to my mind was to sleep on my super cushiony bed and as I attempted to do so there was suddenly a black out in front of my eyes which made it clear if I sleep today that will be for last time I will sleep in my life so I recollected my self and went out of my resort and to my surprise there was a scooty parked outside, even though I wanted to puke because of my health was not able to, so in a semi conscious state I asked the guy to drop me at any hospital to which he readily accepted and we left.
On my way to hospital I saw that local guy Chandan who was talking to his friends near Margaon bus stand, seeing my condition he rushed me to Hospicio hospital, where I was informed about my allergy to shellfish which included prawns, crabs and lobster. The doctor admitted me and started primary medication while Chandan helped me with all the legal formalities, just then clock tick to 12 which made doctors curious as they have to hand over their duties to their co-worker but on insisting they provided me complete medication before leaving. For me to be better again I had to spend the entire night at the hospital and was given epinephrine, pain, and sleep-inducing injection. Assuming it to be my home I woke up among 50 people around me who told me about my condition when I was brought to the hospital and if not been admitted on time, it could had serious health repercussions on my health and it was all due to Chandan, who saved my life.
It was my second day in south Goa and as my parents along with my uncles family was about to arrive so I created a buzz around hospital demanding an early discharge by letting them know that I have a train to catch, to my curiosity it did happen, meanwhile I again came in contact with a local guy Mushin Naik over internet who is operating a self-drive car rental service, he offered me seven seater Innova for 2000\day and total of 10000, 4 days rent and 2000 as security, after obtaining my keys I paced to Margaon railway station to pick up my parents and then left for our resort, Varca sterling in south Goa. As we reached our resort few local guys came and threatened me not park my car as white number plates cars are not allowed to be parked inside or near the vicinity of resort, the reason being south Goa is sparsely populated and the major source of income for locals is through tourism for this reason they have made taxi union operated by locals only, but as being part of this union they pay taxes to government, while people like me who are unaware of this fact used white number plate cars which are now illegal to drive. Hence as suggested by car owner I parked my car far away from the resort as there have been incidents in past where these people try to damage your car and confirmed Mr. Naik to return his car, to which people don’t agree generally.
We relaxed during the day at our resort and left to meet my uncle family at Calangute beach which was about 62 km away in north Goa and it took almost 2 hours to reach there due to poor road condition and bottleneck problem at various joints, Calangute beach is one of the very famous beaches in Goa and by the time we reached there it was already 9 pm so we called in some seafood, made plans for tomorrow and left to check flea market nearby, I was bit relaxed about my car as there was no issue of white number plate in North Goa. Government of Goa has imposed another restriction which doesn’t allow shacks by the beach to play music at night after 10 pm, so by 11:30 pm we departed for our resort and on the way was abstained by the cops for driving illegal car and asked 500 rupees as penalty which was covered by car owner. For the next day, both families decided to stay at their resort and explored the nearby market, while I went to return the car in the morning to which Mr. Naik readily accepted and paid back remaining 8000 rupees as a penalty was included in per day charges only.
It was the third day in Goa and being an early riser helps in making you most out of the day so by 6.20 am I was out at calming Varca beach for swimming and Yoga and and by 7 am sun was up, we decided to have our breakfast at hotel Hathi Mahal which is another fantastic chain of resort internationally and then we left for Palolem beach which is another hippie beach on Karnataka border and is known for its surreal beauty, this beach was around 40 km away from our resort and had 2-3 alternative routes but our driver stuck to the highway as roads were in very good condition while on Both the side there were cashew trees, these cashews are used mainly for two purposes, it can be used as dry fruits while it is also used to manufacture local spirit known as Fenny which is absolute hit in Goa and one must surely try it, our driver also had an amazing skill set to drive on such kind of roads and his Bollywood playlist made our journey more joyous. This beach is also known for its local market and after checking out the market we headed out to the beach where there are ferries for tourist that take you to monkey island and butterfly island just for 2200 for 8 people and on the way dolphins can also be sighted.
We returned from Palolem beach to Colva beach for water sports and reached there by 5:30 pm, there were numerous water sports activity, we raced on Jet -ski and did parasailing along the beach, the rates are fixed by the government for tourists, which included 1000 rupees for a round of 800m on jet ski, while 600 for parasailing just for 2 minutes but none of the person felt satisfied by the duration and price charged by government. To enjoy the nightlife of Goa I went to North Goa with my brother, there we hired a scooty for 350/day. All the parties take place near Baga and Calangute beach where all the cafe, pubs and bars remain open till morning, the most famous being Tito’s we checked in their first and were delighted by its amazing taste in food and music, then later went to another pub and partied til 4 am, by now we both got exhausted and returned to our resort as by 5:30 we were leaving for Dudhsagar waterfalls which is an iconic place to visit.
As we left from our resort in North Goa, Monica a south Goan resident, mother of 2 daughter who runs her own private business of homestay and car rental service agreed to drop my parents at Ponda from where we traveled together in the same car till Dudhsagar. If you are planning to visit Dudhsagar waterfall it is better to reach there before 8 am as you may have to stand in a long queue if its get late, we reached at Kulem by 8.30 and joined the queue where a jeep is allotted to you for 400/person, since many people have died in recent time, it has been made compulsory for visitor to get life Jacket which is also chargeable, equipping ourself with food and life jacket we left in our jeep from Kulem, road to Dudhsagar is completely broken and is great offroading trek, where you can find long bamboo-like trees in jungle which are used to make stick used by police. Dudh Sagar can alternatively be reached via train or trek. It is being said that only 2 families reside in this jungle near the temple where they make Fenny for drinking. Another reason for reaching early is there is very limited space and due to which tourist are not allowed to stay more than 1.5 hours. From parking spot to waterfall tourist have to go on foot. Dudhsagar implies “Ocean of Milk” and that is what being visualized when it is seen in its full glory especially during monsoon season, but you have to be extra careful because the rocks there are quite slippery and edgy. Being fond of water I always look for a pond of water and I enjoyed below the waterfall for half an hour in freezing cold water with my brother and uncle.
As we were returning back to our resort at Varca beach we hydrated ourself with coconut water and had lunch at tropical spice garden, they have traditional Indian way of welcoming guest after which lemon tea is offered, made by ingredients of garden itself and after this they take guest for a tour of garden, while leaving you can also buy some Ayurvedic cosmetics products and pamper yourself. Today is our last day at Goa, although involvement with locals touched my life and made me a different person altogether, it was more than a trip for me as it helped me emotionally bind with my family and our bond grew stronger with each passing day.
For any help regarding local transportation, local homestay and any other personal queries, please feel free to reach me.