Going Goa Gone
Goa has been both relaxing and uncomfortable.
We arrive at Goa airport and head to the taxi counter to book a cab to Palolem, we walk outside with our receipt and loads of people rush over to grab the ‘job’. We get picked by the guy with a tiny car so you can just imagine me and Ben looking like giants in the back! 😂 We spent the next 2 hours in crazy traffic with our taxi driver who is speeding along like a mentalist to try and get back to the airport to get another job in. If I hadn’t already been to Hanoi where I had my first glimpse of insane driving - I reckon I would have been a lot more freaked out.
On the way I quickly turn on my data to check the address of our accommodation and see the news that there’s a cyclone over Goa - it’s already wiped out the shacks on the beach and many fisherman out at sea have gone missing.
Feck!!! We’ve booked a bloody shack on the beach.
Will we ever remember to check the weather/news before moving to the next place?? 🙄
My data runs out so we just head for our accom and hope for the best. The taxi driver takes us all the way to the beach weaving through what looks like a forest of palm trees - still not sure how the car fit through or if he ever made it out 😂 We then meet Ravi - our host for the next few days. He tells us the cyclone won’t be a problem here and they haven’t had any change in weather - although we’re not convinced. The nearest ATM is 2km away so he agrees to let us pay in the morning and shows us to our hut.
I’d always fancied staying in a shack on the beach but my excitement turned to worry as I’d convinced myself we’ll probably get washed out to sea whilst we’re sleeping 🤦🏻♀️ Ravi shows us to the last 2 beach huts available - and they’re all still intact 😅 so we can take our pick and see there’s one right on the beach and the view looks pretty special!
Although it was at night it looks just like the pictures. A long stretch of beach with colourful huts and palm trees 🌴 ❤️ We obviously pick the hut with the best view and decide to dump our bags before trying to find some food for dinner.
We stroll next door for some grub, and feel that it is worryingly ‘dead’ in terms of atmosphere and the lack of people out on the beach. We’d heard this was a bit of a party place, so were pretty confused and this just made us even more convinced we’d made a huge mistake staying on the beach with the current weather forecast.
We get back to the hut and now we’re paying attention. It’s basically a shed but not as well put together. Nothing like you imagine when you think of those dreamy huts on white sandy beaches. I also didn’t realise before now that none of the bars, restaurants and beach huts are permanent - they rebuild them every year in October/November time ready for the season. It’s now a lot more clear why our hut is pretty shabby! 🤦🏻♀️
It’s planks of wood banged together with huge gaps all over - plenty of space for bugs and mozzies to sneak in. Fortunately though we had a mozzie net over the bed - even if it was stained with a few holes in 🤢 The pictures don't look that bad but trust me - it was grim!
It was definitely the worst nights sleep I’ve ever had. Sleeping right on the beach isn’t as serene as you might think... The gentle sleep-inducing sound of the waves you see/hear on yoga dvds, on this beach, sounded more like a hurricane crashing up against the shed door. So you can imagine I was sure we were about to get washed away in the cyclone before checking that actually - the tide was fairly far away - it’s just really bloody noisy on the beach 🤣🤣
Waking up early and opening the doors to the view was a completely different experience and made the crap sleep worthwhile. Looking out and seeing the beautiful view with the sun on your face and watching the cows moo-ching (see what I did there) along the beach was pretty cool.
We bump in to Ravi after breakfast and he invites us to use one of the shacks further in to the complex and closer to the Wifi. Although not perfect, so much better than the shed on the beach and he agrees to let us move in and sleep there instead. We spend most of the morning working, getting to know our new neighbours and then spend the afternoon chilling on the beach.
After a peaceful nights sleep away from the crashing waves, we wake up around 5am to the sound of what must be over 100 crows squawking and walking along the thatched roof - amusing on the first morning, less so after that. With the freezing cold showers and centipedes crawling around our feet, mosquitos buzzing and cockroaches sleeping under our backpacks we decide enough is enough and move further down the beach to some new accommodation.
The other side of the beach (still only 15/20 minutes walk from one end to the other) was just a stroll away from some awesome vegan cafes that served the most delicious food - they gave me so much inspiration for how to cook vegan dishes at home that actually taste rich and satisfying.
Fortunately, our next stop is the most gorgeous and spotless accommodation, with proper walls, air con and a king size bed with immaculate bedlinen and a powerful hot shower - for the same price as the noisy bug-ridden rickety shack we just spent 4 nights in. HALLELUJAH!! It seriously felt like a palace when we arrived.
After a hectic couple of weeks of work, and Ben still coming back to normal from food poisoning, we were really excited for some chill time, especially as we knew we were only a week away from coming home to surprise our families for Christmas. We cancelled plans to go to Mumbai and spent the last week of our travelling experience (for 2017 anyway) taking it easy on Palolem beach.
Fast forward a few days and we’re back at the airport for our return to London, this time with a sun kissed glow and an appreciation for home we both agreed we hadn’t had in a while. Sitting on our Thomas Cook flight, it dawns on us that we’ve now ticked off the biggest item on our bucket list…. So what the hell do we do next?
Watch this space 2018!