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Published: March 9th 2020
This morning I was not messing around. In an effort to beat the crowds to the beach, I set my alarm for 8am. By 8:30 I was on my way strolling into Baga. I had already found a shortcut by way of a dirt path taken right after walking across the small bridge. There I would pick my way past fishing boats and loose fishing nets. At this early hour I could see local fisherman just coming in from the night and hauling those very same fishing boats and nets ashore.
When I got to the Baga Beach I noticed that while it was less busy, it was busy nonetheless. Once again I attracted curious onlookers as I dove through wave after wave and rode them to the shore. A great white whale in his natural habitat. Later at breakfast, I found myself eating amongst a coed group of Indian twenty-somethings. I didn’t feel like trying the Indian rice dishes so early in the day, so I stuck with the bread, jam, and yogurt.
After breakfast I rested and relaxed, but by 1pm I figured I had to do something. Besides by now it was lunch time. The traveling
life is rough, isn’t it? I decided that I would journey back to the secluded beach I had discovered yesterday. Before I left I poured over a map of the area. It looked like it might be possible to hike overland from the secluded beach restaurant to Anjuna Beach. I packed a water bottle, wore my sturdiest shoes, and included the map. Time to trek.
A brisk walk later and I was at the restaurant I had seen in the distance the day before. The waiter offered me Indian food, but I wanted to stay light for the hike ahead. So I ordered a ham sandwich, banana pancake, watermelon juice, and an extra bottle of water for the journey. I was getting a bit confused though. There didn’t seem to be an easy way off the beach. The rocky outcroppings, where I planned to hike, rose steeper than I had anticipated. Just where was I supposed to start this trek?
As I pondered the situation my lunch was served. Fortunately, three young Indian guys wearing backpacks seemed to be facing the same problem. They stood staring at the puzzle. However, at some moment while I was cutting my
banana pancake they must have found a way. Because when I looked up they were already on their way up the rocky hill, eventually disappearing over the ridge. So it was possible. This encouraged a middle aged German guy to make his own attempt and a short time later he too made his ascent. This time I paid attention and saw exactly the correct path to follow up the rocks.
Still the trail seemed pretty arduous. Maybe I wasn’t up to this after all, I thought as I sipped my watermelon juice. You know what? Screw it. I am going to do this. Don’t back down from a challenge. So after paying the bill, instead of heading home, I made my way over to the rocky hillside. Anjuna Beach, here I come.
It was actually even steeper than it appeared from my restaurant table, but still I preserved one step at a time. The craggily path I found myself treading on was narrower than I would have liked. No trail signs were posted, as this certainly not a popular route. Instead of continuing up over the rocks I found myself on a path that led downward toward the
shoreline. Perhaps, I was meant to walk around the coast and not over the rocky outcropping.
I was now completely alone amongst a field of sea rocks. This situation was less than pleasant, but let’s keep going and see where this leads. Just then I saw the German in the distance walking back. We walked toward one another, but he just passed with the only the slightest recognition that I existed. I was pressed onwards.
I kept walking toward a large rocky outcropping which I couldn’t see around. Once there, I paused to collect my breath and rounded the corner. This spot was beyond secluded. I was isolated completely from humanity. The rocks here were covered with barnacles. This probably meant that they got covered up at high tide. Just when was high tide anyway? As I stepped across the rocks I was thinking that maybe this was a bad idea. Even if I did manage to make it past here to Anjuna, wasn’t there an above average chance that I would get stranded there on the other side by the inevitable tide?
And then it happened...My legs slipped out from under me and went flying out
into the air. Do you know that moment between when you fall and when you hit the ground? Time appeared to freeze absolutely still as I paused to consider about how bad this was going to feel and just what body parts I might injure when I eventually land.
Thud! I let out an involuntary anguished grunt as my body impacted onto the wet rocks below. The water bottle I was holding at the time flew out of my hand and was now forlornly floating around in a tidal pool. All it took was my focus to be diverted somewhere else, the thought of being stranded, and I had missed a particularly slippery algae covered rock.
I sat up and performed a damage assessment. My left hand and thumb had taken the biggest brunt and now screamed with the pain of the broken. There was a deep cut on my elbow where blood was now flowing out liberally. There were smaller scrapes all over my arm. I took some of my precious water and poured it on my elbow in an effort to cleanse the cut. Still I tried to save some water for me as I took
a few swigs.
I was unnerved and completely out of touch with anyone in the world. I needed to get out of there as I quick as possible. Luckily, my feet and legs had come through completely unscathed. I immediately turned around and started back toward safety. By this time my adrenaline must have been absolutely pulsing because I was walking at hyper speed. I even managed to overtake the surprised German just before reaching the secluded beach restaurant. Perhaps foolishly, I tried to conceal my injury from anyone who had seen me before. Washing off my bloody elbow whenever the blood became too obvious. I guess I did not want them to know what a failure my attempt had been. Foolish pride is what it was.
I blazed right past the restaurant. I was like an injured horse running toward the safety of the barn. As I finally climbed off the gravely path onto the cement path of civilization I bumped into a hefty American. He met me with the odd greeting of, “English?” as in could I speak any. Amused I answered back “Yeah”.
The guy wanted to know if it was possible to walk
around this way. Wanting to be helpful I informed him that a little farther along this path he we would find a secluded beach with a lovely restaurant with great food.
“How about all the way around?”
“You want to go all the way around?”
“Yeah maybe to the next beach.”
I just looked at him and sighed.
“Yeah. It gets a bit rocky. I fell.” At this I pointed to the deep gash on my elbow. “So I am going back. But I saw three guys do it so it’s possible.”
From his point of view I could see that I had now given him some solid advice and a memorable traveler’s tale of his own. “Tell that one to your friends” I said over my shoulder as I turned to continue my beeline to my Beach Box hotel.
Later that night I decided to cheer myself up by treating myself to an expensive dinner at a five star restaurant. I was rewarded with a great table in the treetops high above Baga. The lights on the water shimmered off in the distance. I ordered the butter chicken crepe, braised pork belly
and indulged myself in the Millionaire’s Shortbread for desert. And I’ve got to say, pampering yourself after a setback really does help.
At dinner though I first began to notice how bad my hand was. The swelling had gotten worse. I could barely hold my fork to cut my meat. Even though it was Saturday, I did not feel like going out. I just wanted to be back in bed preparing for blissful ignorant sleep. Unfortunately, my hotel had other ideas and the group from breakfast seemed to be throwing a loud party in the bar/pool area. Loud bass and techno music and occasional squeals barraged through my door and reverberated around the walls of my room.
I came to a decision. I was done. Done prodding myself to do more. These final few days I am just going to relax, lick my wounds, and stay in my room if that’s what I feel like doing. And at least I had injured myself in a fall at the end of my trip and not before it even began like last year.
My hand was really messed up though. It was literally shaking from the pain and injury.
My palm swelled and was all black and blue. I was unable to touch my thumb to my pinky finger. Even an attempt would cause great pain. My hand must have been broken. Could I wait to take care if it until I got back home? Take my chances with an Indian hospital? I got down on my knees and did some serious praying. I was in a fix and in some serious need of some healing.
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