This is an overdue post on our vacation to Mumbai & Goa mainly because it has been about a month since we’ve been back and you know how the internet works – anything later than 24 hours is so last summer.
In summary, Goa was mind-blowing. Far from what it’s commonly portrayed as a haven for psychedelic trance, the state is also an idyllic coastal town. Beach shacks cooking up delicious goan curries to thumping electronic beats, the only-too-familiar scent of Mary Jane & her friends wafting through the air, the salty sea breeze in your face as you stare into the dark Arabian sea.
Time really does come to a stand still in places like these.
The Banyan Soul
10 minutes from party central, Anjuna Beach, The Banyan Soul was our hiding hole for the duration of our trip. Run by our friend Sumit Yardi, this boutique hotel offered us a comfortable retreat from concrete jungle & steel city skies of Mumbai. The rooms are clean, affordable and Sumit makes a delightful host.
Like the Kiwi and I, Sumit was a former Ad Man in his previous life. He now spends his days minding his hotel, chillin’ like a villian and entertaining guests. Needless to say, we were both insanely jealous.
Check out the Banyan Soul’s website here.
The Infamous Curlies Bar
An awesome beach bar on Anjuna Beach, Curlies is right by the sea and is open all year round while most spots close during Goa’s dead of summer/monsoon season, from about March – October. The food was unreal – they served Nutella naans, spicy briyanis and dirt cheap beers at USD$1.50 a pop. Keep your eyes peeled in the evening for goan trance parties because when Curlies flick the UV lights on, the place transforms from a dingy drift wood shack to Alice in Wonderland on acid.
If you’re lucky enough to catch them during a rave, be sure to check out the little makeshift booths along the beach selling pretty much everything from snacks to coffee & cigarettes. I must’ve eaten about 8 of those delicious cheese omelet sandwiches made on top of a ghetto ass paraffin stove (not pictured). As a health note, I’d steer away from the unwashed vegetables they try to chuck in your bun. You really don’t want to spend your vacation curled up in bed because of some nasty parasite that is trying to eat you from within.
Don’t leave Goa without making a trip down to Old Goa, also known as the historical part of the city. It served as the capital of Portuguese India until its abandonment in the 18th century due to the Plague. The same one which killed 75 millions Europeans in the 14 century. While Goa is clean (not quite as a whistle), just keep an eye out for rat fleas, swollen nodes & bleeding out of your ears…because you have approximately 4 days to get help or a 75% chance of dying a horrible, horrible death.
Did I also mention that there are heaps of catholic churches in Goa? Yeah, nothing like jolting memories of Sunday School horrors for me. The HBIC in Goa is Saint Francis Xavier – broseph was like a hardout missionary in Asia, who unfortunately kinda initiated the Goan Inquisition & destroyed heaps of Hindu temples. When he died, the local government exhumed his body a couple of times…probably to make sure he was really dead.
Because I’m pretty much the laziest blogger ever, check out more photos from my Goa trip on Facebook (you’ve gotsa add me as a friend), made better with epic captions. I leave you with one last travel tip: people will try & convince you that taking the train to Goa from Mumbai is a good idea. & maybe it is…if you don’t mind being stuck in travellers’ hell aka every Indian railway station and sleeping in a fire hazardous roach motel on tracks. Unless you get the first class carriages which are usually booked out early, stick with taking a domestic plane like Indigo. They’re usually not much more expensive and you shave off more than 10 hours of traveling time.
That’s all for now, Boa noite!
P.s. If you enjoyed this post, vote for me at the Singapore Blog Awards 2011 here – this also means having to register or sign it which I apologise, requires you to lose 5 minutes of your life because of the complexities of email verification and other nitty gritty shit. Did I mention you have to vote daily? Yep, I’m not going to win.