Published: November 19th 2006November 11th 2006
I don’t know what it is about India in particular that has made our jaunt through this country so very memorable in such a short space of time. Beautiful people, it’s the common theme throughout the whole of our trip to date, whether we meet them or they meet us, I’m not really sure, it’s just working really well. John (Goan Taxi Driver) is another example of one such person. The Indian ethics of respect and hard work run so deep through this man, it blew both of us away. Oh and another ethic which is equally as important…. honesty, this is the sort of man that cops the 100 rupee fine for not wearing his “taxi” shirt, than pay a 50 rupee bribe. I don’t think I have felt any safer in such an unsafe motoring mayhem. A gentle patient man we quickly got chatting as we both do over here. John’s a family man, with wife Sabrina and a little 2 year old boy Jolan, Mel loves the name, all living under the same roof as his parents, the stereotypical Indian extended family. Like the Taxi drivers we have met before, John is also saving money to buy his
own Taxi. There is such a strong belief that if the generation of the parents do well, then their children will also. True in all societies, however to John that is all that matters in his life. As mum would say a good god fearing man…. Hey what ever works I say and it certainly does, bringing a desirable calm and sense of purpose to the life of Mr. John Borges.
So when John said to us that he’d be our guide in Panjim (state capital) and to the North of Goa, we both in unison agreed and so another journey within a human journey begins. Originally a Portuguese post Goa is still very much influenced by it’s Portuguese predecessors. Most of the houses are sweeping villas built in the shade to keep all in side cool; it’s hot out here, burning hot. The heat is relentless, if your in the direct sun for just that moment too long, you can feel your skin start to crisp up, I’m not the fairest man going around, so I thought I would have some tolerance, but just like the food, I believe it’s something you need to get used to in
small doses. Speaking of which, I have been. When in Goa eat seafood, it’s incredibly fresh, not like its flipping on the plate or anything, but if you get up early enough and head down to the beach its quite possible that you may see your dinner, still flipping amongst the crabs nipping, when at around 7am the fisherman haul their laden nets up onto the sand. The waters off the coast here are so very clean, we’ve even swam in them, and with so much variety of fish and crustaceans you’d be silly not to get some India. Back to the Portuguese, like all conquering invaders one of the first things you do is secure your new found land, by defending it. The clever Portuguese were no exception with two extremely impressive structures that we have seen in Goa so far. The first being Fort Aguada, built up high on a cliff side, with commanding views of the Arabian sea and surrounds, this place is, commanding, domineering and massive, with over 5 levels rambling down the from the cliff top to the black rocky boulders studding the shores, some 50m below. All built form local stone complete with massive
turrets for cannons, which like the Portuguese are noticeably absent. Not forgetting to mention that this structure is still a full working prison most of which occupy’s its south wall and interior, as well as playing host to the 5 star deluxe, very impressive, Taj Fort Aguada resort, which is on the opposing side perched up high along the north facing wall. We only explored the exposed top, ground level, such a very small part, yet this took up the most part of our morning.
For all of those who have heard the Goa legend, its true there are parties, loads of them, lots of all sorts of party accessories, all sorts of things accommodating to all tastes, much like back home really, the only difference being is that as with everything else here its all a third of the price. There’s about 4-5 major beaches up North, with Anjuna being the home of it all. When you get here it just feels like there is so much more to see and do than party, we’ve opted to see and do.
John’s Taxi is different, like a really small mini bus, still black and yellow but different from
those in Mumbai. The terrain in Goa is also very different, unlike Mumbai this place has some really high points no play intended, its high up, with black volcanic cliff faces and green ranges contrasted against the red earth, all dotted with palm fringed beaches, making up most of its coast line. North Goa is no exception as you will see from the pics. But there are only so many winding mountain roads, each with Indian style pot holes, cracks and exposed well trodden mother earth, and beaches you can see in one day. All the beaches have markets and juice bar/café/coconut stands, candy coloured umbrellas carefully placed next to even more carefully positioned sun beds, all within hearing proximity of “drink at my bar” sir/madam on every available piece of red earth/sand available, that one can take. Having said that, they are all very beautiful in their own right, its classic palm trees and coconut kinda stuff. Before too much longer you need a change of scenery. We’d seen just about enough to know that although this is where the party is, it wasn’t the peaceful chilled goa we have been so longing for after Mumbai. What is usually
a full day excursion turned out to be an early 2pm finish so we decided to call it quits with the hope of seeing something just a little bit more interesting. And that we did Molem village Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Dudhsagar Falls.
More stories soon enjoy the pics
Rez n Mel
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