Savantvadi

There’s people on the street getting diseases from Monkeys
Ya that’s what I said, they’re getting disease from Monkeys…
Flight of the Conchords

I am reminded of this song as I sit in my hotel room. As I look out the window I see some small monkeys gathering food above some Indian houses. The people who live here are using slingshots to get rid of the pests.

Today we rode 42km. We got out of Goa this time, and now we are in this town called Savantvadi. The roads from Arambol were wonderful, (shaded, quiet, and rolling) until we got onto the Natiion Highway, in which the traffic picked up. We made a slow climb to the town, passing many cashew factories on the way.

Yesterday was a great day as well. It was a rest day in the beach town of Arambol. In the afternoon we went to the beach, walked up and down beach, enjoying the chilled out nature of this hippy mecca. After walking on the beach lost its appeal, we went to a beach bar and had a few drinks.

Fishing boats early in the morning

For dinner we decided to try the italian joint. Good choice, the ambience was like a pub. There was some good blues being played on the speakers. We ordered the Pizza, and when we were done, a band started to play, and the place was packed. It was very cool and completely different expirence from the night before (the booze-free vegan cafe).

Tomorrow will be a tough day. We plan to cycle 89km up the western ghats (a gain of 800m of elevation). We got petrol for our MSR whisperlite internation stove if needed. We also stocked up on ichiban noodles with some seasoned lentil paste for extra flavoring.

Posted from Sawantwadi, Maharashtra, India
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Arambol

2 days ago we tried to leave Goa. Things didn’t work out quite like we planned, and yesterday we found ourselves eating dinner at a hippy retreat on the beach, still in Goa, about 20km north of Anjuna at a beach called Arambol. The last two days have now been labled a learning and acilitization process.

  • Distance Anjuna to Valpoi: 60km
  • Valpoi to Arambol: 72km
  • Total distance: 152km

On Dec 6 we packed up our cycle gear and headed east. Climing hills and passing through small villages, the expierence was enjoyable, it was Saturday (a normal working day for Indians) and the roads were not too busy. We had planned to find a hotel in the village of Valpoi. When we arrived, we found that there was no Hotel here, this is a valuable lesson: don’t count on there being a hotel on the smallest dot on the map (I know what you are all thinking…”duhh”). So we asked around for some help. Sometimes people can stay at resthouses run by the government, however we were not allowed to stay there because we didn’t book it in advance, and we were foregners. We were running options and daylight. The government workers told us that it was just a short 15km uphill ride to a hotel, which wasn’t going to happen because we were too tired and too hungry. Next we went to a high school for some help, not really sure what would happen, but we knew the teachers there would speak english, and we would have the greatest success.

Success came in the form of an Indian teenager, and his friends, leading us to an old rice patty, on the edge of town. We both knew we had no other option and accepted the patty as our temporary pad. This is where the excitement starts. Within minutes of taking our gear off the bike, we hear cow bells, hoards of cows slowly made their way through our campsite, then we heard some laugher. A handful of kids came by with a soccer ball and played near our campsite. We got hungry, luckly we stocked up on some ichy-ban noodles, however we didn’t stocky up on any fuel. Standing there, watching the kids play futbol, we ate our noodles, uncooked, hard, and flavorless (this is a new low for Kelly’s culinary expirence).

It gets dark around 6:30, and since we are camping, and not making a fire, we go to bed when the sun goes down. Around 8:30 we heard some voices. It was 8 teenages, out enjoying their Saturday night. There were breaking branches of a nearby tree to make a fire. I went outside to check out what was going on. They were a nice bunch of kids, trying to stay warm on this 18 degree night. As we stood around the fire, they chatted in their local tounge, which I didn’t understand. Every so often the would engage me in some conversation in English. They spoke good English. They offered me some bread, and when the fire died they left. Tanya and I fell asleep around 10:30.

We didn’t have the best sleep, in an area that was so frequently traveled, it was not the ideal place for camping. There were no more visitors that evening, and when we awoke, our tent was soaked (condensation, just like Mexico). While we were packing up our gear, three of the boys that were playing soccer the day before came and brough us some tea and fresh cashew nuts. It was very throughtful. A great way to start to the day, and it lifted our spirits.

After looking at the map, we decided that the best option was a completely different route that we planned, so we headed back to the beaches to get a good nights rest and some good food.

When we riding into town, we were passed by two irish girls on a moped. They said they were cycle tourists. We got excited, when ever you meet another cycle tourist on the road, it is neat to share expirences and stories with each other. They gave us some tips about Arambol, and told us about the hippy retreat (that is where they are working while one of them heals from an injury). We had a tasty, western, vegitarian, buffet dinner.

Tomorrow we head out, trying a new route. The last couple of days have been a learning expirence, we know what the roads are like, we know where not to find a hotel (small villages) and we know that we need to have fuel as a back up.

Posted from Arambol, Goa, India
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More Anjuna

We’ve had a relaxing and enjoyable couple days. Yesterday we went to a yoga class which was on a rooftop, it was early in the morning and you could watch the sun rise over the ocean, while it wasn’t the best class I’ve ever been to, the setting couldn’t be beat and it was a good way to start the day. After that we cruised around town on our bikes, it gave us a good chance to explore.

Today we started the day at .”Martha’s Breakfast House” where we enjoyed luxuries like waffles and toast with peanut butter. We spend the whole afternnon at the beach, we’d have some fresh juice or beer (Kelly), then cool off in the ocean, and repeat! Very much enjoyed. We figured we better move on soon or we never will, so tomorrow we are going to head off.

Posted from Anjuna, Goa, India
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Anjuna

Distance: 20km
Traffic: Low to Mod (first day it is hard to know what is low or moderate)
Roads: Pretty good overall
Comments: Always try to leave the a city on a holiday.

About 20km north of Panjim is a small little community called Anjuna. We rode our bikes here from Panjim, and it was a success. We both had some anxiety of what the ride out of Panjim was going to be like. We picked December 3rd because it was a holiday. We were on the road by 6:30am, and out of the city by 7. It was a great success, Panjim (about 100,000 people) has lots traffic (like all Indian cities), however most people don’t get on the roads until later in the day (there is no getting to work by 7 here). It was nice, after biking through a traffic circle we were on a bridge and basically out of Panjim.

The rural roads to Anjuna were reminiscent of Baja California, not a lot of traffic until you got to a village, then there was more. The roads were pretty good and with English signs all over the place, we had no problem finding our way to Anjuna (though this luxury probably won’t last long!).

We got really lucky and the first guesthouse we stopped at, according to some others staying here, is one of the best at this price, it is the big upstairs of a english speaking families home, very nice people, great location and an excellent veranda to lay on a hammock!

Anjuna is definitely a beach town! There are a few kilometres of beach with lots of restaurants and places to just sit and relax. There is a weekly market here which just happened to occur today! Rows and rows of people trying to sell you stuff, saw some pretty cool things but refrained from buying anything.

Today I had the first cold shower in my life that I actually enjoyed! I think we will enjoy our time here, the room we are in is available for 4 days and I’m guessing we’ll stay for that long!

Posted from Anjuna, Goa, India
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