Everyone deserves a thank you and goodbye. That said, the year 2015 deserved one too. The party capital of India hosts guests from India and all over the globe who indulge in vibrant clubs, psychedelic beach parties and ambient live music.
My friends and I took a bus ride from Mumbai to Goa which was filled with fun conversations, card games and road bumps to keep us awake all night! We reached Panjim next morning and our host, our Goan friend, Kedar gave us a warm welcome. While people were flocking to Calangute and Baga beach, we chose to visit Morjim beach (Пляж Морджим). It was a fortunate stroke of serendipity. Morjim was beautiful and dormant with few Russians basking in the sun. It’s a mini-Russia out there. Most shacks on the beach have separate Russian-language menu cards or ones that have dishes listed in both English and Russian. The waiters understand Russian and wear t-shirts with Russian President Putin’s face emblazoned on it.
After sumptuous late lunch on the shacks, we headed towards Arpora for Go-karting. If you love fast lane then you just cannot miss Go-karting which is the latest craze in Goa. The Saturday night market and the Anjuna Flea market are thronged by Indians as well as foreigners. These markets offer abundance of local handicrafts, beach wear, clothes, spices, footwear, artificial jewellery and funky accessories. It’s a perfect place to shop till you drop!
While our car crawled to Baga beach, we were in state of trance because of the loud music there. Baga beach was an open pub with the loudest music I have ever heard. It was enlivening to walk bare feet on the cold moist sand and feel the pleasant cool breeze blowing on the beach. We grabbed a bite after midnight at Britto’s and devoured on relishing sea food.
On our way back, it was interesting to see the lit up floating casinos in cruise ships on Mandovi River, Panjim.
Next morning, we started before sunrise for Dudhsagar Falls (Dudh: milk, Sagar: sea). You can either trek or take a jeep to the waterfall. This mesmerizing waterfall appears like streams of milk rushing down the mountainside. A lot of people swim in the cool water at the base of the waterfall while others sit on the rocks soaking themselves in the enormous view listening to the sound of water pounding the rocks.
Today, the lunch was planned at my Goan friend’s house in Sanquelim, a village situated in North Goa. We drove to Sanquelim passing through the canopies. The Arvalem caves and Harvalem waterfall in Sanquelim drew my attention. Having authentic Goan food at Kedar’s home was the best experience of this trip. The authentic taste of coconut based Goan curry with rice, korma, fried fish (local fish ‘iswan’ and ‘verlya’), fried prawns and homemade potato nuggets is still there on my palette. The fried fish and prawns had a coating of semolina (‘rawa’). The crunchiness of rawa was very appetizing. I was awestruck to be served with sweet Sheer khurma, a Muslim delicacy, by a Goan family.
We started from Sanquelim to explore old Goa and halted to see the relics of Saint Francis Xavier. The miraculous body of St. Xavier’s didn’t disintegrate even after being buried three times in three different countries. His body has not decomposed till date and has been defying the law of nature for more than 450 years now. Every 10 years the relics are moved in solemn procession to the nearby Cathedral where they are available for public veneration. As the sunset, I wondered that the mystery of St. Xavier continues.
Alcohol is cheaper than water in this duty-free state and parties in Goa means booze. Our electrifying booze party started in the balcony and ended under the stars at the isolated Miramar beach. As we lay on the beach, the calmness and inner peace was palpable.
After the booze party, we were confident that we will not make it for the sunrise at Chapora Fort, Vagator. But to our great surprise we reached Vagator an hour before sunrise. It was pitch-dark and we could only see a gate which was locked. Well, we were off on an adventure, so we climbed over the gate and then over the wall and finally started trekking to the Fort. The sun rose in its full glory and we were the only ones there welcoming the sun. It was so peaceful to be at this scenic Fort which overlooks sea on 2 sides and river on the other side.
Trip to Goa is incomplete without water sports and the parasailing dip in water is sure to give you an adrenaline rush. I could only admire and soak myself in the view of the deep blue ocean while I was gliding through the sky.
Cheers – Lubna