Goa’ing The Distance
The state of Goa in India is a place lauded by many and experienced by few. It is far from anywhere, especially other states and cities with India. Goa is the polar opposite of everything that is India. It is a relaxed paradise of sorts. It’s not a paradise for all but certainly a paradise for some. Its nightlife radiates all day and night, making up for what the beaches do not satisfy. During the day however, there are many alternatives to lying on dirty beaches crawling with stray dogs and those were my finest memories of my week in Goa.
The first decision in Goa is at which beach you should stay. As I finally came up with North Goa and the town of Anjuna Beach, I set out from the airport in search of a paradise that I had heard so much about around the world-wide traveling circuit.
I arrived at my guest house, Villa Anjuna, and plopped down at the very nice pool. After thanking God that I was no longer in the sweltering filth of Mumbai, I enjoyed myself at the pool and bar with a few Kingfisher beers.
After a fun night of partying with some Israelis that I had met at the hotel (there are so many Israelis in Goa it’s unbelievable) I set out to rent a motorbike and explore some of the other beach towns in Goa. You can actually rent nice motorbikes in Goa for literally $2.00 a day. Motorbikes are the best and most convenient way to see the state of Goa. I started north toward Vagator Beach and explored all the way up to Arambol at the northern tip of Goa. Each and every town has similarities but each is very different and unique in their own way. As I was riding from town to town I couldn’t fathom that I was in India, the same place that I had to swat beggars and touts away by the dozens just two days earlier in Mumbai.
After a relaxing afternoon and early evening in Arambol, culminating with a sunset swim with my Israeli friends, I decided to leave a bit earlier than the rest of the group because I wanted to have a nap before the night’s activities. I jumped on my motorbike and headed south on roads that had no lights let alone signs. I was a bit nervous to go 30 km in the dark where I really had no idea where I was going but the idea also excited me at the same time.
It turned out to be the most relaxing part of my time in Goa because I was able to enjoy the breeze in my face and the temperature was so much cooler after dark that it was very comfortable. I took a few wrong turns, of course, but was always pointed in the right direction by the very polite and helpful Goans. I made it back in a few hours and never actually ended up taking that nap because it was time to start getting ready to go out, but I didn’t care.
For the next few days I did the same thing but just in the opposite direction, heading south back toward the airport and South Goa. I saw many little towns and beaches with souvenir shops selling everything under the sun. I bargained my way to a few good deals and of course the customary, “It’s Better in Goa” T-shirt.
That slogan is actually true because in India it really is better in Goa. It is a welcome reprieve from the lunacy of the cities and the desolation of the desert. I will not remember Goa’s beaches for being a bit disappointing, but I will always remember Goa for being that oasis for me. A place where I could ride my motorbike all day and party all night with people from all over the world.