The only visible reminder of a vacation are my shiny pink toes and fingers, courtesy a ‘Hasta Snana’ and ‘Pada Snana’ (that’s posh-speak for manicure and pedicure) at Vivanta by Taj, Panjim, Goa. And a few thousand grams of what looks like muscle but can never really be muscle (I’ve stopped kidding myself on this count. Haven’t you?).
Well-vacationed, wouldn’t you say? I’d say so.
Now, you all know how to vacation in Goa. I was probably the last person to know, given how this was my first trip ever. So I will not go into the details of how I got there, where I booked the tickets, what I spent on the flights and accommodation – basically, nothing about the boring ‘trivialities’ of planning a 4-day, 3-night travel. If you came here to read about those things, well, tough luck. Seriously.
That said, I will however give a quick rundown of some parts of the trip that’s crib-worthy or praise-worthy. Also, mildly WTF.
1. These fellows on MakeMyTrip will one day cause my marriage to fall apart, without even enough dough left for any alimony nonsense (pretty hassle-free, come to think of it). How? By changing the ticket prices, making them around 8-10K more expensive, in 2 hours flat. That’s right – 6 PM, they cost 15K. 8 PM they cost 24 K. To the same place. On the same carrier. On the same dates. On the same everything!! And what does it have to do with my marriage? Everything. Because I was the one responsible for the tickets. So I have only question for you MMT blokes – what the heck are you smoking?!
2. Most people in airports seem to have no sense of personal space. Apparently, it’s now ok to run into people and not say sorry, shout in their phones thereby shouting in everyone’s ears, fidget non-stop in the next seat and/or bust into the queue mid-way while boarding, acting like it’s all some sort of first-come-first-serve concept. Well, I got news for you Mr.Uncle-in-flowery-shirt-khaki-shorts-with-1ton-bag – the aircraft is not going to leave without your holy backside, so chill out. Get that BP down. And get off my feet, while you’re at it.
3. In the closed confines of an aircraft, never ever ever sit near an NRI family that contains at least one non-teen kid. If they are 4 in the family and there are 2 non-teen kids – get the hell out of the plane! Like, now! They will not stop talking or getting excited over clouds and the sky. Or the wing of the aircraft or it’s wheels. If they happen to see a river or sea down there, rest assured you will be subjected to a running commentary of the movement of every fish that ever swam that body of water. Bottom line, they will not stop talking. Even if they do, their parents won’t.
Right. So we got that out of the way. Next for the actual vacation itself.
Goa was kind of a revelation for my husband and me. Here’s what happened.
We were dropped off at the entry to Calangute beach and we started walking towards the sea. Now, I haven’t been to a beach in about 3-4 years – my last was a quick trip to Kovalam a long time ago – so I was pretty excited to ‘see the sea’ finally. Only, what do we see there when we got there? Sand. Lots of hot, icky, sticky sand. I hated it. I couldn’t wait to get out of it. And above all that, the crowd! It was like the Koyambedu bus-stop on a beach – so much, that I could barely see the water’s edge amid all those human bodies! I looked at my husband and he had this very same ‘what the heck are we doing here’ kind of expression on his face. We didn’t even bother going to the water – above turn and marched right back into the cab.
And that’s how it struck us that we’re not the beach-type people. We love the hill-stations. And places with a cultural history. Not sand and sticky sea-water, no.
But hey, we were in Goa. So we did a bit of..ok, a lot of..road-side shopping and bargaining. And we checked out the other beaches in the hope that they were not as bad as Calangute. Baga was ok – not as crowded, but one does get tired of constantly being asked ‘bed chahiye sir, only 100 rupees’. What? Oh c’mon – I mean those beach lounging chairs with that umbrella on top, to laze around by the beach. They call those beds there. What did you think? Dirty rascals.
After Baga, came Anjuna. If there was ever a beach that I would call my-kind of beach, this would be it. Why? Because there is no sand. Yeah baby, there’s no sand! Yay! Just rocks. Such clean un-icky, un-sticky rocks. So we spent some time there in the water, taking photos, passing comments on the other people (there was this one couple – the guy would’ve taken some 1000 snaps of his wife in various poses. Newly weds, maybe. Even then, it was kinda WTF for people like us who’ve been married for 8 odd years. You know why.) and generally having a good time like one should on a beach.
Then Vagator. It was already 6 PM by the time we reached there, so we didn’t bother going down to the rocks. Mostly because I was known to fall and break assorted bones even in broad daylight, with floodlights around. 6 PM on the rocks is like a death-trap for me.
But the best beach experience we had has to be at Palolem. Since we were staying at Panjim, it was a pretty long drive to Palolem which is in South Goa. But man, was it worth it! Pristine sands, hardly any tourists and clean clean clean! I finally didn’t mind getting into the water. And by ‘getting into the water’ I mean standing a 1-2 feet inside from the beach. Yeah, that’s it for me. I saw 3 year olds who were farther out into the water with full gusto and enthusiasm. What do you mean why didn’t I?! They had those little life-jacket thingies and 2 adults holding them. I didn’t have any of that, mind you. Better safe than sorry, no?
(Palolem Beach, South Goa)
Amid all this beach-hopping, we also checked out the churches in Old Goa. Completely worth it! I do wish they took better care of the monuments and their artifacts – there’s so much that could’ve been preserved better, cleaned up more, etc. But like I’ve seen in a lot of other Indian ‘heritage sites’, no one really cares. Sad state of affairs that.
And then well..rounded off the vacation with a jaunt to the in-house spa at the Taj, where I got my toes and fingers shined up. Hubby enjoyed a massage and we vegged out in front of the TV..actually HE vegged out watching Mani Shankar Aiyar and Swapan Dasgupta fight it out on NDTV. I slept. Vacations can be so darn tiring, dudes!
Now if you’re wondering how come I’ve not mentioned even one single word about the food.. you wondered right. I haven’t. ‘Coz that will be a post by itself. I have to do justice to the foodie inside me, right? It’s only fair.