Work's been hectic, and I and Macavity were feeling more frazzled than normal last week,. By Thursday, we were only idly dreaming of running, off to the sea for at least a few days. Friday morning, she called me and asked if I was serious about escaping, and when I replied in the affirmative, we both decided to leave that night. I threw in some clothes, my Bible, my journal, and my favorite book of poetry and I was set.
I will boast that we have fantastic facilities like the best travel agents and the best concierge service in the office, yet nobody could get us tickets to Goa. 'Overbooked for the next several days' they said. We called I don't remember how many travel agents, who all said the same thing. "No buses, no trains." And Macavity's leaving for Sydney in a few weeks and saving money for the trip, so she refused to spend money on air tickets.
But still, despite all that, this is where I was for the past few days :-) (Yeah yeah - I will admit, in such a difficult situation, besides Divine intervention, only a will like mine will get you here! hehe)
Macavity had given up, and making consolidatory party plans for the night. But I refused to listen and dragged her to the government bus station as soon as work was over, asked for a bus to Goa, I was told the last bus to Goa left at 2 PM. I asked for the nearest town to Goa. They sold us tickets to Belgaum. From there, we were directed to Panjim. From Panjim to Margau, amd from Margau finally the beach of our destination - lovely, empty, serene Palolem with its fine white sands!This is Belgaum in the morning when we "landed" in the morning :) Pretty town, lovely weather, clean and clear air -It was almost 24 hours of traveling, but god, it was so good. And all that in non-AC buses, torn seats hard as rocks, no sort of luxury at all. Yet I felt alive, invigorated, rejuvenated, happy, it was good and worth every sore muscle in my butt!
We loved the adventure of it so much that we decided not to book return tickets either and do the random wandering again. This time we went from the beach to Margau, from Margau to some town in the middle of nowhere called Bonda -
Bonda - Belgaum, Belgaum - Hyderabad. This is the bus from Bonda - Belgaum, which took 4 hours. A very long 4 hours! Bus this crammed, full of people who seem to find our epidermal pores so fascinating they stared at us unflinchingly during the entire trip. And people reeking of cheap alcohol. And sweat. And old men with colorful turbans and shawls, with noble, callused hands and dignified mos.
The best thing about this trip is that uit was spontaneous and yet so do-able, and cheap as dirt. Just to show how easy it was, I will give a detailed description of fares and rates below -
Hyderabad - Belgaum = Rs 440/-
Belgaum - Panjim = Rs 85/-
Here, we were exhausted, and decided to stop traveling in buses, and looked for taxis, rick shaws, and motorbikes to take us to Palolem. They all asked for Rs 1000 to Rs 1500. So we looked around, and guess how much we paid when we decided to take the bus -
Panjim - Margao = Rs 19/-
Margao - Palolem = Rs 20/-
And when you get to the beach, there are tons of pretty little shacks along the beach, all you have to do is kick off your shoes and walk along and just pick one that suits your fancy. But since it was just me and Macavity, we decided to play it safe and got a hotel with concrete walls with AC for Rs 900/- a night.
I will always love Maharashtra! Wada Pavs and Shankar Balis and Marathi Hindi - the Hindi I understand and like! And funny incidents, like this one where we stopped to eat a meal, it was kind of dirty and we were both afraid of getting sick from the food but were too hungry to not eat. After the meal was over, we asked one of the waiters where the bathroom was, he said "Just go out to the back into the fields." Food poisoning loomed large in my thoughts for several hours after that.
But we built castles in the sand, went for a dip in the ocean in the middle of the night under the moon and stars, and even got to see a couple of shooting stars, went for long walks, read poetry to each other and cried over the sad ones.....
I would do it all again in a heartbeat.