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.