Its in the Final Year that you realize how much you will miss the college and your friends once the course ends. This makes it very important to enjoy the last months of one’s college life and one’s freedom as much as possible and to make memories that will last a lifetime.
We all had been hoping to Goa for a long time. Finally, we decided, it was time and we made the journey! Here is a brief account of our tour which AKP was responsible for planning.
We booked the train tickets a bit too late and as a result we couldn’t get reservations for our train journey to Goa. We had to squeeze-in, into one of the General Coaches of the Netravathi Express and bear a 10 hour long tortuous journey. I got stuck between a sleeping beauty and a lazy Das on the luggage berth. Due to my difficult position and the genius-design of the upper berth for which the Indian Railways with it’s long history of incapacity to design even a toilet gets the credit, I couldn’t sit straight for 10 hrs. When we finally got down at Canacona Railway Station in South Goa, I was very relieved to feel my spine coming back to life.
We made our way to our “hotel” and decided to get some shut-eye before starting our adventure. The hotel-Ocean Breeze next to Sea Wind was owned by a dude called Shavi who happened to have had the opportunity to con AKPs brother who in turn happened to hate AKP enough to recommend it to us, could be used to develop a case study on how to separate a white man from his money in the easiest possible way!
The cottages consisted of bamboo help together by gravity and the toilet cum bathroom was soo attached that it didn’t have even a door. Anyway, we all found the place very interesting! After cleaning up, we all walked around the small beach adjoining the hotel and I snapped some pics of myself!
After having a light breakfast we set off to rent the Activas that we would be using for the day. We had to walk the length of the Palolim beach to get to the rental place.As it turned out, this was not an unpleasant activity as we got to observe the local wildlife and satisfy the latent ornithologist in each one of us. We realised later that though South Goa was less busy and had less normal hotels, foreigners preferred it. This was probably because the place was calmer and less crowded than the North.
We got the vehicles and bought a map to help us find our way around. We decided to first visit a nearby fort called Cape Rama first. Somehow the map wound up in my hand and I and AKP led the way.
On our way to the fort, we decided to make a small detour and went to a secluded beach called Agonda nearby. There, some of us had a swim. We all had some fun there and soon we were back on the road.
After another half an hour of my expert navigation during which we missed every single turn we finally got to the Cape Rama Fort.
Now, I don’t think that the fort was a lot bigger than our hostel. But, the view was awesome and there was nice wind blowing. We walked around for a while and snapped a lot of pictures. There was a church inside the fort and we admired it from outside. The beach under the fort also seemed very nice. But, we decided that it wasn’t worth the walk.
After getting back on the road, we realized that we were hungry and decided to find some place to have lunch at. We found a small wayside eatery and had a wonderful Goan style fish curry meals with fish fry from there. It was a nice experience. As it turned out the, our choice turned out to be good in more ways than one. We met a malayalee there who suggested that we go upto Colva which was a beach in North Goa and check out a hotel called the Colmar Beach Residency there.
So, we set out for Colva which was quite some way away. We got there in the evening and checked out the hotel. We were surprised to find that the rooms were very comfortable and cheap apart from being convenient. We booked rooms for the next day and then, we decided to check out the beach. It was a nice beach with fine sand and a lot of water sports facilities.
We cooled off at the CCD nearby and then started to make our way back t Cancona. The roads were nice and the evening was cool. It was my first day on a two wheeler and I greatly enjoyed the ride.
After getting back, I and a few of the others had a swim at the Palolim beach. Then we cleaned up ourselves at the hotel. After that we walked back along the Palolim Beach. It was an experience like few others.
In the morning, we could see that there were a large number of rather simple looking eateries along the entire length of the Palolim beach. But, after sunset, the whole place was transformed! There were Diyas, candles and lights everywhere. The whole beach was transformed from just sand to something a lot more. Couple were having dinner on the fine beach, while being serenaded by performers, chefs were preparing the fresh fish in open air kitchens, people were playing pool and billiards in the bars … Infact, the whole beach had a surreal ambience about it and seeing the beach reminded one of the exotic locations that one sees on TV.
We went to a bar and bought a bunch of breezers so that they would let us hang around. We used the time to take in the surroundings and the people. The place was crawling with foreigners. We were able to get an idea of one of the primary attractions of Goa… the evenings!
We had some omelette and bread from a roadside stall and returned to our rooms. We were too tired to do anything else and we all soon tucked in for the night.
It was pretty cold in the morning and we all had a tough time waking up. As soon as we were all ready, we caught a bus to Madgaon from near Palolim beach. We got to Madgaon in time for breakfast and found a nice place there called Kamat Hotel there where we all had a hearty meal. After that, we made for Colva and checked-in into our rooms.
We all got ready and set off for the day’s adventures on freshly rented vehicles, a little after 12. We made first for Panaji. From there, we made our way to the Aguatha Fort. It was a nice place with a good view. We all snapped a lot of pictures and some of them were pretty cool.
After the fort, we had to decide where we wanted to go next. Bhakthi being the incurable child he is, wanted to go to the nearest beach which was Coco, if the map was to be believed, to run around in his knickers. Das had his misgivings about this plan and wanted instead to return to Colva and go for some paragliding as he was supposed to return that evening to attend the ZTE interview. But, as is the custom among us the louder guy won and we went with Bhakthi’s plan. After a long ride along deserted roads we finally came to a dead end. We eventually found a whole in the bush and made our way through it.
Coco beach was in fact a tiny little beach used primarily for fishing. A fisherman politely offered to take us on ride in his fishing boat. But we were too tired and declined the offer. After that we started on our way back and stopped at a couple of places on the way back for refreshments.
Back at the hotel, we all freshened up and decided to split up for the evening. I, Bhakthi, Febin, AKP, Thumbi and Das were feeling a bit rich and decided that we wanted the fine dining experience too. We picked a cool looking hotel with an open air section, live music, cool lights and a bar.
After a few bottles of chilled beer and chicken kolhapuri, we were all refreshed and Das was singing along with the band. That evening, Bhakthi and AKP lost their virginity… to Gin. Das, downed his first Tequila and the rest of us got to try Fenny which was a country liquor made there. We all had one of the best evenings of our lives. Thumbi had his hands full with the camera, beer, fenny and vodka! Bhakthi soon decided that everyone was really interested in finding out how many minutes had passed since his unfortunate birth and started to try and figure it out loudly. Since everyone was too busy concentrating on their food and music, no one really bothered to point out that he was getting it all wrong. After the food, we hung around to listen to the music for a while. We also got to watch a couple dance. I was pretty impressed by their grace and precision.
Then, we went on our customary Freedom Walk along the beach. We all contributed our share of salt to the sea and talked about a lot of very important stuff. All in all, it was an evening that made our trip truly special. When, we got back to the hotel, some of us played a few games of 28 and then we all fell asleep.
The ZTE placements was put off indefinitely and thus Das did not have to return the previous night.
No one leaves Goa without visiting the Bom Jesus Cathedral in Old Goa. We thus decided that that would be our destination for the day. A short while after setting-off AKP’s tyre got punctured. I and Bhakthi stayed back to help. The others went ahead and visited a temple on the way. We caught up with them in Old Goa. After seeing the place we did a little shopping and then returned to Colva.
I, Thumbi, Arjun and Kudiyan had had a final dip in the sea while the others did paragliding. After that we had one more dinner at the cool hotel that I mentioned earlier.
It is always a little sad when you have to leave a place. But, nothing is fun if it lasts forever.
We all had a lot of fun, got to know our friends better and learned about a new place. I sure do hope that atleast some of us will get together again in Goa…