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Published: November 28th 2016
When I left India last year, after traveling through it for a month, I was sure I'd have to go back to this amazing country. Now, barely six months after I returned to Holland, it was time to pack my backpack again. With only 7kg of luggage, David drove me to the airport and after some food, a quick goodbye and a not so quick security check, it was time to board my first of three flights. 15 hours and a bunch of great meals (thank you Air India!) later I arrived at Goa International Airport. Here, I found a girl to share a cab with, as she was going to Anjuna as well. More than 20 hours after leaving my home in Holland, I arrived at the first home in India: Roadhouse hostel Anjuna.
After a quick shower I went to grab some food with my Australian roommate at the German Bakery next door. When we had just finished our meal, I heard a familiar voice coming from the hostel: Uday! He is the owner of the Roadhouse hostels and I met him for the first time at the Roadhouse hostel in Goa last year. At the time they were working on opening a second hostel in Jaipur and he asked me to come by. So I did and I ended up helping them with painting and decorating the hostel for almost a week. I had such an amazing time there and I was so happy to see him again!
The next morning I had breakfast at my favorite café in Anjuna: Mango Shade. They make the best shakes and juices for a really good price. After that I spend some time at the beach, reading and drinking/eating from a coconut. I was still pretty tired, cause I had barely slept on the flight. So after lunch I decided to take a little nap. This nap turned out to be a lot bigger than I had planned, so by the time I woke up it was already time for dinner :p After that we had some drinks at the hostel and then we went to a place called Dali Bar with a pretty big group. I hadn't planned on staying out for too long, but we all know that group pressure can pretty persuasive after a couple of beers. Especially when you mix in a bunch of shots of Cabo, which is a sweet coconut liquor like Malibu. So we went to a club called Waters and after that I spent the rest of the night talking and drinking with Uday in the backyard.
The next morning we all felt pretty terrible. The Cabo had taken it's toll. I did nothing but nap, read and watch a movie in bed until about eight at night. By that time I really had to get some food. So I spend some time at German Bakery with two guys from France and England, Jeremy and Rajen. We ate, played cards and tried to laugh away or hangovers, until it would be acceptable to go to bed again :p
The next morning I went to Mango Shade and the beach again. The first time I'd bought a coconut, I had a bit of a chat with the lady who sells them. I guess she appreciated it, cause today she gave me a huge coconut with lots of juice and flesh in it 😊 At night I went out with with Rajen, Jeremy and Cindy. Cindy is a girl from Guatemala who had been volunteering at Roadhouse, helping them with painting much like I had done. Except for she had stayed there for a much longer time 😉
We went to Blue Tao, where every Monday is Blue Monday. So every Monday there is a big drum circle/open mic night hosted by one of the oldest hippies in Goa. A lot of people that have been living here for a long time, go here every week. So every Monday this whole restaurant turns into one big jam session. Combine this with the great pizzas they serve, and you got yourself a pretty great night 😊
The next day was just a very relaxed day. Breakfast at Mango Shade (if you guys have never had a banana-coffee shake, you really should!), hung out at the beach till sunset and then found a nice restaurant to drink wine 😊
Luckily, the next day was a lot more eventful! It was Wednesday and in Anjuna that means: Flea market day! Here, they sell anything you can think of: Shoes, clothes, accessories, art, music, instruments, incents and any other kind of souvenir. Me and Harshil (from India/America) spend half a day walking through the whole flea market and bargaining our way through a couple of deals 😊 We had a really great time, and I got some really nice things like a ring, earrings and some pieces of clothing. The only down side of this flea market are the drum sellers. I've already heard a couple of stories of people basically being bullied into buying one, Harshil being one of them :p luckily we now have the perfect response! There was an English guy that was quite obviously fed up with the drum sellers. So when another one came up to him, he practically yelled "But I hate the sound!". We thought it was super funny. So whenever one of those sellers came up to us after that, we'd just say: "Sorry man, we just hate the sound".
When we were done shopping, we went back to Mango Shade, to see if any of our friends were there. When we got there we were very pleasantly surprised to find Vinu there! Vinu is the artist that does most of the artwork at the Roadhouse hostels. In Jaipur we spend a lot of time together, so I was really happy to see him again! We had lunch and then Vinu set out to meet up with some other friends. So I went to the beach once more. After a shower we went to a really nice restaurant with the whole gang. I had a really good veggie burger and i shared a jug of sangria with Rajen and Jeremy 😊 After dinner we were trying to decide whether or not we should go to this club called Club Cobana. I went there last year and it is really cool place on a mountain, with an open bar. And Wednesday is ladies night, which means free entrance for girls. We were already on our way to the club when I decide I didn't really wanna go :p They had convinced me to come, but it took too long to get this big group moving. And once we were in the cab, some people wanted to stop at the atm. All this put together had given me too much time to rethink my decision. So I got out at the atm as well and asked someone if he was going in my direction. He wasn't, so I decided to walk. But not even two minutes later he shows up with another guy: "this guy is going your way, he'll drop you off!" Cindy and Harshil were sitting on the front porch when I got back and they were really surprised to see me come back. It was Cindy's last night as well and she had to take a taxi to the airport at 3am. After a while Vinu joined us as well and we all stayed up till 3, talking, drinking and listening to music. Much more relaxed than Club Cobana 😉
The next morning it was already time to check out and have my last breakfast at Mango Shade. We were there with a couple of people from the hostel, when one of us got pretty sick all of the sudden. After coming back from the toilet, he put his head down on the table. He'd gone to Club Cobana the night before, so we thought he was just tired. But then he started sweating really badly all over his body, while it was actually quite cool in the café. So we all paid real quick and went back to the hostel with him. About ten minutes after we got back, I went to the little shop across the street to see if they had change. But when I got there, I saw a group of people at the end of the street with someone sitting on the ground in the middle, cradling his arm. He turned out to be a Russian tourist, who'd rented a scooter at that little shop and basically crashed it on the first corner. Their English was very limited, so the conversation between them and the Indians that wanted to help them wasn't going very well. So I stepped in as a sort of translator. It took a while to make it clear to them that the doctor would not come to them, they had to go to him. And that the shop owner had called a cab to take some of them there and that some of them had to stay to figure out who was going to pay for the damage.
When that was all arranged, I could finally start fixing my own problem :p Some time ago all the 500 and 1000 rupee notes got taken out of the circulation, to take out the fake ones and replace them all with new notes. A great idea, except for the fact that ATMs now only give out 2000 rupee notes most of the time and almost no one has enough change to give back to their customers. Which was also the case when I tried to pay for the hostel. I tried a couple of shops, but no one could give me change if I didn't spend a decent amount of it with them. So Vinu drove me to the atm closest to the hostel. That one didn't have any cash left in it, but the guy that worked there said it would be refilled in 15 minutes. I've spend enough time in India to know that it could easily take another hour before it would start working again. So we decided to try other cash points, but they were all out. We went back to the first one and we got there just in time to see the money truck arrive. So about 15 minutes after it arrived I was able to withdraw money. And I was lucky, cause it gave me 2500 rupee in 100 rupee notes. So I had enough change to pay the hostel and the taxi that would take me to the train station after lunch 😊 So in the end it al worked out!
It was so good to be back in Anjuna and to be able to feel so comfortable and at home this far away from home 😊 But now it's time to start exploring new places. Next stop: Mumbai!
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