This part takes off exactly a day after part I.
Old Goa – My Date with St. Francis Xavier
The journey to the Dudhsagar Falls was great, but exhausting. Therefore, I decided to take a timeout and spent the next morning on my own. I went to Old Goa, which was once a thriving Portuguese city. Old Goa is still full of well-preserved Christian architecture. Of course, I did not drive there without a reason. The body of the saint Francis Xavier is here in Goa. He was a missionary who died in 1552. His body has been very well preserved for about 450 years due to mysterious circumstances. Rumor has it that they even have to cut his nails and hair regularly. I think that is closer to a fairy tale than to the truth. However, as a matter of fact his body is shown every ten years for 2 weeks. By coincidence exactly at the time we were in Goa.
Indians in a Christian Cathedral
Around the cathedral, where the dead body was shown, there was an enormous queue. Those people already waited for hours and still had a good part of the queue ahead of them. Therefore, I decided to take the cathedral off my to do list without further ado. By chance, however, I managed to get in through a badly guarded gate. Pretending to be taking pictures and ignoring several calls I somehow ended up inside the huge cathedral. I could not see the body, because there was no way to get to the front. Instead I noticed something really weird. Whilst I was enjoying the cold inside the cathedral, I saw Indians praying to God. In a way they all seemed out of place to me. No offense, but I only picture Indians in temples and mosques, but in churches, that was unusual and bizarre.
Anjuna – visiting the famous Flea Market
When returning from Old Goa I met up with the others again and some of us went to the famous Anjuna flea market. Honestly, I had not heard of it before. But all the others knew about it and according to the Lonely Planet it is a must-see in Goa. Thus, I was convinced within seconds. The flea market was very crowded. We tested the bargaining skills we had practiced a lot in India so far. I want to believe, we did better than the usual tourists. We did not spend a lot of money, but the atmosphere gets everybody. After the flea market we enjoyed a beautiful sunset at Anjuna beach, before heading back to our hostel.
At a Goa Trance Party
The time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Goa is famous for the original Goa Trance parties. We impossibly could miss that. Hence, one night we went to a big one. We had very mixed opinions about the party. Some really liked it, some not at all. I was in the middle. The party took place in the middle of nowhere and was not easy to find, which was probably intended, considering the amount of drugs sold there. Carla, Nick and I already saw some British tourists stepping into a drug trap at daytime in Benaulim. They bought some Marihuana from a local guy at the beach and not even two minutes later the police went straight to them. The offer was 2.000 British pound within 24 hours or one year in an Indian prison. Hence, believe me: it is not worth it!
Learning Hindi pays off
Speaking of Nick, there was another funny story. As he is British he only speaks one language – English. Why would one need another language, if the whole world speaks English? However, almost every non-native English speaker amongst us teased him for having such poor language skills. He wanted to prove us wrong and started to learn Hindi. He really got into it and that should pay off one night. We were on the way back to the hostel. It was pitch-black when we reached a junction with road signs only in Hindi. Everybody thought we should go left. This was Nick’s magical moment, because he was actually able to read the signs. Going left would have meant to go to Mumbai – exactly the opposite direction. Thanks to Nick we did not end up somewhere in Goa in the middle of the night with no fuel left.
Palolem – A stunning Beach
Just before New Year’s Eve Claudia, Ralf and I went to Palolem. We went separately, because I passed by Benaulim. Benaulim is the village I was with Carla and Nick in the beginning. I just needed a little more time alone to process all this. Everything goes by so fast; thus, a little time alone is really valuable. Palolem was amazing! The beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world and it was indeed the best I have seen so far. That is why we decided to spend New Year’s Eve there. We stayed in a cozy coco hut at the beach. Something I wanted to do at Morjim beach already. It was absolutely brilliant and since we had everything at reasonable prices close to the beach, we did not have to go anywhere.
New Year’s Eve at the Ocean
What made New Year’s Eve so spectacular, were the fireworks at the beach. There are no words to describe how colorful the fireworks were. Looking at the ocean with fantastic fireworks above it – can it get any better? After the fireworks at the beach were over, we went to a Café del Mar party. The party turned out to be great, but unfortunately it was too short. We arrived around 2am and the music stopped in around 3am already. Maybe it was better this way, because at some point, there were many more men than women at the party. This was something very familiar from Chandigarh.
By train from Goa to Chandigarh
The return trip to Mumbai started really funny. Looking for our bus, we made jokes about a very new bus, which stopped next to us and carried the inscription ‘Jesus Ways’. It turned out, this was our bus and as expected by that name, it brought us safely to Mumbai. We spent around ten hours in Mumbai, before we took off for a 22-hour train journey to Delhi. During that train journey I learnt, that if there is air condition, it has to run at 100%. Completely independent of the outside temperature. Please do not get me wrong, I like air condition, but January in Delhi is cold – especially at night! At the end of the vacation I was nevertheless well relaxed. Now, I can even write and read numbers in Hindi.