So, because I felt I just wasn’t traveling enough, I am now here in Goa, India. As I type, I am in a cafe called Cafe Mango Shade. Two tables along from me a young Japanese boy is sifting out some kind of herbal drug, and puts it away when the waiter (who told him off) comes by. Just joined me at my table is a long haired man who may still be high, who is smoking under a big “No Smoking” sign. Welcome to Goa.
This is by far my most advanced trip yet. I am here alone, it was really a trek to get here, and the culture is of course not what I’m used to.
I woke up at 4am on Wednesday, took a trip to Heathrow (where I had just enough time to buy a Cornish pasty and as many magazines as I could carry before I had to go board my flight to Mumbai. Despite my best efforts with the German guy at Frankfurt airport who checked me in, I had not scored an upgrade (“Uhm… is the flight pretty full?” “Let me print your tickets and I will check. Yes, it is pretty full.”) But as luck would have it, my tv didn’t work properly and the nice air hostess took me to the next section along, with lovely wide seats and enough room to lay back and sleep. The section which would usually seat 40-50 people was seating 4 at most. Thanks, German man.
Mumbai airport was my biggest challenge. I arrived there at 1am and my next flight was at 12 noon. It takes a good hour to get to the city by taxi, and it’s the middle of the night anyway, but they won’t let you through to the middle of the airport until 4 hours before your flight. And you cannot sleep in the airport.
I must admit, I was scared to death of this part of the journey. Luckily, I met two American guys who were in similar situations to me, and we set up shop in a restaurant for a few hours before going inside the airport and waiting the rest out They had free wifi in the airport, which was nice. Though I was getting so tired, no amount of fashion blogs could keep me amused. By the time I got through to the middle of the airport, I was so sleepy I felt ill.
But I arrived safely into Goa, fought through all the people to collect my suitcase and found the driver who would take me on the hour long trip north to Anjuna.
As the car went further north we went from wide (ish) main roads to smaller roads with women washing their clothes in the sea to the side, to wider dirt tracks next to cows grazing on dumped rubbish to, lastly, a narrow dirt track that leads to my hotel.
After a shower I headed over to the beach which is a 10 minute walk. Sadly the famous market which is next to my hotel was shut for the day – I’ll have to wait until next Thursday now.
I had a nice meal, and a walk on the beach where three boys wanted to take a photo with me – which I said ok to, as long as I could take their photo too.
To be honest, I’m too tired and beat from the journey over here to be able to take everything in. Locals here bug me constantly for custom for their motorbike taxis, and the long term foreigners are cool cucumbers, with their tattoos and their dreadlocks and their Harley bikes. A bunch of these types have just come into the cafe and have set up shop at the back, like the popular table in the school canteen only more tanned, and with more skin on show. I wonder what life here must be like. As it stands, I would still take German and Japanese efficiency over a relaxing life like this, where things may or may not happen. Though this may change – I have no makeup on, there is no hairdryer at the hotel and I am just wearing baggy trousers and a t-shirt. I may get used to this.