LOG ENTRY 30
I received the great news that Dad is back in a few days with the carnet de passage and we can continue our trip soon so I made a quick run slash sightseeing to Vasco da Gamma and for train ticket and received an offer for a night out in the red light district from a group of student.
I love Goa for the fact that every morning I can buy a big English breakfast with Heinz baked beans for the price of a single cheeseburger in McDonalds. Not as I am from the rainy island close to mainland Europe, which would explain my obsession for uncooked bacon, but it does feel good to have a calorie intake more than 200 in the morning. Filled up with calories for only 100 rupees and I was on my way to Vasco da Gamma with the public bus. This wasn't the same bus as I got "used" to in Punjab or in Pakistan but a proper air conditioned bus with soft seats. I couldn't believe it and also the ticket was really cheap.
I have seen part of Vasco when I arrived from Delhi so my plan was to cover the unseen areas. Before that, I had to get in touch with Mom about Dad's progress with the carnet so I quickly located an internet cafe. It turned out that Dad will be on his way back within two days with the carnet so my sightseeing trip turned into a "buying ticket" trip of course after I explained to Mom for over an hour that I am fine and my life is not in any danger just because the monsoon took my roof off. I ensured her that my daily alcohol level is sufficiently high to survive any type of tropical disease as well and I did promptly say no for the diamond smugglers offer.
Without realizing the time I spent talking to Mom I ran deeply into the afternoon which cut my sightseeing short and the internet bill long. Surprisingly the train station was fairly empty so buying the ticket back to Delhi for the next day was not as challenging as I expected. After all this I can say that my day is going really well, Dad will be back within 3 days so we can finally continue our motorcycle trip instead of globetrotting with trains and buses and finally the rain has stopped long enough to cross the road without getting my underwear wet. After wandering around the Vasco market I made my way back to the bus station and in no time the lovely air conditioned bus was carrying my happy butt back to Calangute. Even thought I got off the bus much earlier, nothing could ruin my mood, even the rain, which did not spare Calangute as nicely as it did Vasco. Just right after I got sufficiently wet a car pulled over with a group of student from Mumbai who I had a few drinks with at the party two days ago and they gave me a lift back and a few sips of whiskey as well. To find out whether I accepted their offer for the night out in the red light district of Goa, read LOG ENTRY 31 soon.
It is an understatement that I was excited as the tropical sun woke me up in my berth. I jumped out of the bed and headed for the morning shower, which basically meant wiping my body with wet towels in the lavatory and then a quick breakfast. I didn't know what to expect in Goa so I wanted to be sure that I am prepared. As the train rolled into Vasco de Gamma station I noticed that people are not pooping anymore between the railway tracks like in Delhi and Mumbai, no shanty towns either instead, the last two hours the train rolled through the most scenic countryside since Dharamsala.
Vasco as the locals call it founded by the Portuguese in 1543 and remained in their hands until the 1961. This explains a lot, the architecture, the cleanness and the relatively low and non dense population which is predominantly Christian. It was such a refreshing feeling to walk out of the train station without the hassle of jumping over people who are sleeping on the floor or the endless amount of beggars, both are really a pain in the bigger cities. In fact, I haven't seen a single beggar in or around the train station or anywhere I went in Vasco. The city is not the capital of this lovely province thought but I yet to visit Panjim which is the actual capital and administration center.
I picked Calanguta beach from the Lonely Planet as my base as it sounded like pretty good with a long sandy beach and a few party spots. I found a minivan surprisingly easily from Vasco with a driver who spoke decent English with a good sense of humor. The humor came handy about ten minutes into our ride when we burst one of our tire. He just set next to his minivan and laughed at the disabled vehicle which I ended up changing it's wheel. My good deed actually earned me a free ride as he didn't charge the 150 rupees agreed price in the end and he also took me to a guest house. I know he must have been associated with them but the place looked very decent, stone throw away from the beach and it contained about 30 hut with bamboo looking roof. First I expected the price to be high but they only wanted 650 rupees for a night which I managed to work down to 250 rupees. What a bargain I thought and quickly headed down to the beach. Unfortunately July is not the best time to visit Goa. The sun hasn't been really up since the morning, clouds took over the sky and the ever increasing wind made the beach quite an unpleasant place to lay. As bad things always comes with good things, the strong wind turned the beach into a real surfers paradise which I enjoyed for over 2 hours. Apart from the time to time appearing vendors the beach was empty. Some of the vendor warned me that many people died lately here as a result of the storms and strong current.
On the way back from the beach I have been approached by two well dressed and friendly Indian guy with perfect American accents. We got into a little chat and they invited me to the bar next to us for a beer. At first they friendliness surprised me but about ten minutes into the conversation a little red flag raised in my head. They guys claimed to have an international jewelry business and they mentioned me that other foreigners made lots of money just by transiting diamonds for them. Sorry boys, I thought, I am not your typical broke backpacker who in need for some cash would smuggle anything so I finished the beer, politely excused myself and went back to my bungalow. They invited me for a house party but of course I did not join them later on.
After a great Portuguese style dinner I decided to check out the party hot spot of the beach as it seemed that no beach party will happen here during the rainy season. The club was nice, something similar I seen in Kenya, just on the other side of the Indian ocean. There were no walls, just a huge bamboo roof supported by concrete pillars and a half circle bar. The music was a bit low when I got there and hardly any people were drinking cocktails. This changed very quickly thought, around 11 pm the party kicked in and people from all over the world turned up to dance for the latest Indian dance hits. Punjabi MC was the most popular of them. I met all sorts of people, an Afghan tourist was the most interesting out of all but I had a few drinks with a group of American soldiers, Indian gap year students and Danish bikers.
It was around 3 am when the party stopped and I haven't even noticed the developing storm which caught me on the way back to my bungalow. The heavy rain turned into a proper storm by the time I reached my waterfront little house. At first I managed the water what was dripping through the roof with the buckets I found in the bathroom but later on the wind blown some part of the roof away so I had to relocate myself to the less beachfront main building and slept on the sofa with a few other unlucky guests.