Beautiful one day...
03.01.2007 - 04.01.2007 31 °C
Hello, Evan Here.
Despite dire warnings of trains taking hours longer that anticipated and always running at least three hours late our first train trip was a delight. We thought we would ease ourselves into the whole train thing by starting off in a 3rd class Sleeper. It was in the morning 3 hours from our destination that I had my first encounter of the forced transport conversation. Since then I have learnt to only start conversations with strangers when I'm under 10 minutes from my destination. Fortunately our train traveling friend spoke excellent English and the conversation was enjoyable despite the four hour duration. My second encounter was not so much fun as I couldn't understand the old guy at all. despite this he tried to make a total incoherent conversation last the whole journey. Fortunately it was only a 30 minute trip.
We stayed in Panjim which is the former Portuguese port town rather than one of the more popular beaches. The town itself has a great feel, fabulous food and some very Portuguese architecture. Nat said it reminded her of Cuba, kind of Iberian and kind of crappy. I bet the moustache ratio is similar too.
The next day we caught the local bus to the famed Anjuna beach Wednesday markets. Anjuna is your champagne backpacker destination complete with "hashish, you want hash?", mangy dogs copulating on the beach, Bob Marley playing in every second bar (only the legend CD of coarse), bad attempts at western snack food and people sunbathing to within an inch of their lives. We only stayed for a few hours and by the time we left we were sure we had made the right decision staying in Panjim. Our taxi driver to the train the next day confirmed our thoughts saying that the beach has been ruined and you now need to head two hours south to find a good beach.
The trip home from the beach was probably the most memorable part of the day. Local buses have a seriously crazy routine. Firstly once they know you're getting on the bus they will yell that it is about to go and you must hurry and get on. Once on the bus will rev and let the clutch out just enough for the bus to move 10cm. This will continue until the bus is completely full, this can sometimes take up to 20 or 30 meters. When I say full I'm talking really really full. On our trip back from Anjuna (which was on the last bus of the day and coincided with peak hour) I had to stand and I was touching 4 people the whole 40 minute trip home, none of which was my wife. Fortunately my crotch was pressed firmly against the side of a seat rendering it touchless. I had a photo to express in picture what I have tried to in words but Nat fell victim to the old "format" option on my camera trying to change the res and as a result I'm photoless for the first few days. Once the bus gets going the conductor then starts his way up the packed bus collecting the fare. There has got to be a better way. Anyway I'm getting used to the lack of personal space and getting less concerned about sweating on fellow commuters.
The next day we got back on a slightly less crowded bus to Old Goa. The original Portuguese town which was pretty impressive. Lots of Massive churches and a pretty interesting history. I need to find out more about the Jesuits! Anyway that's it from Goa. There are some photos of Goa and beyond in the photo album which we will blog about next time. Miss you all.
Stay beautiful San Diego,