02 November 2008

Goa again

After nearly three years I got an opportunity to retrace my steps to Goa. This time, however it was more of a "working holiday". I found myself in the rather unattractive port city of Vasco - da - Gama or is it called Marmugao? I printed myself an internet generated bus ticket aboard Konduskar Travels from Mumbai Central. Like their airline counterparts, the bus services' timetables have to be talen with a rather big pinch of salt. So I had full opportunity to see busloads of travellers leaving for Vadodara, Ahmnedabad, Shreenathji and host lot of other places before my bus came in a full hour late. The "volvo" status notwithstanding the recliner was not working, a nightmare for a person with as long legs as mine, because the guy in front had managed to recline his seat full way right upto my xiphisternum! The journey was interrupted by two chai halts which stretched to nealry three quarters of an hour each and consequently I landed at Courtallim at 11:30 in the morning. I got hold of the first motorcycle taxi to Vasco. True to its reputation, there are no tourists, no silver lined beaches. Vasco was supposed to be the major transport hub in the pre Konkan Railway days. But today why should anyone go to Vasco? Probably if you are in the shipping industry. Vasco is in the Salcete taluka which is predominantly christian and is supposed to retain a bit of portuguese character. But I had a job to do, so in the afternoon I went hunting for the Bogmalo beach but instead landed at the characterless Holant beach. The next day it was Bogmalo which is quite good. The tourists are less and the water is clean albeit muddy. I had chiciken lollipops at an eatery on the beach after developing a sudden unaccountable distaste for sea food. The next day I tried to make it to Panjim but instead wound up at Dona Paula, an intensively commercialised place completely out of character with the place. I headed back and this time found the Utorda beach deserted and nice at noon. The sand is silky and the water ... well ... clean. I could suddenly see why all the beaches of konkan including Ganpatipule cannot beat Goa. The fourth day I had to head back to chaotic Mumbai again on an internet generated bus ticket but this time aboard Raj Travels, which was definitely more punctual
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