Saturday, April 01, 2006

To Goa

(Warning: Very long post.This was written after this post after which a lot of people asked for a sequel)

Let me describe the second lap of our journey from Mangalore to Goa. We left Kerala, spent a day at beautiful Mangalore and the next day took the Mangalore-Goa road. This route is a very scenic route and it is advised to use blinkers for car occupants during this journey. Otherwise car occupants will do crazy things like stopping the car every half an hour or so to take pictures of the beautiful sights. It is advisable to have patient drivers like my elder brother G who will patiently pull over every time I wanted to click a snap.

By the time we reached Bhatkal we were in a holiday mood. I would describe holiday mood as that state of being when you stop looking at the watch or the milestone and just enjoy the time without worrying about the next moment. Goa was somewhere in the horizon, but we were in no hurry to reach it. After a drive of an hour or so out of Mangalore, we hit a small beach. The water was an unusual grey and blended into the grey sky. The whole scene looked surreal like we were watching an episode from Star Trek. It was with great difficulty that we tore our eyes from the sea and drove on. We stopped at Bhatkal and were lucky to witness the arrival of fishing boats and the hectic auctioneering that follows soon after the catch is loaded. A basket of mackerels was sold for Rs 50 right before my eyes!!!! That would be around 10 kilos definitely. I suddenly felt bad at the haggling my Mom did with the fish seller who comes in regularly. These guys certainly don't have it easy. I looked at the fishing boat proudly festooned with the Indian tricolor and wondered how these guys managed to make both ends meet? :(

The Bhatkal Light House is an amazing place. You drive up this steep hill on a road that is perhaps a few inches broader than a ribbon to reach the lighthouse. The view from the lighthouse is breathtaking. We stood in silence and let the view sink in. Massive waves broke against the cliff walls below and I just couldn't believe that I was in India. This as a scene straight out of English novels. The confluence of the sea and mountains throughout the route was an amazing sight! (No guys, Karnataka Tourism is not paying me to write this, though their last cheque did bounce!)

We lunched at Karwar at a restaurant cum bar !!! ( it was the only place open at 3pm) The food was decent, the place wasn't. Any minute I expected a Silk Smitha to come floating out of the silk curtains and garish light festooned doorway. My mom and me were as out of place as two Nuns in a tattoo parlor. While G tried to stifle his laughter at our situation, M looked around with exaggerated interest and asked the Manager when the floorshow would start. The Manager suitably pleased at the thought of a prospective customer informed M that 'Belita' and her troupe would perform from 6 pm onwards. M put on another overly exaggerated look of disappointment and said mournfully that he would not be able to witness the spectacular floorshow as he had to drive to Goa. He then proceeded to do what he always does at restaurants. He asked the Manager if they served 'Duck'!

The poor manager who looked like a MacMohan clone ( of Samba fame in Sholay) was flummoxed. He went into the kitchen to check with the cook. By now G was chuckling away, while my Mom looked very disapproving and Dad tried hard to hide his smile behind the Menu card. My mom did what she usually does when M takes off on his pranks. She took the menu and ordered lunch from another waiter. MacMohan came back saying that they did not have “duck' but they had chicken. Again M put on that look of exaggerated disappointment and he sighed loudly and asked if they had ‘goose’? MacMohan went into a tizzy again and went to check the same with the cook. By this time I was laughing uncontrollably, my mom was looking daggers at M and M was reading the menu rather too gravely.

Drinking is a strict no-no while driving so both brothers had to watch Dad and me gulp down chilled beer while they had to make do with Musambi Juice. MacMohan looked very disapproving now. Two young guys and drinking Musambi juice??? I am sure he must have thought that he had seen everything he had to see in this trade. The waiter bought in my Chicken Biryani and M asked the waiter innocently if the meat was crow meat or chicken meat? The waiter was taken aback, and then recovering his composure replied with all sincerity that it was indeed chicken. He then proceeded to explain in all innocence that the restaurant did not serve crow. M nodded sagely and said gravely that he understood how difficult it was to catch crows!

We limbered into Goa late in the evening and were promptly stopped by the cops. We were waved behind a row of cars that were stopped similarly. A sleepy cop who perhaps did not see G clearly under the Sodium Vapor lamp wanted to know why he wasn't wearing a Khaki shirt!!! This time it was M's turn to hoot with laughter as G explained patiently that this was a private car and he wasn't a taxi driver. The cop noticed the white board and sheepishly waved us on. I guess it was time for the poor cop to go home and have his Feni.

We met surprisingly friendly cops in Goa. Imagine this scene. My brother and friend driving back at 7 pm to the resort after a day of scuba diving. A cop stops them and asks them where they were heading. When they disclosed that they were going back to the resort, the cop looked surprised and remarked that 7 'o' clock was party time and not a decent hour to be going back to the room!!! He then waved them on after advising them on the most happening nightclubs in town. He left a big impression on the guys with his warm and friendly nature.

The beaches of Goa were nice and it was cloudy throughout our stay, which made the weather really pleasant. However the waters smelled of fuel from the ever-present boats. We spent mornings on the recliners that the beach shacks hire out. On the last day we saw the shameful sight of a group of Saffron turbaned Sikhs who terrorized and chased every bikini clad foreigner out of the waters till somebody called the cops.

The whole industry is geared towards foreigners and getting a South Indian meal is difficult unless you go to Panaji’. I survived on Subs throughout the holiday and lost hell of a lot of weight by the time we got back. The food at the resort was heavily into meat. On our way back we stopped at a Kamat hotel and had rice and sambhar like starving hordes. :)

If you are going to Goa take the Bangalore, Mangalore, Goa route. It is a whole package of experiences.


Dr. Pissed said...

Oh Goa, yumm!!
Thats where we're headed pretty darn soon on BIKES even..

Anonymous said...

This was a very useful review thank you!! The drive sounds lovely. You went through some great places by the sounds. I am headed there soon and will take the route mentioned by you.

Sarah said...

I wish I had a brother like M instead of my pain in the butt sisters!

meenakshi said... too going to GOA for my summer training for 2 looking forward to have lots of fun in my free time:)

silverine said...

@dr pissed:You are going in the hot weather so get prepared to get scorched :) Have fun !
@Divyaa:It is a really great drive :)
@Alexis:Thank you. We have heard of the 'creative' ways waiters deal with pesky customers and so are very uneasy when he takes off on his pranks. But then he always ends up making friends with them :)
@immigrant in canada: I wish I had at least one sister :)
@Fundoome; It is a fun place though it will be very hot in summer. Have fun and since it is off season buy fish and ask the shack owners at the beach to cook it for you. Yummy!!! :)

Anand K said...

I remember a road trip to Goa with two close pals like five years back. It was some fun trip...... the pools, singing songs of friendship, boat rides, fishing, clipper-ship trips, water-scooters and what not.
In the meantime I met this nice Swiss girl for whom I stayed behind, while my strongly "disapproving" pals went back to Mumbai. Turned out she was a crook; ripped me with some local dude (who had this amazing left hook) and trussed me up on the floor... #@%$! I now suspect she aisn't even a white broad from Switzer-fr1ggin-land! God bless the truck driver who was kind enough to take me back to Mumbai. :P

monu said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
monu said...

wow alexis said... nice travelouge..

or is this something special for April 1 [:d]

..same like


ജെയിംസ് ബ്രൈറ്റ് said...

It is really wonderful to read this travel experience.

Fleiger said...

Well, will write post comment later, but at this point I am starting to like M. Tell him hello from a fellow prankster and sister-sufferer.

ARK said...

wonderful travelogue.

was in goa for a week in this jan. felt so much like kerala with all the greenery and the countryside.
being a mallu staying presently in north, had a feeling i was home. it is true that the 'tourist goa' and the countryside are really different. both are lovely.

Geo said...

Good one...

Me too had a trip sometime back...

An enticer cutting across goan roads and beaches... written abt it here

Goa sure is a dream destination.

Mind Curry said...

thats soooo nice..your family seems absolutely fun and cool. very good!

i have driven to goa once, long ago when i was in mangalore. as you said its really a great drive, though the roads were not so good.

Sarah said...

You can have all three of mine..Ofcourse you do understand half your clothes will be missing, your makeup will be missing and your boyfriend will dread coming home to meet the terrible trio..Still think you want sisters?

Jive Talker said...

Idyllic Goa is where Iam headed to soon. Will have one for you, at Wagator Fort looking down at the sea a la Dil Chahta Hai.

-Poison- said...

i remember me pals smuggling loads of feni back home last time we went there...feni bottles in speaker boxes n wat not...

and M.
that is a specimen to be watched out for!!

silverine said...

@Anand; LOL you are the first person who is admitting to being conned by the con girls of Goa :)) I have heard many such stories and cannot but feel a grudging admiration for these smart girls !! :) Thank god, nothing serious happened to you!!
p.s. You admitted to being fooled on April Fools Day!!! Kudos! :p
@Monu: This is a sequel :)
@dreamslittle: thank you, do try this route when you are in India. preferably in Nov, Dec or Jan.
@Fleiger: Please pass on a request from me to your sister. Tell her to blog. I would love to read about a fellow brother sufferer's account :)) Your regards have been passed on er....was forcibly made to read :p
@Arjun: Thank you. Actually Goa reminded me of Vailankanni with its narrow roads.
@Geo: Thank you. Goa sure is a dream destination :)
@mindcurry: Thank you, the roads were done up when we went, though the Blr Mangalore road was horrible but very picturesque.Besides we traveled on the series of holidays that came last year towards October end, so there was not much traffic on the road.
@immigrantincanada: LOL I know, I have cousin sisters, so missing clothes, lipstick, shoes etc are part of the package :)
@Jive talker: Idyllic indeed. Have fun! :)
@Poison: Thats a cool idea, smuggling Feni in speaker boxes!!! Specimen indeed lol

Matter of Choice said...

ah..the much anticipated fact i've taken that route to goa coupla times when i was posted in Mangalore infy...amazing route.i always used to enjoy that journey far more than Goa! In fact one time we abandoned the journey mid-way at gokarnam as it was too good a place to leave after 1-2 hours.

Great post!


Jim said...

No wonder you like travelling so much, with those two to brighten things up! Not to mention the chilled brewskis. Daddy dear still thinks I'm too young to drink... *sigh*

Too bad about the turbaned morons, I hope they got washed out to sea.

Anand K said...

@ Silverine: And you didn't see the Dil Chahtha Hai rip? I'm veree veree dizappointed, Frauelin! :P

PS: My fave DCH character was Sidd, BTW.

Anonymous said...

Hey, tell your bros that I'd like to meet them the next time I'm at B'lore. Beers on me...

BTW, what happens if the hotel does have duck?

hope and love said...

M is adorable..

Shriedhar said...

thnx a well written tourist guide to Goa :)

btw, bkground changed frm black to white.. wot reason...

silverine said...

@MoC: Thanks :)
@Jim: The turbaned morons ran off the moment the cops came, but I felt sad at the display they put up in front of the foreigners.
@Ammo: The first accident we had was the camera falling into the sea. So couldn't take many pictures. But take my word the drive is worth it :)
@Anand: ROFL So it was a rip off from DCH? I have seen the movie in bits and pieces on Star Movies. ha ha I am the one who is the April Fool now :))
@Browser: Sure!!! We never got a place that served duck :))
@HnL: I am sure one of your sons is an M clone :)
@Shridhar:Thank you. I got fed up of the Black background. Had it for a year now.

Anonymous said...

Interesting start of an article in REDIFF: -------
"Can you imagine what life was like back in the early 1920s? Going to the movies meant watching black and white pictures without the benefit of sound. Charles Lindbergh hadn't yet flown across the Atlantic. Alexander Fleming hadn't yet discovered penicillin. And India was ruled in the name of George V, grand-father of Elizabeth II (who would not be born until 1926). And yet it is two men born in that far-off era who are all set to play a major role in the politics of 21st century Kerala."

ARK said...

have added this blog to my blog roll, hope u don't mind. thanks

silverine said...

@Browser: Now that is something to think about :))
@Arjun: Am honored :)
@Aashik: Munching crow biryani sounds like fun :)) I have heard so much about the Konkan railways that I might just try it this year !! And pulling the chain is exactly what I will do I know LOL

venus said...

the crow meat in your chicken biryani was the funniest prank! rofl
enjoyed reading your tripoloue :))

Anonymous said...

Whoa! Now this is Something
U have to see! :)
I go to Goa thrice a Year, and your deatailing makes me wish I'd chronicled it each time!