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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Goa II

We have still yet to make a decision of what we are going to do with respect to India, as we are weighing in our options. While we are in the great place (call Goa), we thought we would check out some of the sites. We went to the government run tourist office and got some pamphlets.

From the pamphlets we decided to go on a South Goa Tour. All giddy with excitement and anticipation, we went to the hotel where we could sign up for the 8 hour tour and paid our dues. We got onto the bus and we were off, to see Old Goa…or so we thought. Old Goa is a really neat looking place, except 10 days a year, when the festival for the saint is held, which end on December 3rd. The tour guide told us, in broken English, that we will not waste our time here,both Tanya and I were relieved as we watched thousands of people all trying to jam into the Christian churches.
The bus continued on its way to a temple. There really isn’t too much to see at temples, unless you are really into them.

We continued on our tour, seeing another Hindu Temple and then we went to an old Portuguese Settlement. It was pretty cool to see the old house, and how people used to live back in the day. They lived pretty good, and the tour was good. Having a tour guide makes these sites so much more enjoyable and meaningful.

After this we went to the Beach. The beach was nice. Sand as far as the eye can see, palm trees on the edge of the beach, trying to move closer and close to the ocean. We walked through the palm tree forest (of course, I am a forester). For those that know about the SBSmk1, it was like walking through a sparsely tree’d 03, with no dead pine trees, but coconut trees. It was crazy, very cool. We couldn’t stay in the treed area though, the sand was getting in our sandals, and it is so difficult to walk in sand, so we returned to the un-treed area and walked on the compacted sand back to the bus. The high winds on the beach made the +33 weather more bearable. It is really hot here, both Tanya and I sweet through every pore all day long and consume about 3L of water a day each (and we don’t do any extraneous activity).

At the end of the day, we were exhausted, and ready to go back to our hotel. It was really interesting, we were the only non-Indian people on the tour, this tour was targeted towards Indians from other part of the country. As a result, the price of the trip was very cheap.

India is a country of too many languages, something like 80, but people from different areas don’t all speak the same languages. Most Indians can speak three languages, their local tongue, Hindi and English. The odd thing is (but very convenient for a couple of mono-tongued Anglophones), most Indians from different parts of the country all speak English to each other. This makes India such an easy place to get around.

Posted from Rumbrem, Goa, India
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Goa

This post was originally written on Nov 29th, but the internet was very slow, it didn’t get posted until today.

We are currently in Goa, an old Portugese settlement. It is pretty cool here, lots of European style houses. It is pretty laid back here, nothing like the big cities in India.

It is hard to believe that we have only been gone for 4 days. The first three days seem to take for every, the flights alone took a long time, Edmonton – Toronto – Frankfurt – Mumbai – Delhi – Mumbai – Goa. In those three days, we didn’t get any useful sleep, we did some sleeping while on the plane, and we spent one night (about 12 hours) in an airport. Yesterday we got to Panjim, went to a hotel at 7:30am (and luckily got a room at 9am), had some breakfast and slept until 5pm. It felt great, we got up, got some dinner and then we went back to bed. We both were wide awake at 4am, tired to go back to bed, but couldn’t.

We feel a lot more rested now are wanting to start enjoying ourselves….but wait, there were terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and we don’t know what we are going to do yet. We looked at our options, and it doesn’t look good, the only other reasonable place to go is Thailand, but if you are up to date with your news, that Bangkok international airport is shut down due to protests. Another option would be to land in Malaysia and see SE Asia, however with most of the area too much rain, and the route to thailand isn’t all that safe for non-muslims (this was our original plan but we decide India would be more safe). I would like to say that the we have not yet made up our mind what we are going to do, we are weighing in the options of what we can do. I would like to say that the parts of India that we have planned to see do not have a travel advisory warning. The southern part of India is very rural, and miles away from Mumbai (in so many ways).

Posted from Rumbrem, Goa, India
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