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Chapter eight - Baga

sunny 31 °C

Day 36: Baga, Goa 4/11/11

We awake reasonably early given the previous night’s epic card games. Sandeep suggests we jump in his cab to the airport as it will be able to drop us in Baga. We hurriedly get our stuff together and packed before the cab driver decides he cannot do this.

We get the hot, sweaty bus to Baga with our life’s belongings on our laps and an old lady’s bony elbow digging firmly into my side but with the help of an ice cold Mountain Dew we are able to get through to Mapusa and catch the much quieter connecting bus to Baga.

Arriving in Baga with all our stuff we have a short recce round to find some accommodation and eventually plump for one close to the beach for 400 rupees per night. It is very basic and I think for a place where the walls reach the ceiling and hot running water you have to pay extra but more than adequate for a couple of nights.

Taking a walk around we realise that Baga is very busy, very busy indeed, and not at all what we have experienced in Anjuna and was not a particularly welcome sight. Whilst the throngs of human traffic in the big cities is quite exciting, on the beach it is not what I would call ‘acceptable’ and the wide, golden beach is ruined by walls of holidaying families and hundreds of jet skis. A quick game of cricket with a family from Mumbai softens my stance only slightly. Oh well, we only came for tomorrow’s tomato throwing festival…

A good dinner and drinks to the smooth sounds of Gary, the Indian pub singer, and we are able to enjoy classics originally by such artists as Blue, Elvis and Bon Jovi. Close your eyes and you could be at Smokey Joe’s Roadhouse.

Day 37: Baga, Goa 5/11/11

Wake up early after a poor night’s sleep, which is surprising given the distinct lack of Z’s over the past few nights. Gemma screams and wakes the whole of Baga at 6am at the sight of a cockroach in the bathroom.

We get out and search for the tomato throwing festival we saw advertised in the paper a few days ago. Asking about we get some very vague answers. To cut a long story short it turns out it has been cancelled.

Our Costa experience is completed when we visit a British greasy spoon for scrambled eggs on toast complete with football shirts on the walls. A quick visit to the market sees us come away with a 100 rupee battery charger, which is a welcome addition to the stuff as it fits the phone and camera we wisely brought without a charger.

To escape the madness of Baga we make the most of the facilities on offer at the local swanky hotel and lounge by the pool, naturally making friends as we do so. This may be due to my foot preventing me from swimming, and ultimately clearing the pool area as I have countless times before…

We chat to the neighbours for a couple of hours in the evening and after some weird goings on involving some of the neighbours and some Indian holiday makers we decide to make a move asap tomorrow, especially as the day ends as it begins with Gemma freaking out at a cockroach.

Posted by tevs 05:29 Archived in India Tagged beaches coast goa baga Comments (0)

Chapter seven - Anjuna

sunny 33 °C

Day 25: Anjuna, Goa 24/10/11

We are up earlyish for our flight to Goa from Mumbai and catch a rickshaw to the airport. Our ticket states International Terminal, the airport police say otherwise. It emerges we are at the wrong terminal, so a cab to the other one. Good start to the day.

Catch our flight and fall asleep in Mumbai. Wake up in Goa.

A very hot, sweaty cab to our hotel in Anjuna reveals how tropical Goa is, with palm trees and humidity aplenty. Find the beaches, which are beautiful. Not an awful lot else to report. There are lots of white faces here, which is a bit of a strange sight given the previous few weeks. Also lots of new age travellers and ageing hippies.

Day 26: Anjuna, Goa 25/10/11

We have a lie in and some HBO action and take a stroll to the main beach. There are lots of cows on the beach on their holidays it seems, as well as lots of people at one end, where there are bars and music. Bit sociable for us so we head to the much sandier, quieter end where we enjoy some golden sands and the warm Arabian Sea with some cold, cheap Kingfisher.

Some further exploration and it turns out to be a very quaint little town away from the bars and restaurants, with a very creepy looking Catholic church in the middle.

The friendly offers of some of the shadier locals runs through our heads as we fall asleep. Want good smoke? No? Want opium? No? Motorbike, taxi, rickshaw? No? Come see my shop…

Day 27: Anjuna, Goa 26/10/11

A strange breakfast – I have slightly watery scrambled eggs, whilst Gemma bizarrely has a bowl of baked beans with some toast and mayo drowned mushrooms.

We visit the Wednesday flea market, where there is a huge range of goods on sale. Some incredible trinkets and pieces, ornate door handles, spices, teas, clothing, food, music.

We do ok for ourselves, coming away with some shorts, a couple of t-shirts, some spices and new sunglasses (RIP my Stevie Wonders) and a new nose ring for Gemma. Costs a fortune. Haggling is good fun and the hundreds of stalls give plenty to see.

Head to the beach and have a game of football with a local kid with a huge smile on his face, using a polystyrene lump as the ball. Still a kickabout is a kickabout. Have a huge mound of laundry done for about 3 quid.

Day 28: Anjuna, Goa 27/10/11

A early lunch to set up the day – very good prawn noodles for me, whilst fatty isn’t hungry and makes do with mixed fruit pancakes, non-veg club sandwich and chips. Shocking amount of food.

Head to the beach and there a few fairly big waves today. I have a good hour of body surfing and see our football friend again, whose family run one of the beachfront bars.

We try to find our way to some of the restaurants I checked out earlier, but they are inaccessible in the dark. Try a couple of different places, including one that tries to serve us overpriced but warm beer. Nice one mate, but I think we will try somewhere else. Thanks.

Eat on the seafront – great food and then get caught in the most incredible storm on the way back. The thunder and lightning are amazing and the bolts of lightning lighting up the sea are quite stunning. We get absolutely drenched on the way back and see the most enormous frog on the way back to the hotel. It is absolutely huge.

Gemma is not well in the night and helpfully informs that she ‘is not very good at being ill.’

Day 29: Anjuna, Goa 28/10/11

Wake up and Gemma is still not very well. A quick hotel room workout follows for the healthy members of the party.

Thomas out to source some lunch. I eat alone in a roadside joint, listening to some dickhead Brits talking nonsense and arguing over who they think would win in theoretical fights. Could have stayed at home for that one…

A Goan mackerel curry and rice is the spiciest meal of the trip by some way. An ultimate head sweat amuses the locals and amazes the kids. Still though quite delicious.

A takeaway nutella pancake for the invalid and we spend most of the afternoon reading on the hotel room porch. A ‘massive ant’ mistakes Gemma’s toes for a mixed fruit pancake and a club sandwich. She is ‘not very good at being bitten'.

I go out to pick up food and quite strangely emerge with an Indian takeaway in India.

Day 30: Anjuna, Goa 29/10/11

Gemma is still not 100% and after we have lunch together she makes a move back to the room. I have an hour at the beach and am rather chuffed on the way back when an Indian guy asks where I got my FCUK t shirt, which has accidentally become all I wear.

Prior to my trip to the beach I drop off the laundry and the laundry guy, a possible Denzel Washington character with his slightly greying hair, thick set build and rosary beads (no shirt), takes one look at the brilliant blue skies and blazing sun and says ‘bad weather’. Sure enough Michael Fish is right and I am driven off the beach by a thunderstorm.

Watch some footy – Chelsea ship five at home and fortunately the late kick off is not shown. Just as well as Liverpool scrape past the Albion.

I am a bit sociable and have a drink with some guys in the hotel, before we head back and prepare for our early morning start to be Bollywood extras.

Day 31: Anjuna, Goa 30/10/11

Wake up and Gemma asks what time it is. ‘Quarter to six’ I say and we get up and get showered. Gemma then comes back, when she is dressed to tell me that it is in fact ten to five. Second time I have done this and it is good to see my time spent working for a fine watchmaker was not wasted.

Oh well! Gemma is still not well so it is just as well that we don’t wake up again until 6.35 and miss the bus to the set. We have a lazy day on the beach and go to pick up the laundry from Denzel. He is not in and the nearby church has a candlelit procession on. My detective skills lead me to deduce he is at mass. Go back later. My suspicions were confirmed.

Dangerously we go back for dinner to the last place we ate before Gemma was ill. We like to play with fire

Day 32: Anjuna, Goa 31/10/11

Due to be back on set today, we are determined to catch the bus, so the watch is double checked before anyone stands by what time they think it is…

We get to the meeting point with the French woman who ‘casted’ us for Gemma’s ability to deliver a line and my previous experience as a Shakespearean actor. The ‘6.30’ am bus in fact does not turn up until 8 am. Not sure whether to blame the French or the Indians. The other extras awaiting the studio bus include dreadlocked Italians (pastafarian?), some crazy Russians and some general hippy types.

Arrive on set for a breakfast of jam sandwiches and receive our costumes. Gemma gets to wear her denim shorts and bikini top whilst I get an undersized orange Goa tourist tank top to wear with my board shorts. Good look.

Most of the other extras are crazy, drunk, stoned Russians. We have a long day dancing to a Bob Sinclar song. The final scene involves a fight in the crowd. I get pushed out of the way by one of the actors, a world record holding kickboxer apparently. I could have had him.

Get back on the bus and get paid. 1200 rupees for me, 1500 rupees for Gemma for showing a bit of flesh. I strongly recommend never watching Billa 2 if you come across it.

Long day but very funny. Make a porch friend whilst reading my book.

Day 33: Anjuna, Goa 1/11/11

Wake up and watch most of a film, Ghost Rider, before the power cuts out ten minutes from the end. Power cuts seem to be an annoying fact of life in India. Go for a very Indian slow lunch of pizza and pasta and a few cocktails. Tough life.

Catch a few waves after lunch – lots of surf and I am washed right up the beach whilst body surfing. Sandeep from Finchley, last night’s porch friend joins us for a while.

When we get back to the room there is a great big frog in the bathroom. Needless to say Gemma is less than calm. I try to catch it in my cap, from where it jumps on me. Eventually catch the frog in the bin and successfully release him back into the wild.

We go for dinner with Sandeep and a nice but rather strange Swedish guy. Sandeep, Gemma and myself head for a few drinks. They hit the BOGOF cocktails but I opt for the finer stuff – Royal Stag Indian whisky.

Day 34: Anjuna, Goa 2/11/11

Wake up next morning and the Royal Stag works its wondrous morning after magic. We head to the Wednesday flea market and a few beers in order to level some people out.

Gemma buys a beautiful decorated elephant off a one armed market trader for 700 rupees. Bargain but seems a bit big to be taken in the backpacks.

A frog similar to yesterday’s has taken up residency on Sandeep’s door. I try to catch it for him and Gemma tells me ‘it will jump in your face’. Sure enough a slap to the side of the head by a ball of flubber ensues. Hats off Gemma, you should become a tarot reader.

After some awesome tandoori chicken kebabs we head back to the guest house with a few beers and sit out for a game of cards. This where things get interesting…myself and Sandeep head out for some more provisions to see a woman in a nightdress walking a dog down the road on its hind legs. Imagine doing the tango with lassie and you’re partway there. Play cards until around half three.

Day 35: Anjuna, Goa 3/11/11

We opt to post some goodies home and are advised to head to Mapusa, the nearest big town. Waiting for Gemma to get ready, the Swedish guy from the other day walks past. When asked what he’s up to for the day, he says he’s just going to sit in his room. ‘I have LSD’ he says and pokes his tongue out to show us. Strange considering he claimed not to drink the other night.

Take the bus to Mapusa to post the huge parcel, which is sewn into some fabric by the woman at the post office. Mapusa is a fairly big busy town, with a bustling market region. Gemma is called Barbie Doll, I am told I look like David Beckham, whilst ‘Bombay boy’ Sandeep is the ‘Indian Becks’.

We get back and meet another English guy called Blade and a German guy. We eat with them and then have a few drinks and some more cards, which ends at 6 in the morning.

Posted by tevs 07:09 Archived in India Tagged beaches coast goa Comments (0)

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