Motorbike down to Karnataka from Palolem

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February 28th 2010
Published: May 8th 2010
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28/2/10: Today was different. We hired a Bajaj Avenger motorbike which looks like a cruiser bike. It was very gutless but it was so much nicer than the other bikes we had hired. We agreed to meet a guy between 9 and 9:30am with a bike and when there was no sign of him buy 9:15 I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I gave him a ring and ended up waking him up, his answer was he would be there in 10 min so we waited 10min and then hired another bike from someone else. It ended up working out in the end but we had to wait 20min for two helmets to turn up as they don’t wear them over here. The helmets turned up and we were off riding down the Goa coastline in a flash. We pulled off a little side road to check out the beach, it ended up being further than we thought when we crosses referenced that map so we did a u-turn. As I went to turn around a long tailed monkey walk across the road so we wiped out the cameras and tried to take some photos. They were so quick through the trees there was no hope of getting them in the picture. I felt really comfortable on the bike and the big padded seat was great to sit on. On our way down I tried to open the throttle to see what she could do but being a 200c/c only just managed to reach 100km/hr after what seem like an eternity. We ended up reaching the border between Goa and Katakarnia????????. There was a check point and boom gate so we were forced off the side of the road and had to show all necessary documents. Luckily all my bike and international licensing was ok but there was no rego papers with the bike and I had to ring the guy I hired the bike from and tried to explain what was going on. The police ended up taking the phone from me and proceeded to speak Hindi for a few minutes. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to him or if we were even going to be allowed to ride the bike back. The police hung up the phone and gave it back, with a shoo of his hand he said OK and we were allowed to carry on our journey through the border reaching Karwar only 10min later. We stopped at a little Indian restaurant and had two meals with drinks for only 120rs or $3aus. I was cheaper because we were away from the tourist area and were probably the only westerners in the town. It was also market day so we got some fruit that resulted in me telling an Indian off and pointing my finger at the same time for trying to rip us off. It started with him trying to give us an absurd price in USD and only after agreeing on 50rs he wanted 150rs after handing over the 50. We both said no at the same time and backed and confirmed what he agreed upon. He insisted on 150rs so with the bananas in my hand I tried to swap the money back so we could go else wear. He ended up backing down and accepting the original agreed price but it was too late for me. My temper showed its ugly face again and I abused him in the middle of the market for trying to rip us off. It was funny as Jacinta was dragging me away the whole time pulling from my backpack as I was yelling and pointing my finger shaming him in front of everyone. As usual I got in trouble from Jacinta for my behaviour but I didn’t care because if more tourists did this I wouldn’t be wasting my time. So if a price is agreed upon than that is the contract price not three times more. We looked around the rest of the markets and with massive piles of chillies and the amazing colours of the spices it was one of the better markets we had seen in awhile. We carried on down the coast intending on reaching Gokarna but we stopped short choosing to take a side road into a village to find a beach. We went as far as we could but the beach was nowhere to be seen and we were stopped in our tracks by dried up rice paddies.
During the journey we noticed all the younger men and some older children dressed in what can only be described as a shredded office paper costume and mask. They were everywhere walking the road in the 30deg heat. We found out that they were part of the four day festival of colour that takes place in every village. This also happened behind our beach with drums blaring and firecrackers going off most of the day. It also extended into the night and everyone was invited to eat moving from one house to another until you couldn’t eat anymore. Jacinta and I decided to hang back as the offering didn’t start until 11:30 at night and with an already full belly from having dinner with Nick and Marie every night it was hard to work up the energy to go. We rode back up the coast arriving at Palolim by 5:00pm with sore arses and a feeling of achievement for actually doing something whilst we were here.

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