It is very difficult to get back to work in Chandigarh after being on vacation for 2.5 weeks. We went to Goa for Christmas and New Year. The vacation was great and there is a lot to tell. However, first of all, we were completely spared by the giant tsunami that hit the entire region in south east Asia! We are all ok and apart from several power outages nothing happened to any of us. Goa is located on the western coast of India. The eastern coast, like Chennai, was hit, but not as bad as Thailand or Sri Lanka.
Benaulim – The perfect Gateway to Goa
Carla and I went ahead of the rest. We decided to fly from Delhi directly to Goa. The first two days we spent in Benaulim, which is a little village south of Panaji – the capital of Goa. Nick joined us a day later. Benaulim was exactly how I imagined a tropical region. Quiet, peaceful and palm trees literately everywhere. The beach in Benaulim is not extraordinary beautiful, but very calm. There are not many people. We watched several fishermen doing their job. We just relaxed these two days. Mostly at the beach, where we went swimming in the Indian Ocean, ate very good fish – at fantastic prices – and simply enjoyed life.
Caranzalem – A shocking Hostel
The third day the three of us moved to our actual hostel in Caranzalem, which is very close to Panaji. There we wanted to meet the rest of the group. The rooms in this hostel were an immense shock! The lodging, which was very expensive, was a total disaster! It was just gross, there was garbage everywhere and nothing worked! Hence, we taught the hotel owner in a very clear way how to clean the rooms before our friends arrive. Luckily it was at least bearable when the others finally came. Nevertheless, the next day we rented some scooters to get out of this place as fast and often as possible.
International Christmas Eve
Christmas eve we spent on the roof of our hostel. It was funny with warm temperatures and a view over the sea. It was really cozy. We were a completely mixed group with people from Brazil, UK, Japan and Germany. Everyone said something, sang a song and got a present. We even had proper Santa Clause hats. Everybody bought one present upfront and we put the all in a huge Santa Clause bag. I really do not understand why, but I drew the only alcoholic gift and everybody was laughing.
Losing my roommate
The next day was very sad for me, because Carla, my roommate, went back to Brazil. It was the saddest farewell so far, because we spent a lot of time together and talked about almost everything. Nick and I brought her to the train station. It was good to have Nick with me. Especially when driving back to the hostel. I really hope I will meet Carla again – either in Brazil or Germany.
Morjim – A deserted, but nice Beach
A day later we split up in some groups. By scooter five of us went up north. We drove around with no dedicated destination in mind, simply going wherever it looked interesting. We ended up at Morjim Beach. It might not be the most beautiful beach, but still had something. We had a really good time walking along the deserted beach, watching starfish hiding in the sand and playing in some very old and rustic fishing boats. I would have liked to stay in one of the cute coco huts. There were several of them along beach. Opposed to our disappointing hostel in Caranzalem, these coco huts looked very cozy. At least we had a delicious lunch just next to the coco huts.
A National Park within a Mining Area
Another two days later Claudia, Ralf and I drove to the Dudhsagar Falls. The scooter drive to the falls was insane. The waterfalls are located in the east of Goa, close to Karnataka, about 70 km from Caranzalem. The whole trip showed India’s inconsistency in some ways. There is a national park declared around the waterfalls, where even plastic bottles are banned. But then all around the national park there is a huge open-cast mining area, with thousands of trucks driving there and back every day. When we arrived at the Dudhsagar Falls our faces were almost black from the journey. As much as I like the idea of plastic-free zones – what good does it do when the air is polluted with so much dust and exhaust fumes? The never-ending flood of trucks was unbearable and I am usually not soft.
Dudhsagar Falls – amongst the highest in India
The Dudhsagar Falls themselves were very impressive. With 310 meters in height, they are amongst the highest in India. We could not enter the national park with our scooters. We had to take a guided tour, which started with a Jeep, followed by a short walk by foot. When we arrived at the falls, Ralf and I went swimming in the water for a long time. After some time, our faces became clean again. The water was probably too cold for Claudia, because she did not join. The jungle around the falls was great unless one is afraid of spiders. I saw many different spiders there.
The story about Goa is not finished yet. Part II gets very interesting, too.