Goodbye Paradise…

After 6 days on Panolem Beach, we headed for Candolim, just north, to spend Christmas at a guesthouse we had reserved in advance…

Things didn’t work out quite the way we had envisioned, considering we walked into the garden and thought we had accidentally ended up in a retirement home.  And the blasting Christmas tunes didn’t improve our mood.  5 minutes later we had already had our first fight with the owner, amazed that her ‘free breakfast’ included only watery nescafe and two pieces of white toast.  All this for ten times what we normally pay for accomodation.  We ended up winning the battle for some fried eggs but the next day we set off to find some new, greener pastures.  The last ‘kick in the pants’ was when she served us the hard-won eggs and toast but denied us the butter until we had completed another argument.  Good times!

imgp2095-medium.JPG This is the sign for the restaurant where we ate our xmas dinner…although we did not bathe or binge, much to the disappointment of the staff there!

Our Christmas day was 6 hot, dusty hours looking for the perfect spot in the hippie beach town of Anjuna.  Our search finally paid off 5 hours in, when a restauranteur called up his friend, who luckily had a suite in her place available.  As soon as we saw the brand-new house with green marbled floors, 15-foot coved ceilings, and our own private porch, and realized that it was half the price of our other place, we knew we were home!

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With the money we saved, we rented a motorcycle for the week (if you happen to be our mothers you can go ahead and skip the next paragraph…) and spent the next 6 days tootling around town and daytripping up the coast.  Claire learned how to drive the little ‘Red Rocket’ and it was hard to get the driver seat back after that! One day we ended up at a beach near Arambol, with a freshwater lagoon just 30 feet from the ocean, and a hike through the jungle brought us to fresh mud baths and a huge, sacred Banyon tree with a 50M canopy span.  Pictures do not do it justice! Note in the last picture on the line that Claire is wearing her ‘water safety’ gear, a thoughtful Christmas gift from Seth.  Even on holiday, safety first!

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Probably the highlight of the week was our night out on the town at Club Cubana, an open-air, three tiered club high up on a hill overlooking the Goan coast.  We had prepared for our big night out with an afternoon in the Anjuna markets and a few beers at a beach bar afterwards, listening to an aging hippie band that consisted of a sitar player, two drummers, a didge player, a guest accordian brought up rather randomly from the audience, and the star of the show, a mick jagger lookalike wearing skintight black pants two sizes too small, with a hairy belly hanging over the belt.  By this time we were PUMPED for our night out!  

We’ll be honest, the real draw to the club was that once cover was paid, all drinks were free all night.  And even better, the night we went, ladies cover was free!  So after Seth paid cover, we set off into the club to make sure we drank our money’s worth (not too tough!)  We were amazed by the decadence of the club, with multiple bars, free massages, and a pool with an incredible view of Goa.  We had a great time dancing and meeting all kinds of people and wishing this club existed in Vancouver…although the ski club would DEMOLISH it!

New Years was similarly fun, we got some gin and headed to the beach, where we discovered a bonfire, some good house music, dancing, and fireworks.  All was great until just after midnight when some drunken amateurs were setting fireworks off directly over (and into) the crowd.  After Claire found a spark on her foot, we decided to move along. 


Tomorrow, onto Hampi and then back to the North to check out the Rajasthan desert.

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