Published: June 29th 2011April 27th 2011
Summer and beach are two words that go together for me, so it was with surprise that 90 per cent of fellow tourists that I met on the way to Goa, warned me off going there. Why - it was too hot apparently. Well I'm glad that I learnt at a young age not to follow the majority rules mantra. Goa was amazing and the weather wasn't a problem at all. The only downside if you want to view it as a downside, is that due to it being off-season for European tourists, the place is not as busy as it is in the on season. So therefore there were less people partying.
This downside was actually an upside for me and with Benaulim being devoid of tourists, I found it was a backpackers market while I was there, as far as prices went. On arriving at the beach, I felt a sense of belonging that I think all people that are raised on beaches feel after they have been landlocked for a certain amount of time. When I first arrived I was unsure if I would be able to leave, I relaxed that much.
Relaxing was what I
needed and although it may sound indulgent or a bit rich to some, backpacking can take it out of you. By the time I arrived in Benaulim, I had been on the go for 3 months, seeing and doing amazing things, meeting countless people, sharing countless stories and basically pushing my body to its limits. Goa was the answer to my body's call and apart from two days, all I did in Benaulim was run, eat, watch cricket, use the internet and read books. And it was great!!!
The two days when I did a little more, consisted of when I met back up with Tatiana, my French friend that I had met in Ajanta caves. We hired out a scooter and drove to about 23 of Goa's beaches from Arombol beach to Agonda beach, with side trips to Old Goa, Margao and, Panjim. It was an unforgettable time, not least for the experience of driving in India. There is a method to the madness of Indian roads and although the logic is a bit out of whack with Western thinking, basically there are three things you need to do or be aware of to successfully drive in India.
One is realise, that just like the caste system with people, there is a caste system with vehicles. If you are on two wheels, you have a different speed limit to someone on four wheels and a different accrued karma, this means you have to get out of the way of anyone on 4 wheels and fast. This is rule number 1, four wheels are the King of the Jungle and you either get out of their way or get eaten. Rule number 2, is use your horn, all the time. If you don't use your horn you will die. Rule number 3, is that be aware that anything can use the road at anytime and anywhere and that anything can be on the road at anytime and anywhere. If you follow these three rules, driving in India is a piece of cake.
Some of the beaches in Goa are simply stunning, some of them are simply horrible and some of them are simply average. Hiring a scooter and driving around you get to see a sample of them all. I highly recommend it and would have to say it has been my best experience in India to date...
There are more photos below