[philiptellis] Walking the world in search of interestingness

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Off to the beach

Breakfast at the Guest House was at 8am, and none of the phone booths in Goa open before 7, so I tried to get some sleep. Slept for about 15 minutes and then went in for my shower. About 7:15 I thought I'd find an STD booth, and call home to tell them that I'd arrived. The STD booth is a short while away from the Guest House, so before leaving, I called some friends, who live in Goa.

As it turns out, the 3rd of December is a state wide holiday in Goa... it's the feast of St. Francis Xavier. The university was closed, as were most offices. My friends Vinitta and Valerie were both home when I called, but Val was on her way to work. Vinitta wasn't working, and came to pick me up at about 8:30. I called home before that, and got back for breakfast of medu wada, filled with coconut, and sambar :)

Vinitta and I went back to her place to say hi to everyone, and then off to pick up Charlene, and then headed down to Bogmalo beach. Stopped at Neville's place on the way, and had soup and bread sticks.

The beach was so amazing. It's really long, and there were about 15 people there in all. The water was blue. The sky was blue. The sand was yellow-white. I still wish I'd carried my swim suit. Had to go and leave it in my bag!

We had lunch at a small beach side restaurant. It wasn't expensive, but they had no bread! The family that runs the place managed to get some sliced bread for us. Lunch was king fish, and prawns. We sat around there for a long while, solving the crossword in the newspaper, and just chatting. Took a few pictures too, but they're with Vinitta.

Took the bus back to Panjim. We had to pass Dabolim airport on the way. There's also a few bridges across the Zuari river. At one point of time we were on the bridge, there was a train on the parallel bridge, a few boats below, and a plane overhead. Cool.

Had a great day, and got back to the university guest house at around 7pm. There isn't much transport after 7, but Vinitta dropped me back to Bambolim on her bike.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

I've gotta work... in Goa ;)

As part of our teaching work at NCST, we are required to evaluate student projects for the modules that we teach. This year I was sent off to Goa University to evaluate the students at VIT Goa. The evaluations were to be held on the 4th, so I decided to get there by the 3rd.

My choice of transport was the Volvo bus from Paulo Travels. It came highly recommended, and the timing was ideal. The bus left Bandra at 7 pm, which means I could get a full day's work done on Monday the 2nd, and have enough time to drop home before getting to the bus stand.

On an average, a bus ride from Mumbai to Goa takes around 16 hours. The train takes less time, but the station is far off from the University... really far off.

The bus ride was uneventful... to begin with. They played some music through till we reached Vashi - where the last of the passengers boarded. Then the night's movie started. They started to show `Bend it like Beckham', but stopped it about a minute into the move and switched to `Aamdani Atthanni Kharchaa Rupaiya'. If you haven't seen the movie... hey, lucky you!

The bus stopped at about 10pm for a half hour dinner break. I didn't have anything heavy as I was travelling. Tried to sleep after that, but the confounded movie was too loud. The disk started skipping around 11:30, so they shut it off. What a relief!

The ride was okay after that, but I couldn't get much sleep. Kept drifting in and out of a semi dormant state, and decided to give up. Spent the rest of the night watching the stars. The sky was completely clear, and there was no moon out. The Ghats at night are ideal for star gazing. It was absolutely brilliant.

I tried calculating the time by which constellation had reached its zenith. It was fun as I had to do a few back-of-the-envelope calculations in my head, and trying to remember which constellation was associated with each month of the year.

We stopped for Diesel at 2:30, and about 4am, we crossed Samantwadi and entered Pernem. This was completely unexpected. If we were entering Goa at 4am, I'd be in Panjim before sunrise. Not a nice time to be out without transport.

So, we finally got to Panjim at 6am, and I had no idea what to do. Dr. Kamat told me to take a Rickshaw from the bus stand to the University and that I should pay about Rs.60. The Rickshaw driver quoted 80 saying that it was still night rates, so I decided to take it. We got to the University Guest House at 6:30am, and I checked in without any trouble. My name was already in the reservation book.