15 March 2013

Delhi to Goa- a change of heart





After four days in Delhi(four days too long) I had a complete change of heart. I decided against spiritual guidance from Dalai Lama in the mountainous cold north in Dharamsala, for beautiful beaches, tropical climate and never-ending parties and sunshine in ambiguous Goa.

On arrival in Goa I knew I had made the right decision. Contrary to every place I went to later in India, there were no taxi drivers jumping at me as soon as I stepped out of the airport. Just a short walk to the prepaid taxi stand and then greeted by a friendly taxi driver who drove me one hour to Vagator. As the sun was setting between palm trees, beautiful fields lay like enchanted by the light. The clear blue sky was turning into a mesmerizing pink and I could swear my heart rhythm was slowing down. In a lifesaver of a hostel, Asterix, I met fellow travellers to continue the journey with.

The next day I got a ride with people from the hostel and went up just north of Vagator, to a nearly deserted beach. We took the scooters with us and drove on the beach. It was a great feeling being away from civilization surrounded only by tropical forest, the ocean and a beautiful sandy beach.

Kids playing soccer on the beach in Arambol
A half an hour scooter drive up north from Vagator lies a small place that is a lot more popular among alternative tourists due to the more relaxed bohemian feel: Arambol is expanding rapidly though and is getting more and more commercialized just like so many other places in Goa. Naturally there are more restaurants, bars, shops and guesthouses there as well adjusting to the growing population of tourists both foreign and Indian. And the beach is probably one of the most beautiful in Goa. 
Location, location, location!

 Vagator beach is often used as a Movie location in Bollywood Cinema. One evening when watching the sunset on the beach, a film crew elevated a gigantic white air balloon, set to resemble the full moon for a film shoot.
 
Probably the worst cappuccino in the world; in Vagator
At some stage Vagator beach turns into Anjuna beach, most famous for the Wednesday markets. It also has a row of restaurant/bar/nightclubs offering a nice, relaxed night on the beach, techno on the dance floor or full on trance parties. Which is were we went to if we wanted a relaxed fuzz-free night out as it was only a short drive away. Also, the only bar to go to close to Asterix was the water hole Mango Tree, which serves the possibly most horrific coffee in the world.

Before I went to Goa I thought it was just one big party beach. People told me 'Goa used to be a chilled out place with untouched beaches. Now it's just an expensive place for loud parties and drugs.' It was first when I went to Baga for one fun night out that I got a faint idea of what they meant. One long street towards the beach was packed with night clubs and bars from one end to the other. To me it was mostly a tourist attraction though I can`t say I didn`t have a great time sharing the dance floor with Indian upper-class tourists.


Old Goa was Goa`s capital from the 16th to 18th Century. The gorgeous colonial churches were built by the Portugese who colonized the state from early 16th till late 20th Century when the colony was abandoned.


My stay in Goa is hard to put in words. It is a place that has to be seen, felt and experienced. It's also a matter of state of mind. To me it was a sigh of relief escaping from the stress and hardship of an overwhelming Indian city. Goa brought me the peace I needed to travel onwards in a country that is by far the most challenging I've travelled in.
 

3 comments:

  1. What a beautiful article, so long and so good. India certainly seems to be a mixed experience, and at my age I should be careful about going too close to possible trouble. Looking forward to more writings from our travelling correspondent.

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  2. Very good article. Tell us some more about Indian lifestyle!

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