After over 60 hours of drinking water and lime soda I took the decision that I’d better start eating again! The pharmacist gave me lots of things to take which google has only just told me what they are. I think I got rid of the evil little beast inside my stomach anyway. So just before that we had spent 5 nights (I think) in Goa (Benaulim beach) and basically we walked up and down the beach, sat in various restaurants and read lots of books (oh and I saw some dolphins swimming about 20m from the beach which was cool) – lots of Russians and Italians but not too many Brits, and the place we were at seemed to have a wide range of ages too.
One interesting little character was a man who came around every night selling postcards. However his trick was that he seemed to know the postcode of everywhere in the Uk. The conversation went like this “Hi where you from”. “Sheffield”. “Ah…. Crookemoor”. “No… Crookes”. ‘Ah S10..!” Then for John he also guessed Hunters Bar S11 and the same for our Georgie friend. The next night he remembered all of our names, postcodes and how many cards we’d bought. Well I was impressed anyway!
So we took a 2 hour train journey south of Sunday afternoon. 60p for the ticket but we were in the unreserved carriage. This was packed to the rafters with worshippers who started changing and screaming every time the train went into a tunnel. We found some space in the next carriage by the door. It was a great view as both doors were wide open for the whole journey and various people came and sat around and looked out. I didn’t climb on the roof (like Jess wants us to) as I’m not 100% sure that goes on anymore anyway.
So we leave Goa having not really explored but definitely a place to go for a little break from the UK winter as it’s so cheap but not quite the craziness we expected (Thats in the North)…
Gokarna was our stop. It’s in the next state, Karnataka and is a very important town for the Hindu religion. I dont know the full story but basically its a pilgrimage site and people have to bathe in the sea before heading to the temples. There are definitely more indian ‘tourists’ than Western ones anyway. The town is pretty small and as you get nearer to the centre, the lanes get smaller and the smells of incense gets stronger. The cows compete with bikes for road position. It definitely has a certain undescribable feel to it anyway. It has been here for over 2000 years and you can feel something of that. The main beach is nothing to write home about (I mean its long and sandy etc.) but the nicest beaches are a mile walk (no road) across the headland.
We did the walk over on Monday morning (after our first hotel – who had promised us a new room to be cleaned in 15 minutes, suddenly decided to tell us there WAS no such room and they had never said such a thing. One thing I’ve learnt is not to trust anyone and generally if anyone talks to you they want something….).. and found a pretty unspoilt 1km stretch of sand which was pretty beautiful. A dozen or so little cafes set back from the beach. We lay on the beach and hit the waves til our bodies needed cooling down and then had a great pizza from a wood fired oven.. It was great. Something to settle the stomach hopefully… Then we continued another 20 minutes to a further beach “Om Beach” – sonamed after the auspicious “om” sign. This was really nice too, very laid back with a few fisherman sorting out their nets and cows trying to get the best shade…. (however theres a little track which taxis can get back to town on – so this isnt as secret really…)
One thing all these beaches had is hippies. They are everywhere. Some with guitars and mouth organs; some doing yoga; some growing their dreads; some growing their beards. Some just practising to be hippies. So we are about to create “Hippy Top Trumps” featuring such things as “Number of Tattoos” and “Length of Hair” etc. I’m sure it’ll be a big seller.