A Goan Christmas

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December 25th 2009
Published: August 9th 2017
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Once we had hopped of the train we were waiting for a rickshaw and we met a girl called Rebecca in which the three of us shared a rickshaw, we arrived in Patnem in which we all had no place booked so before we headed out to look for accommodation the three of us had a drink. Rebecca messaged a friend to come and meet her, so her friend came with another girl who turned out to be Emma who was Caroles friend, so it was pretty random, but a they had got us some accommodation in a beach hut for 700Rs which is fairly cheap for this time of year, but we only had it for 4 nights. So we settled into the hut and before we knew it we were lazying about on the beach for the rest of the day.
I was amazed to hear that they rebuild these places each year due to the monsoon season. During the day they spread out the beach chairs and during the evening they bring out the tables and chairs accompanied with candles. The more further south you go the less huts there are. Patnem is a nice beach to go to, it's not big and busy and is more family oriented. We also ran into Gloria and Mel who were also staying at Patnem.
It was all about relaxing the next day, it mostly consisted of laying about on the beach and reading with a little dip in the ocean here and there. We went to one of the beach side restaurants where they had some nice music and a mini fire. Children would come up to the microphone and sing some songs.
This is the first time that i had spent Christmas away from home, and poor mum and dad had no one at home for the first time too. Richard was in Argentina, Jeremy was in New Zealand and here I am in India.
During the first part of the morning Carole and myself took a short walk to Palolem Beach which is another southern beach, but it was much bigger than Patnem. Palolem was also very nice but there were more Indian nationals and touting by trying to get you to do boat tours as well as looking at their shops.
the rest of the afternoon was spend back at Patnem, soaking up the sun. A very relaxing day, but it didn't have the feeling of Christmas. I also thought that being in Patnem didn't have the feeling of being in India.

On the previous day i had spoken to Gloria and Mel who mentioned a Christmas dinner at Smugglers Inn in Palolem, So i thought that would be nice to join them. Carole went to another place with her friend Emma. India was the last place i would have expected to eat a Roast Beef dinner, and boy was it amazing. The Smugglers Inn was not that busy but we did manage to join four British people who were teaching english in China, so it was nice to have a few drinks and some conversation with people on Christmas Night.
On Boxing day we had organized to join a day boat cruise with Bart who was Emma's (Carole's friend) Boyfriend. He has run a boating charter company in Goa for the last 9 years. A group of us arrived outside Barts house which is along the river and boarded his boat which is a fairly big boat and looked amazing, all wooden. We headed up north past Patnem, Palolem and Agonda beaches to a secluded part surrounded by tree covered cliffs. We spotted some dolphins along the way but mostly they were in and out a couple of times and were a bit far away. When we stopped we all went for a swim before having an amazing lunch which included Prawns, Salad and Pastry's.
Bart had one sea kayak, so after lunch i took it out for a spin and followed the cliff edge, it took me a fair way from the boat, but the sea was pretty calm and i had no problems getting back.
We all relaxed to the great tunes of Emma's Ipod for a little more and proceeded to head back, we stopped at another place for a little bit of swimming. The place we stopped off at was a small beach, in which all the small boating companies took tourists so i felt privileged to have the opportunity to be on this boat tour for the day. We arrived back at about 6pm where we headed back for some dinner. One memory i will not forget is as we were coming back in the boat along the river, a man dumped a whole garbage bin full of rubbish straight into the river. But overall the whole day was fantastic, so relaxing and fun.
We had to checkout the day after Boxing day, so we had the plan to head south to Gokarna where we were to meet up with Johannes for a couple of days before we left to Hampi. Let me tell you straight off the bat that it went all down hill from there, i had a horrible 24 hours from when we left Patnem, but i guess you get that from time to time when you travel.
We caught local train and arrived at Gokarna station, we had not had any accommodation booked so we got a rickshaw to Om beach, firstly it was a Sunday and the beach was jam packed with local Indian tourists, the beach itself was not very pleasant, it was small and because of the local tourists it was littered with rubbish. The accommodation was not at all like Patnem, most of the rooms just had one bed in them.
It was getting dark fast so we caught a rickshaw just up the road to another beach, so i went down to suss out the accommodation but they were all booked out. These beaches are a Hippie Hangout, not really my scene. So still with no accommodation and it had gotten dark, we had no option to go into Gokarna town, the rickshaw driver knew we had no place to stay so he took us to a hotel which we are sure that we got ripped off, but we needed a place to stay so we took it. The room was pretty bad, no western toilet, shower didn't work and there was water and food on the floor.
We went down the street for some dinner where we got caught out by some heavy rain, this was pretty much the first rain i had encountered in the 4 weeks i have been here. We took refuge in a local shop and waited the rain out. We had dinner in a local restaurant which had no power most of the time. We were joined by two others, Richard (an old English guy) and his "Keralan Princess". Richard was very opinionated and funny to watch as he forced his princess to have some food. Then it was back to the dump. In the morning we decided to get out of the town and head back up to Goa. At this stage we couldn't get in contact with Johannes to let him know.
We took a walk through the town and to the beach which was disgusting, full of rubbish, cows and local tourists. We grabbed our bags and got the hell out of there. We had to catch the local train back up to Margao we where headed to Benalium Beach. Again we had no accommodation booked so we had to make some calls. We found an ok place which was cheap but it was in town. Finally I started to relax, for me it was a stressfull 24 hours.
We just went up the street for dinner where we asked a Scottish guy called Brian to Join us, Brian was funny and an interesting person, he talked quite a bit but it was always fun to hear his stories, so the three of us had some drinks until they pretty much had to kick us out to close up.
In the morning Carole and myself hired some push bikes for the day, so we rode north along the beach, passing Colva and other beaches where the Russian tourists like to hang out. It's amazing to see signs and menus specially made for Russians, apparently Goa is big for Russians, but numbers were down this year. It was a nice ride along the beach.
Later that night we met with Brian for some dinner and drinks where he introduced me to Romar from Nepal.
The next morning Carole and myself hopped in a mini bus with a few other travelers and headed into the Ajuna Craft Markets. These markets are only open on Wednesdays. It took about 1.5 hrs to get there. We had about 3 hrs before we had to meet back to go home. The Ajuna markets are pretty big and amazing, it's mostly all tourists, and hundreds of stalls selling everything and anything. Shop owners all ask you to see their store and Spice sellers all get you to buy their spices. Unfortunately i couldn't go to these markets before i headed home because you could easily find yourself buying a whole bunch of stuff, and being a backpacker with 2 months still to go I cant afford to carry stuff around. But i did buy a small compass and some gloves for Nepal. In the markets there were a few restaurants for lunch and we randomly ran into Emma, Caroles friend, along with some others from the boat trip.
We arrived back into Benalium at around 4ish, I had a bit of a rest before we headed along the beach to meet Brian again.
I had fun in Goa, after riding up some of the central beaches i realized that we were lucky to have stayed in Patnem. Most of the other beaches are more busier, not as beautiful and more commercialized.
So now we head east by train to Hampi via Hospet

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