Friday, August 7, 2015

Goa :The First Rendezvous

This week I was in Goa again, enjoying the monsoons in a lush green resort, an idyllic break from the drudgery of daily routine. There with my family, I remembered my first rendezvous with the wonder that is Goa.
With a fortuitous stroke of luck I had found myself stuck in Goa over a weekend in March, a few years ago. A local acquaintance helped me get a place to stay near Anjuna Beach. Saturday morning I was up early, it was very calm, the party had paused for a breather. I walked up to the cliff nearby, the rhythmic sounds from the Arabian Sea was relaxing while I got myself a cup of tea .Once I was through with the breakfast I wondered about my plan as there was none, no itinerary to follow. So the weekend began with hiring my ride, the quintessential automatic scooter which you will see everywhere in the holiday season in Goa. I talked to the people around for places to go to with some basic directions and drove off.
Portuguese let go of Goa very late, it being one of the last pieces of land added to the Indian republic, the influence is quite visible. The buildings were vibrant and colorful, a distinct aesthetic style which could easily make you forget that you were still in India. March is when the holiday season ends in Goa but the party atmosphere was still evident everywhere. There was no dearth of tourists who kept passing me by on their own bikes. I was heading towards Baga and Calangute, a paradise for Indian tourists, epicenter of touristy activities and crowded shacks. Both these beaches were bursting at seams with tourist, mainly Indians, everyone in a full throttle holiday mood. If you really need to be part of the euphoria then Baga is a place to be. I rented a sun bed and binged on the food from one of the shacks and watched the busy affair in front of me.
The decibels and density of people both start decreasing as you start drifting away from the epicenter that Baga is, in either direction North or South. Up north you have the Vagator and the Mini Vagator beaches where you find more tranquility. Down a little south were Sirquerim and Candolim beaches. I really did not have time go to the distant beaches in South Goa or North Goa, yet to be ticked off in my list. As I wandered around the hub of the touristy spots I came across Fort Aguada, an Old Portuguese bastion made to safeguard Goa from the enemies. I remember a dance sequence of some south Indian movie being shot there at the time. With nowhere to go to and my bike being the only company I spent a considerable time going around this old fort. The day went by just like that and I came back to cliff to see the sun set. During the peak holiday season the Saturday Night Market at Anjuna is also famous and decided to check it out..The market was very close to where I was put up so I spent a few hours there and it had everything to keep you consumed for hours. Sunday was a little more relaxed, hangover of a hectic Saturday had taken over.
The spontaneity of this trip always lives in my mind where I kept exploring, almost like unfolding the pages of a new novel. Since I was not bound by a plan I could take a pause and capture the little nuggets of life in Goa .I even managed to dance with some local guys on Holi. Freewheeling perhaps was an apt way to have the first experience in this party destination.

Erstwhile horadings make for a colourful wall, very much in sync with the beautiful bungalows
The shack near my guest house in Anjuna
Colours are never to be left behind in Goa !
Colourful huts and bungalow flank the roads 
Vagator Beach
All the actvity on Baga was elsewhere !
One of the beautiful chapels you have in Goa !
Meanwhile these guys carry on with their lives !

Sirquerim Beach
Playing in the sea is a favourite for everyone
Saturday Night Market at Anjuna


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