I think The Jungle Hostel the Goan equivalent of The Pink Palace, Greece. Every morning we wake up, even more lazy than the day before, making it a habit to get several King Fisher beers from the fridge before joining the circle of people in hammocks. The dilemma of the day is which dish and cocktail to order from the huge menu at The Mango Tree, the restaurant right next to us.
Today, we finally decide to go to see the beach – in daylight, that is. Our new German friends and Katherine from Canada join us. The beach isn’t quite the lonely tropical paradise one might assume, although it is rather empty. Still, we head toward the end of the beach to avoid onlookers. It is very common to get stared at and have your picture taken when you’re a tourist in India, but if you’re a tourist in India wearing a BIKINI, all hell breaks loose, and the video cameras are out. It’s not exactly pleasant to have your fat, milky white thighs on a strange Indian man’s cellphone forever… or until he breaks it and gets a new one.
A very nice old lady with a big bucket on her head stops by and offers us various fruits, like mangos, papayas and coconuts. I have always wanted to drink out of a coconut, so she hands me one with a long red straw, along with a smaller coconut to eat. This is just amazing, soaking up the sun and overdosing on coconuts!
After a few hours of tanning, throwing sand at each other and crashing into the huge waves, we go back for a shower and some lunch at The Mango Tree. Being out in the sun always gets me so light headed and tired, so we take a short nap before going back to the common room. We’re leaving tomorrow, so we need to figure out our next step. After that and a meeting with a travel agent on the other side of the road, we grab dinner at – drum roll – The Mango Tree (surprise, surprise) with Selina and a guy named Tal. We have a pretty amazing feast of fried rice with eggs and a thai dish of vegetables, walnuts and almonds. So much yum. With full stomachs we join the circle of people on pillows at the hostel, where drinks, beers and joints were passed around – we thanked no to one of these, but we wont tell you which one it was ;-)
It’s around 1.00 and it’s time for bed. I am exhausted.
Several hours later, I wake up with the worst sunburn. I am one huge sensitive lobster – but the worst part is my back. At this point, I could just go to The Pink Palace and stand with my face to the wall and no one would notice me.
We pack our stuff and meet with a travel agent across the street to get some bus tickets for our next three destinations. In India, a travel agent is just really the way to go. But always go to more than one before booking anything, as one might tell you there are no available busses or trains to your desired destination, or they could overcharge you. a lot. We end up going back there three times before actually getting our tickets, due to whatever reason there could possibly be. It’s not too much trouble though, as we can spend more time in the common room with our friends. One guy from New Zealand is sitting in a hammock and playing the ukulele – or, at least trying to. Tal is offering me his jar of Nivea creme for men for my sunburn. There is just a good vibe and nice people, and it’s hard to leave.
In the taxi from the airport to Vagator, we met two American girls who were going to Arambol. They let us take a few pictures of their Lonely Planet, and painted a lovely picture of the place they were going to, so we decided to give it a try.
At 1.30 we get in a taxi and head to Arambol – it’s only 600 rupees. We are dropped off at the end of a looong bazar, and at the end of that, there is an even longer walk with our backpacks through the beach, another bazar and then a few huts. It has been the worst hike of my life – so far. We arrive at Ludu’s Guest House, and a man shows up out of nowhere and shows us a room and that’s it – no reception, no money, no check-in. It’s a bit shady, but whatever. We just lock our bags to the windows to be extra safe, and we head out to explore the shops – of course, we spend way too many rupees. This place has so many shops full of everything that a hippie could ever want, so of course Arambol is filled with white people with dreadlocks, stretches and wifebeaters with Ganesh printed on them. They’re all probably into yoga, too.
We’re about to go find some dinner. It’s funny, but we almost have to force down our three meals a day. It might be the heat, it might be the food, or it might be the fact that we are too busy, but we only feel hunger in small waves, and quickly get over it. We rarely finish our food, unless it’s something familiar and bland, like a vegetarian burger or pizza. Indian food is just not for us, I guess.
Well, off to find something edible we go. Right now, I’m blogging from our balcony at Ludu’s Guest House, watching the waves hit the cliffs underneath us while the sun sets. This is life.