Having had a few lazy days on the beach and a few nights partying, we decided to take it easy and hire a couple of scooters and head out on the road in search of somewhere a bit different. Without any trouble we managed to get the cost of the hire of the two bikes down to just 400 rupees which is approximately £5… bargain! I’d driven one previously when I had been in Goa a few years ago, but we explained to the guy that Al hadn’t, hoping that we’d get some sort of short lesson. There was no lesson… he looked concerned for all of about 2 seconds then showed Al how to start the bike and how he twisted to go and braked to stop. His parting remark was, “if you fall… protect the bike!”
With no map, no fuel, no helmets and no experience we headed off out of Palolem in search of a gas station, we hit the open road and soon stumbled across somewhere to get fuel. Joining the madness we pushed our way to the front of the queue as we’ve found previously if you wait patiently you never get to the front. We managed to just explain to the guy we wanted 4 litres of fuel at 40p a litre and we were off. Joining the main road with trucks barrelling down on you horns blaring and plumes of dust going everywhere you soon realise where the accelerator is and how to get the bike shifting. Once off the main road we followed a really great road which twisted up and down valleys whilst clinging to the shoreline. We soon got the hang of ‘scooting’ and were buzzing along wind in our hair tooting our horn at everything and everyone in sight (well, that’s seemingly what they do so we tried to fit in as best we could). First stop of the day was Agonda which was the next beach up from Palolem, it was bigger but quieter and seemed to be a place for people having a mid life crisis, y’know the ones who decide to run off to Goa to train to be yoga instructors because they find it ‘spiritual’… Needless to say it wasn’t our kind of place, we had a wander up the beach then got back on the bikes and headed north some more. We followed the road through Agonda which then became and bit bumpy and then a bit more bumpy and before long became a dirt track, nevertheless we powered on and eventually hit a main road again. This main road turned out to be a classic, smooth tarmac sweeping corners, up hill, downhill, everything you want from a road really. We were so busy enjoying ourselves that we were half way to the city of Margao before we realised we wanted to turn back!
On the way back toward Palolem we found a little sign to somewhere called Cola beach, having never heard of it, we thought we’d check it out, turned off the main road and onto a red rocky, dusty path. The road seemed to go on forever though after a couple of kilometres we noticed a load of bikes parked up. We parked up and set off on foot down the hill to the beach. What a great surprise, a tiny beach with one bar and a fresh water lagoon. We spent a few hours relaxing in the lagoon before having the obligatory beer followed by some more relaxing in the bar before cruising back to Palolem.
We spent our last evening in Goa shopping before heading to a restaurant on the beach called Dropadi where we had a massive king fish cooked in a tandoor oven, it was delicious. Although there was far too much for two, we just about managed to finish it. We then headed down the beach to Cuba bar for a farewell beer before retiring to bed early as I was not feeling too good…. I think it’s started!!
Having a really chilled out time in Goa for 4 days, it was now time to get moving and start the backpacking, until now we’d been flashpacking really, nice hotels and all this luxury business.. It just wasn’t our thing! We woke early to have breakfast and catch our cab to the airport, by now I was really not feeling good so thought the best plan was to sleep for the whole cab ride, probably the best idea, as Al said there were some pretty ridiculous overtakes around blind bends whilst overtaking 3 trucks at a time, pretty standard stuff now. What seemed like a second later to me, although more like a stressful hour and a half for Al, we arrived at the airport, checked our bags and went through to departures. We sat by a tv which had cricket on and within seconds had an audience, they just love to stare.
On the plane I followed the same logic as before and fell asleep straight away as I felt ok when asleep, but bloody awful when I was awake. Seconds later I opened my eyes and we’re back in Mumbai. I’d almost forgotten how ridiculous this place is, just stood waiting for our cab all you could hear was the taxis in the pick up queue just constantly honking their horns whist the traffic was stationary. We were like.. look guys, it doesn’t help by doing that… it just seems so pointless to honk your horn to make people move if there is no where to move to. We’d arranged a few days ago to stay at a guest house near to the airport as we didn’t fancy a 2hr cab ride into town and a 2hr cab ride back in the morning. Decent guest house, very small rooms and we were the only white boys in this end of town.. fun. We’re getting used to the attention now though. I went out with Al in search of something to eat and we ended up in Malhaxmi Garden Restaurant, a place with all Indian men and none of whom could speak a word of the Queens! Al managed to order something which looked and smelled awesome but I was certain my stomach wasn’t up for it. Yes, I hold my head in shame….. I later entered the golden arches and bought some McDonalds fries thinking they might help… They didn’t.
We spent the evening sat in our room watching films (inbetween dashing to the toilet) as we wanted an early night as we were flying again early in the morning.