The trip south and a minor meltdown...
After the mammoth few days in the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, I travelled south catching a short internal flight with my aunt and uncle to Goa. Made my first boo boo with booking this internal flight quite late… I had been watching the flights on my 6th February rocket in price and seeing the Air India flight (which I wanted to go with as it had extra luggage as standard) it had sored in price from a reasonable 4,000RS/£42.00 to a 13,000/£140.00 (approx) I was waiting in hope that booking last minute would bring some sort of offer – but it didn’t! The night before leaving Mumbai I wacked the astronomical price of the flight on a credit card – the old mentality of out of sight out of mind, deal with it later… I was determined this was not going to affect my budget!
Once we arrived in Goa, a small town to the south of the airport lies Majorda, the place my folks choose to base themselves on their yearly jaunts to India’s sunshine state. A different style of Goa than I’m used to, more ‘Expat-ty’ you can buy Heinz baked beans and a box of Special K at the corner shop… gives you the gist! It's sweet though, relatively un-spoilt and caters to an older crowd that often come out for months at a time, it's comfortable and its close proximity to the airport makes it ideal. I spent five days here and after some serious R&R, getting a decent base tan and a booze cruise with a bunch of 60 year olds (don’t ask!) it was time to make moves.
Above: A more idyllic shot of me enjoying the boat trip on the river Sal.
I’m here to work and travel, indulge in a little luxury but also be very budget focused whilst keeping new experiences at the forefront of my every move. I had experienced an Indian bus ride once before, but it was a short ‘jump on and off’ ride. Wanting to save money I opted to bus from Majorda to Agonda, the next stop south in my Goan adventure. Fully ‘clued-up’ on what I needed to do and where I needed to be from the amazing Antonio who was on hand throughout my stay in Majorda (if you’ve been following my stories on Instagram, youll know just what a gem he is – sawing the padlock of my case as i'd lost my key is just one of his many talents) Antonio waited with me at the bus stop and after haling down the bus and instructing the driver to let me keep my bag with me at all times, he bid me farewell as I headed on the first stint of the journey to Margao. Id be lying if I said I was at ease with the whole thing… a bus full of eyes staring at you whilst sweating my ti*s off didn’t make for the most comfortable of journeys but this was nothing yet… The driver shouted through the hatch and I got the gist of him letting me know I needed to get off… but there was no bus station in sight, I was at a busy crossroads in the center of a town, with a cracked suitcase, backpack and a burnt forehead and absolutely no clue of where I was going!
Above: Crossroads in Margao where I stood clueless...
After around 20 minutes of waiting by the side of the road, asking the odd passer-by if I was in the right spot for a bus to Cannacona and the response being yes, I decided something just wasn’t right! Swiping the airplane mode off on my iPhone and paying EE an astronomical £5.00 for 500MB of data, rip off! I had a look at where exactly I was and I was a good mile away from anything that was remotely being detected as a bus station on Google maps. Stubborn in my money-saving venture, a taxi from Majorda to Agonda been 2000Rs/£18.00 opposed to 60Rs/50p for the bus journey, I was determined I was going to do this to prove to myself if I do end up rupee-less, there is always a way! Or, in this case, seeing the saving as extra rupees for a beer at sunset. Either way, I was determined! This in mind paying for a tuk-tuk was out of the question and so a sweaty mile-long walk in the midday sun it was! The second bus journey was slightly worrying as keeping an eye on my luggage in the front cabin of the bus was easier said than done, that feeling of dread that at any moment it could have been smuggled out the front door was sending my anxiety into overdrive. Arriving in Canacona, bags in hand I waited an hour for the final jaunt of the journey… I made it and a tuk-tuk down to the beach village of Agonda and 100Rs later made a total cost of the journey 160Rs/£1.50 a major saving… beer in hand I watched the sun go down on my first evening sat in my new beach spot.
Above: Canacona bus station waiting for a bus to complete the final leg of my journey to Agonda, the crew seat on my bus and a cow joining me for a sundowner.
I had been expecting my good friend and ex-colleague to be joining me that very next day but I was disappointed to find that he had to cancel his trip. I'd been great on my own up until now and very little had fazed me however that wobble was just about to hit….
After finding out Piyush wasn’t coming and bumping into a guy I knew from a few years ago and him subsequently telling me my ex was landing on March 2nd… it all got a little too much, a feeling of loneliness sank in and I had my freak out moment. I looked around my little room and beneath my mosquito net, I had a good old cry. I kept telling myself to pull it together and not fall at the first hurdle – this trip was going to challenge me and I was going to have this wobble at some point or another I just need to get my sh*t together!
Embracing this new found umph and determined to not let the wobble deter me I headed for brekkie. I'd been recommended a café on the main road as somewhere that did the best coffee and on entering the shack-like building the aroma of fresh ground coffee and pastries filled the air. I sat down and a rather bronzed lady minding her own business was tucking into her breakfast, it looked amazing and I couldn't help asking her just what it was… it turned out to be a version of a Spanish breakfast, and what turned out more so was the discovery of my new travel companion!
Above: View from my new humble abode overlooking the jungle!
Binny’s her name and we get on like a house on fire… over the last week, we've become buddies, neighbours and fellow G&T enthusiasts. We've explored Agonda from front to back and mutually 'over' what was once my favourite spot we're moving on to a new beach spot tomorrow... In my next post, I'll share some of my hotspots and areas to avoid to not settle for less in what has sadly become, in my opinion, a slightly over commercialised town... I thought id never say that! All will be revealed in my next journal post...
Above: My new buddy Binny!