Diary 8, I now start enjoying Goa.
14. I had parked the car under a huge tree, which unfortunately is a cashew tree with fruits, enjoyed by the monkeys. I got the rest on the car.
I start the day driving to Panaji, to see the "Relaxed river-town with a Latin Quarter". Well, I think I'm in the right place, but am not overwhelmed at all. Here are still some surviving old houses, but nothing special stands out to me. And relaxed??? The first photo I make is by the building occupied by the military intelligences, and they don't appreciate at all!
Next stop is way more interesting: The local market. Realising I might have a market-photo or two already, I make it a breath stop. It might not be with that many farm products, but still lively and colourful. I see the live and dead hens, fish market, butchers and - the rest.
Next stop is Old Goa, of which I had expected a lot. Either a fine old colonial town or a live place with cafes and alike. Well, I find a rather empty area with numerous huge churches - and little less. I do a walk through, even down the the mangrove river and the ferry. Here are some coconut plantations and little else. Within a short drive, I'm into the unspoiled forest. Then I follow the river - or mangrove. This huge delta have some amassing bridges, and new one are build.
I planned to go to the Friday market in Mapusa - and it is
Saturday. But here sure are a huge market still. I do a big loop,
but I fare from see it all. Again, people are so smiling and
curious. But I have other sights lined up.
I have been looking forward for next stop, and despite it is only three, I start finding my hotel; Jumping Frog, right at the Goan beach in Anjuna. This is way more the Goan style I was looking for! Here are internet, and I spend three hours, catching up.
But I am aware about the time, and I don't miss the sunset. And they play the right music to it! Besides from the tourists - and visiting Indians, here are cows on the beach, adding to the atmosphere. I then find a vegetarian restaurant, which is not that common here. Back to work way more, but tomorrow, I'll enjoy life!
buy tea and mineral water in the bar, and I would have chosen
another name for the water: "Anush" just sound wrong for a mineral
water! It seems like India is closing serious down now - like
Denmark and a big part of the world, due to the Corona-virus. I
reschedule a tiny bit, and stay here for three nights. Same place,
15. I work a the office till noon, then I do a stroll through the tourist village and an even longer along the entire beach. Besides from the perfect sandy beach, here are some iron-rich, air-filled boulders or bedrock, and some odd looking conglomerates. Part iron, part crystals, part older rocks. I find a few shells and nice polished stones.
Here are hardly any people around, and those who are here, are young Indians and old tourists. I'm by far the youngest. I head a bit inland, and find the fields and farmers. Then I get lunch for once, before I head home I start working again at three. And try to figure, if I actually have a flight home or not, in a few days. And if not; what do I do then? How do I extend my visa, how do I get another flight? None seems to be answered on the internet. I like India, but I won't like to be stocked here too long! I kind of seen it by now. Then I correct previous errors on my tax, hoping to pay only what I should. And try to figure why my bank have withdrawn quite some money from my company account, without any explanation. And ajour five budgets while I'm at it.
I miss the sunset, but it was probably just as great as yesterday. Not exactly the relaxing day I had hoped for, and I haven't achieved much either! But the car got a day off Anjuna Beach area.
I eat my breakfast, I read about the countries, which have shut-down
all international flights. I can't say I'm not anxious, but I still
think my best option to get home, is to spend one more day here,
then two on driving up to Pune and return my car, then get my
scheduled direct flight back to Denmark in the morning of the 19.
via New Delhi.
That means I got one more day to explore Goa. I start with the nearby village; Anjuna, but not on a Wednesday, where they have their flee market. Well, it is pretty much where I walked the other day, and I head on to the next coast village Vagator.
It is a bit bigger, and holds a few more tourists - or at least there are room for them. Like everywhere else in the world, it is quite empty. But as several shopkeepers say; they don't miss the Russians that much.... I start with a tour around the harbour, which is partly mangrove. Some of the vessels are canoes, made from one huge tree-trunk. Here is real quiet too, and the Chapore Fish Market is completely dead - and smell that way too.
It is low tide, and I follow the coast for a
while, but fail to find anything interesting. Well, except the red
rocks, overgrown with barnacles.
Then I head up the hill to Fort Chapora, which pretty much is only the low, outer wall. The views are great, down to the surounding shore, and dry hills. Then I head down to the beach, mainly to find lunch. Before I manages that, I get to see a lot of sand with very few people on.
A long walk up some dry hills don't reveal much, but heat and some more beach views. I finally find a beach with an open restaurant, and treat myself with lunch and tea. Another beach-walk, then home to check the news. I have never been exited about going home before, but this time, is does worries me a bit, as many countries have been shot completely down, and other Danes are stranded in Morocco.
I do a tea-tour along the local beach, then home to work a bit before I see the rather disappointing sunset. The sun just fades out in bluish mist. Another dal-dinner at the beach, then home to do some laundry. I thought I could avoid it, but I better play it safe. Vagator with beach and fort.
17. I get an early start - as sleeping does not really work for me anyway. It is only 200 kilometres to my first sight, and it a real nice drive. The first part is through the Goan beach area, then up through the forests on the mountains. It is yet another nice red sunrise, this time over the trees and palms.
I pass 1200 metres, but then get down to the high plateau at 5-700 metres. Here, it is rich farmland, due to artificially watering. Else, it is bone dry. Well, many fields are harvested long time ago, and are being prepared for next season.
Eventually I reach Kolhapur, which is a large city. I find my way to the old town, which apparently was walled once in the distant pass. I find a hole in the wall, and explore the old city. Here are quite some old impressive buildings. The small temples on each its square have some tall granite towers. They have "arms" which are for candles, and it must look pretty at night, when they are lit.
I eventually find my way into the famous Mahalaxmi Temple. Beside from I am not aloud to make any photos, the tent-like structure covering the open area around it, make is impossible to get a photo. Inside, it is pitch dark with black walls - but probably with great carvings.
I am not aloud to make pictures, but the young locals jump the barrier, and make selfies. The most secret alter is on direct video, shoved around the temple. Well, I've been here, and I do a little loop in the surounding old town, while I'm here. I find the market, but too late. It is almost only the thrash that are left. I recon I have seen the most interesting, and at one o'clock, I head on.
I am not sure how far I can make it today, but I have several plans ready, depending on the roads and the speed I can maintain. Compared with the first week, I struggled in the central-east, these are great roads. They lead through a real fertile farm land, with many green fields. It is the cane season, and tractors and long lines of ox-wagons are loaded. Strangely enough, I constantly see them going both ways loaded - at the same time?
Apart of the road leads under the typical Indian road trees: Umbrella shaped and HUGE! A perfect shade to the people travelling on foot and ox-wagons. Then they are replaced with even bigger Bodhi trees, having numerous air-rots.
I figure I can make it to Pratapgad Fort, and then sleep in the mountains. The twisted mountain road leads up to 1250 metres, and offers so many great views. I stop and pick-up an old fart, going my way - and wait for Karma to bit (and it happened later this evening). We get all the way up to the steep and pointy top without any accidents.
It is getting late, and I only run around, seeing the most interesting points - and their awesome views. Here are quite some people living up here, in shags with tin-roof. Kind of spoil my else so great mountain motives. The fortification covers several peaks, overseeing three valleys.
Despite this is only at one thousand metres height, it feel and look way more. And the temperature drops, but that can be caused by the descending sun as well. In an effort to get to another peak, I overshoot it, and end up of the highest, far away. It feels wrong to rush good views like this, but the sun is getting low, and I would like to find a hotel before dark. But I do have to stop at some great looking Euphorbias on the way down.
I spotted several hotels on the way up here, and head back down the same way I came. The first one is only 14 days old, and it have a truly fantastic mountain view from the balcony. I get a real good price for this luxury (view, hot water, Wi-Fi, tea at the room, towel, soap i.e.), and head out to find lunch.
Most restaurants in the little village is closed, one have the most dirty menus I ever seen, another only meat-dishes. Back at the hotel, they promise to find some for me, and bring it to my room within an hour. I start working, but when the receptionist knocks at the door, it is not with my food.
Apparently, the new hotel still haven't the permit to host foreigners, and some arshole in the village have called the police, who then called the hotel. And then my delicious food arrivals. I get to eat it, before I leave. I get bounced by several hotels, but then I find a hostel, who haven't heard anything. I get to work one hour, before they want my "health-certificate". Apparently they started making these AFTER I arrivaled. Should I have had the bug from another country, I would not only have been ill by now, I would have been cured - or dead. Anyway; I'm out on the street again.
at night with tinted windows, mountain roads with pot-holes and one
headlight way off, is not easy. I start trying any hotel and alike I
pass, till someone don't know - or care. I get yet another great
room, facing an a legendary great view. A cup of tea (and work) in
the restaurant, before they closes half pass ten, then more work at
the room. I really hope I get to fly home the day after tomorrow.
Sleeping in the street is not really me.
Kolhapur and Pratapgad