Back from Goa

24 Dec 2007

My Goa trip was simply fantabulous. Apart from the fact that Goa is a great place for a vacation, I was accompanied by 7 of my college friends which made the trip one that I will cherish for a long time to come.We left Bangalore by bus on the 15th. The journey was pleasant and the view next morning was absolutely stunning.

The bus dropped us off at the Panaji bus terminus, and we took a shuttle from there to Vasco - where Ameya (our host) lived. After a nice lunch and a nap, we took off to the beach closest to base camp - Bogmalo. The beach was a quiet and clean with relatively few people around, which made it possible for us to play a game of beach football. We returned home after jumping around in a sea for a while.

We hired a couple of Activa’s the next day (this seems to be the norm for transportation in Goa) and reached Old Goa in an hour or so. We visited the really old church, which was really impressive - it also contained the remains of St. Francis Xavier. The archaeological museum next door was fun too, very informative about the history of Goa. We proceeded to the capital city of Panaji next, and after booking tickets for a river cruise aboard the Princess de Goa for the night, had lunch at the QuarterDeck.

After lunch, we visited Donapaula, a popular Jetty, which was unfortunately under renovation or something. The view was great though, and we enjoyed a nice little ride on the water scooter. After hanging out in Cafe Coffee Day for a while (These places are everywhere, I think they’re trying to become the Indian Starbucks) we reached the Panaji river coast to board the Princess de Goa. These river cruises seem to be a popular attraction, they basically consist of a few dance shows, a dance floor and an amazing view. We got to see the (in?)famous floating casino on the way too.

My Summer of Code mentor, Matt Lawless, happened to be in Goa too, so we scheduled lunch for the next day. We met at the Calangute post office (which was somewhat close to Matt’s home) and proceeded to the Calangute beach after lunch. My friends, meanwhile, reached the Baga beach, which was just next door to the Calangute beach (the two most famous beaches in Goa). We splashed around in the water for a while, joined by Matt, and then a second lunch!

Matt decided to leave, and we went on to try some of the water sports at the beach. We went for a banana ride, a water scooter trip, but the one that took the cake was the parasailing. Nothing like a gentle ride in the sky to rejuvenate you. Flying over water with the beach behind you and the sunset in front is an experience I can’t put in words!

The third and last day began with a long ride to south Goa, where we first visited the Benauli beach. This beach was beautiful, the sand was different than the others, and the most fun part was when I was buried by the others:

The rest of the day was spent at GoaKart, which was apparently a national Karting track. Parasailing was great, but karting was really the most exhilarating, especially because we raced and went for 4 rounds.

Flickr didn’t let me upload more than 100MB of photos at once, so I moved to Picasa Web Albums instead. I wrote a small script: backr.py that uses James Clarke’s flickr.py to back up all my photos and uploaded them to Picasa Web, which allows me to create as many albums as I want (unlike Flickr).

So, I guess that’s a few more items off my “list of things to do before I die”!