Go Goa - Fun Unlimited!!!

12:29:00 PM


From a sanctum sanctorum to perhaps the most sinful place in our country - The travel destination argument had started from 'Shirdi' and ended at 'Goa', with more than half of the people dropping out of the plan at the last moment due to guilty conscience. Like always, I was late - this time for the bus to Goa on Saturday night, with the bus conductor calling me several times saying "Madam aap kahan ho?? Bus chhoot rahi hai!!!", reminding me of the "Train chhoot rahi hai" scene from Jab We Met.

Day 1, February 19, 2012 : When I woke up in the morning, the bus was passing through Sawantwadi (I did finally manage to board the bus the previous night). At around 10 a.m., we reached the last stop - Panjim. A family friend of mine had arranged our pick up. I had booked a cottage at Chalston Beach Resort at Calangute Beach. When we arrived at the resort, the receptionist informed us that the booking has been done for 19th March, instead of 19th February, by mistake. He informed us that (luckily) there had been a check-out just a while ago. Later on while checking the email record, we figured out that the mistake was on my part as I had wrongly mentioned the date as 19th March, earning me murderous glares from my friends.

As soon as we changed, we dashed towards the beach. We had some food at one of the shack restaurant as we were starving and then headed for the water sports. We bargained with one of the many sports organizers and fixed upon a price of Rs. 700 per person for four water sports activities. Once the life jackets were on, the first sport we tried was the Bumper ride. You get to lay down in a round inflatable rubber boat, along with a partner, which is towed to a water scooter. And then as the water scooter sped, the boat bumped off the incoming waves, almost threatening to dump us into the sea. Few minutes of bumps and ohs and oohs (and screams from Shikha) and we were back at the shore. Once the other two had had their turn, four of us were boarded onto a six seater banana boat, towed to a speedboat. Just because Juhi and Shikha were much freaked out about the flip, once we were quite a distance from the beach, we volunteered to jump into the sea ourselves. So first Bhuwan went and then I jumped in and then reluctantly the girls followed suit. We went in few feet inside sea and then floated up, thanks to the life jackets (Though I would have loved it without the jackets). Once we were back on the banana boat (after a lot of energy spent in pulling Juhi up), the speed boat started again towards the beach. And this time without any warning - we were flipped. We were close enough to the beach and so we half swam, half walked till the shore. Next on the list was Jet skiing - this extreme sport needs to be done tandem, unless you are trained to drive the water scooter. It lasted only few minutes, but jumping over the waves gave me the ultimate adrenaline rush. Speed on water definitely felt more thrilling than speed on land. 




After a few minutes’ rest, we and few others were boarded onto a 16-seater boat & taken some distance away from the beach & man!!Juhi already started feeling sea sick. Some more distance away from the shore, we were transferred into a winch boat which had a parachute attached to its rear. Once all of us were aboard, our 16-seater departed back to the beach. By now, you would have guessed why we were here – For Parasailing of course!! One by one, actually two by two, we went on the flight deck in pairs. There were body harnesses attached to the parasail canopy. I was with Juhi, she strapped into the front harness, and I into the back. And on the count of three, the boat accelerated, the oncoming wind inflated the parachute, our feet left the flight deck & we were flying!!!!



If this was flying, I thought, what would sky diving feel like. I could hear the words – “The sky is mine!!”  & then realized it was Juhi & I shouting those words. I spread out my hands, felt the air gently touching my face and rustling through my hair & I closed my eyes to relish the moment…. & opened it almost immediately because I didn’t want to miss what the eyes were seeing. The boat had taken a sharp turn & since we were towed to it, we also took an angular turn. The way we were positioned, the world looked like half sky and half sea to us. Our altitude was being controlled by the speed of the boat. These all felt like seconds when we started descending to the boat. We wanted to ask for one more go & then realized that “Itne paise me itna hi milega”.
For information of those who want to try these adventure sports at Goa, make sure you don’t pay more than what we paid them & if you have paid lesser, do let me know so that we can bargain better next time. For information of those who have history of motion sickness and for those who hog before adventure sports – Juhi puked a few minutes after we descended ;-).

After an hour of swimming, splashing and being-kid on the beach, we headed back to our resort. We were so much smeared with sand that going to the room directly could have been disastrous for the room, so we washed ourselves in the showers near the swimming pool and jumped into the pool. Our pool session lasted for only few minutes as we were asked to step out 'cause we were not in our swim suits.

After a relaxing evening tea, we dressed up (quite literally) & drove down to Baga beach. We walked down a very lively & colorful Titos lane, checking out various shops & clubs as we passed by. We finally stopped at Titos. We paid an entry charge of Rs. 500 per couple – full cover charge  (That’s cheap!!), got stamped and entered. We were among the first few in the so empty club – and our reaction was ‘What’s all the hype about this place’ to which someone whispered – ‘You’re early…’ We grabbed a drink each and waited till people started to pour in. And yeah! They were actually pouring in because before we knew (I was definitely not even tipsy yet), the club was jam packed.

The music was groovy, but still people were holding their drinks & swaying to the beats without moving an inch from their place. Why is it always that someone has to initiate – like what we did next. The spotlight was on us as we started dancing at the middle of the empty floor & then as the slumber broke, everyone followed suit. Soon we were cramped up in the crowd. Like we cared!! We did it...
We left the club at 11, not because it was closing time, but because we were dead tired. We had dinner and wine at the beach side restaurant of our resort and walked to the beach for a midnight stroll.
Day 2, Feb 20, 2012: When I woke up, I was in the room. I tried to recollect when we had walked back and then let go off that effort and walked out of the room. First I thought it was still night and then I went inside the room again to check the time. It was 6.55 a.m. and still the sun wasn’t out. I put on my running shoes and ran towards the beach. I was just in time to catch up with an amazing sunrise. A jog by the beach is the best start to a day. Apart from few early morningers, there was no one else at the beach and those who were there greeted ‘Good Morning’ as they passed by. A good morning it was indeed...


After a sumptuous buffet breakfast at the restaurant, we headed south of Calangute, towards Candolim & Sinquerim beach. My friends  were cursing me when we reached Fort Aguada, ‘cause it was a HOT day. But nevertheless, we made way for the old Portugese fort shading our faces, as best as we could with our hats. The fort was surrounded by a dried up mote. We entered through a causeway and landed up right in front of the lighthouse. We walked around the fort till we were standing on a sea facing bartizan of the fort (not to mention that we stopped at almost every nook & corner of the fort for posing for pictures).

One could see a beautiful view of Sinquerim beach from where we were standing. We stood there till I became Tandoori Sang & then headed back to the car. We were so exhausted that we cropped Chapora Fort out of our plan & headed to Vagator instead.
Vagator beach was again up North, so we passed through Calangute & Baga. The place where we parked our car at Vagator, has a small flea market. Half way down to the beach, we took a break for Nariyal Pani to cool us down. Unlike Calangute, this beach was full of rocks & shallow water pools – full of crabs. And there we did another crazy stunt  – walked across a knee deep crab infested pool & climbed onto a crab infested rocky cliff, not to mention the pointed rocks on the cliff that threatened to cut into our feet – all this to get a better view of the sea.  Climbing down after a while was another stunt in itself that we did while trying our best not to stamp on the crabs with our bare feet.

After buying some shell necklaces from the flea market, we headed towards Morjim. It was past lunch time and we were starving, so the first thing that we did after reaching Morjim beach was to occupy a restaurant owned shack and order food and beer. The whole beach was strewn with shacks and beach beds and few hammocks too. The food came after an hour of waiting (or may be hours ‘cause it felt so). After hogging on the not-so-delicious food, we occupied a beach bed each with beer bottles in hand.... & dozed off – atleast I did.

Minutes felt like hours and I could have slept under the shadow of the shack till sunset, but we decided to head back to Calangute before sun down.  We swam and had unlimited splish-splash fun at Calangute (Chalston has its own private area which is unlike the otherwise crowded Calangute beach) till the sun went down and the coast guard jeeps passed by announcing that we have to retreat back from the beach post sunset.
After cleaning up, we met again at the restaurant for dinner. Once dinner was done – which was fabulous as paired with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon – we walked to the beach. We couldn’t see the water in the dark but heard the waves crashing. We watched a group some distance away from us, as they lit & released a sky lantern.

Our eyes followed the glowing orb for several minutes till it was a tiny speck far far away against the pitch black sky. Once that group left, there was pin drop silence around us, broken only by the sound of the waves. We sat there for long, drinking beer and humming songs, while gazing at the distant light of some ships.
Day 3, Feb 21, 2012: We all got up late thanks to the Vodka that had followed the beer last night (Oh I know about not mixing drinks duh!!!). We checked out post breakfast & drove down to Dona Paula via Panjim. This was my second visit to Dona Paula. I have heard and read about the love story of Dona Paula and Gasper Dias several time, until recently I read another version in Wikipedia which says -
Dona is the title given to married women according to Portuguese customs. And Paula Amaral Antonio de Souto Maior is the lady in debate. She is not a romantic figure but definitely a historical figure. She was the daughter of the Portuguese Viceroy of Jaffnapatnam, in Sri Lanka. She and her family arrived in Goa in 1644 and she married a Fidalgo from Spain in 1656. Her husband was Dom Antonio Souto Maior. They were an extremely affluent family and the entire property from the present day Cabo Raj Nivas all the way to Caranzalem belonged to the Souto Maiors. She later passed away on December 16, 1682.
The grave of Dona Paula Amaral Antonio de Souto Maior was found in the transept of the Chapel at the Governor's Palace where a part of her history is engraved on her gravestone. Dona Paula was a woman of charity and is known to have helped the villagers and worked a lot for their betterment, so after her death, the villagers decided to rename the village as Dona Paula. Initially the village was called Oddavell. The alleged statue of 'Dona-Paulo' the statue seen today at the jetty in Dona Paula is in reality the sculpture of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Knox. It was a Dutch sculptress, Baroness Yrse Von Leistner who etched the sculpture as she was in awe of the philosopher Robert Knox.” (Courtesy : Wikipedia)


Once back at Panjim, we had lunch at some xyz restaurant (that was definitely not the name) and visited the closeby Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception church. We bought lots and lots of kajus from the Mapusa market, utilizing the time left before our bus’s scheduled departure. Unfortunately we had to wait for 2 more hours at the middle-of-nowhere bus stop at Mapusa. The bus was a sleeper and thus saved us from overnight exhaustion of sleeping on semi-recliner seats.
The next thing we knew (or rather heard) was - ‘Chembur-Chembur-Chembur-Chembur’. We were back in Mumbai after a super awesome trip (though not to its sinful extent)... And we were burnt and tanned beyond recognition.

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