I finished the yoga course in due time, said bye bye to my newfound friends (I'll see some of them again in March), and started walking the beaches of Goa. This is the first beach vacation I've had for as long as I can remember, I've always gone to the mountains, so I figured I'd do it proper this time.
Crossing a shallow stream
Small, quiet beaches...
And not so small and quiet ones
Fishermen pulling in their dinner
Older type fishing boat
Yatra means journey, and some Indians practice the tradition of leaving their house to go to holy places, as in a pilgrimage. The best time to walk is in the early morning or the evening because of the heat, but the paths over crags and hills separating the beaches are treacherous in the dark, so I walked mainly in daylight.
Just north of Chapora castle there is a little hindu shrine, built onto a cave, in between the sea and the cliff. I was resting in the shade when another traveler walked by, and we had an interesting chat about life, the universe and everything. At some point a couple of Indians came to the shrine and lit some incense, giving their respects to the local deity. One of them started playing a harmonium, a box-shaped accordion, and sang a wordless song to the mountain. My new friend and I went inside, and listened to this classical Indian style hymn, while watching the eagles above, the fireflies playing in the wind, and the fishing boats coming in from the sea. A truly beautiful moment...
My little trek lasted 3 days, and despite all good intentions, my feet wasn't up to the task of walking all the beaches of Goa. Walking in the "desert" for miles upon end really gives a good foot scrub, and when blisters are a fact, sandals and shoes don't do much good. So, reaching Panjim, after long consideration over proper coffee, I decided to take bus and ferry the rest of the way.
India has it's own way of getting under your skin. And taking public transport even more so. On the bus, I usually take the handicap seat close to the door, since all the other seats have miniscule leg room. On this particular trip, the ticket guy insisted on squeezing his butt-cheeks onto my knee, and if I moved it, his ass would follow. Moreover, an elderly lady that sat beside me held on for dear life, and pressed me with her back into the window, and kept pushing as much as her frail body could. All together with a bus driver that believes speed limits are for inferior beings, Bollywood music that's so loud that the driver can't hear all the honking and mayhem he leaves behind, nonexistent suspension, and your friendly neighborhood fishmonger that spills all his merchandise onto the floor of the bus. I traveled for 2,5 hours, and paid 1 euro.
And now I'm in Palolem, south Goa. I'll probably move inland to Hampi soon, the Indian climber Mecca, but not before some more soaking at the beach.