Goa – Day 1 | June 27, 2015
“Are you crazy?”
“You got to be kidding me!”
“What the hell is wrong with you?”
These were the comments from my friends, when I said – “Am going on a solo trip.”
“Sometimes you got to get away from everything and enjoy your company. Travelling alone is actually a journey into yourself.”
AIRAVAT – ‘The Journey from Bangalore to Goa’
It was bright all around, as the lights in bus were switched on. At first look out the window, I thought we had reached; but we were still in the highways. Checked my phone, it displayed 2:30 AM. Went back to sleep again. After a substandard nap, I woke up at 6 AM; the bus halted at a place which was 136 km from Hubli. It was a pleasant climate with mild drizzle, I ordered a coffee and took a walk around.
Either side of the road was covered with lush green fields; with intermittent hills; cattle grazing their way for a hearty breakfast. There was a lake on left side of the forked road. As we moved uphill, I saw an enormous view of the greenery, which looked like a large sheet of green carpet spread across for miles. And…”The Arabian sea” – witnessing it for the first time! Never seen green in all manner of shades. Wish I could just open the window and feel the wind rushing onto my face, and the sound of birds chirping, and inhale the earthly smell of soil; but, damn it A/C bus!
I knew that Western Ghats is recognized as UNESCO’s world heritage spot. Now I can witness the significance – its exceptional biodiversity. For a moment, as the bus made a turn in the mountain, it felt like an adventurous trip into the Jurassic world! There was a huge army ship docked, not sure if there was any fighter plane in it. It was past six already, but I couldn’t spot the sun, as we were heading north. But caught a glimpse at her though.
We reached Karwar port at 6:45 AM; natives were fishing. The person beside me got down in the next stop. As conductor was unloading the luggage from the cabin below, I saw a movie poster of an Ape with a tag line – “the legend is still alive”. Not sure what movie that was. I could see a beach so close from the road, just around 100 yards from me. People were meditating, jogging and some even playing. Could see chain of Islands, guessing it’s uninhabitable, at least not yet. Now my eyes got tired of green, so I got back to ‘The Book Thief’. In Pollem check post, there was a sign board “Panaji 94 km”. And just in time, Vodafone officially welcomed me to Maharashtra with a text. The conductor had passed on a basket of fruits to the check post inspector.
Another nap. It’s 9 AM and we have got 18 more km to go. “Mujhe bookh lag rhi hai” – Boborygmus. Farmers were almost done with their work for the day. Another glimpse of the huge water body, but this time it was mostly brownish settles. Huge packages printed ‘Myntra’ on it were unloaded in one place; it was quick, seems it’s part of the routine. Suddenly water was sprinkled on the window; it was Zeus. There was a bit of drizzle as we traveled.
Weather is a bit humid in Panjim. Unlike the autos I have seen before, this one had doors on either side of the passenger seat and a curtain in front; it gives you a chariot experience. Although roads had pot holes, there was not a bit of traffic; coming from Bangalore’s traffic, I was thankful for that. After a 20 minute bumpy drive, I reached Veronica.
The place was lovely and decent; Joseph and his friend run the place, they were hospitable and friendly. It was located in a peaceful area, with just a 5 minute walk from the beach, and also very close to the main city. Rooms were clean and big enough for a couple to stay – with television, wardrobe, sofa, balcony etc. Only fault was the water tap in the basin didn’t work, apart from that everything was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to stay. Showered in cold water to beat the humidity. Left Veronica by 10:30 AM, took a Deo bike for my commute. I found a small Pav-Bhajji shop on my way; there I had a cheese bread-omelette for breakfast. Since I forgot to take a waist belt, I bought a new one for 500. As I was heading for a petrol bunk, I came across a beach so went directly there. Parked my bike at Calungute beach and headed straight to Arabian Sea.
Walked almost three-quarters of the allowed stretch. Then found a shady place to rest, and to read. There was a huge piece of tile which I used for a seat, and a broken log to lean back. On my way back, I got a tattoo – of YOLO! But it turned out to be blunder. The tattooist inquired where I was from; when I replied ‘Chennai’, he was surprised and complimented that I was fluent in Hindi.
I had no idea of where my next halt was. So stopped for lunch at Dominoes in Highways en route to Panjim. Zesty chicken was pathetic, hardly finished three fourth of the personal sized pizza.
“Travelling alone, with no set plan in mind except for the destination, brings out the essence of wanderlust”
With the GPS navigation and few natives assistance, I managed to reach St.Immaculate church. It was peaceful there. The ceilings bore the the carved paintings of Christ’s story. Although I wasn’t brought up as a Christian I had this connection, since a kid. I had this curiosity, so I started to read bible. Meenu and Rachel, two of the most important people in my life, gifted me with a Bible, a key-chain bearing Christ, daily bread and posters for my 22nd birthday. I sat in the pew, closed my eyes for 10-15 minutes and was thinking about stuff which I was thankful for.
I had no clue of what’s next. So sat in a park nearby and surfed the net. St.Inez church was one option and was pretty close. It was past 3, by the time I reached mass had begun. Not sure if I’m allowed inside, so just waited on the hall for few minutes.
Decided to head back to my guest house. As I was about to take the bridge route leading to Veronica, I noticed a Casino ferry. So thought I’ll take a walk and check it out. I saw a car-ferry which was about to sail – bikes were rushed into the ferry; school children were running to board it as well. Suddenly a guy came over and asked me if I wanted to go on a ferry. I was not in a mood to decline any opportunity that came my way. Got the pamphlet, checked out the rates and timings, and purchased the ticket. There was a huge queue as the ferry is scheduled to start in few minutes. While walking down the aisle, there was this pitter-patter sound on the roof; it started raining! I thought to myself – “this couldn’t get any better”. It was an hours journey. I had put my bag on the window seat, and stood up to get a better view. As the clouds were blocking the sunlight, the rays fanned out spreading away at various angles, there by creating an illusion. As we know that sun rays are parallel, yet these appears to stretch out in the sky. Luckily I was able to capture a shot of those Crepuscular rays with my iPhone.
Met an Australian couple in the ferry. They were in the middle of their 1-month India tour. We got on our bikes and parted our ways, biding goodbye. I was exhausted, not had a proper meal the whole day. Was just lying in my bed, sending pics to few of my close friends, as they insisted. There was power cut couple of times, but luckily there was a power inverter.
“I didn’t go for tour, I went on a travel.