Warning: Bikinis do not make a feature anywhere in this post. Sorry, people. But this is a family-friendly page and I don’t want to scare away the few people who do visit! 😉
When I first heard that my parents and I would be making a 4-day trip to Goa, I was ecstatic. I mean, who wouldn’t be? Goa is like the Indian Hawaii. And who doesn’t want to go to Hawaii? I, for one, would LOVE to. But for now, Goa is as close as I can get.
So, obviously, I was over the roof about the news. (“To Goa! Yay! w00t!” et al.) But the thing about expectations is that the higher they get, the less likely it is that they’ll be met. I, knowing this from past experience, was trying not to get my hopes up too high, but sometimes, when you’re given exceptionally good news, it’s hard to keep the excitement at bay. The exact thing happened to me – I just could not get myself to believe that I would be let down.
And that is why I thank God that Goa was as fabulous as it turned out to be. Because I’m someone who get’s very moody and pissy when I’m disappointed (which happens a lot, because as I said before, I’m also someone who can get excited very fast), and that leads to a very depressing phase for everyone who’s around. To think that it very nearly did happen…
Our train (Rajdhani Express – one of the best ways to travel; and no, I’m not advertising for them!) dropped us off at a place called Madgaon (or Margao). Now, our hotel was at this place called Vagator, in the northern parts of Goa, and to get there we had to travel 60 kms by taxi. All taxis in Goa are apparently Maruti vans, and during that 60 km drive to the hotel, I learned something. Abundant leg-space is not as much of a luxury as we all believe. I mean, when you’re on a tiny, bumpy road (and the roads in Goa are miniscule!), it hurts – and I mean, really hurts – to be thrown around and not have the seat in front of you close enough to grab and steady yourself with. My thought during that entire journey (which lasted one and a half painful hours) was that I’d never be selfish and ask for more leg space again if I wasn’t sure what sort of terrain I’d be moving on.
Well, at the end of that enlightening journey, we reached our hotel – Sterling Resorts, Vagator. Now, once upon a naive time, ‘resort’ used to be a high-funda term in my dictionary. I mean, there’s something about saying “I’m staying in a resort nearby” that just doesn’t get conveyed in “I’m staying in a hotel/motel nearby”, though technically they’re almost the same thing. It’s…fashionable. But, as I learnt, ‘fashionable’ places are meant for fashionable people. It helps to stay in a resort if all you’re going to do is take daily dips in the swimming pool, order room service and have dinner in front of the TV, and spend absurd amounts of money doing…well, nothing. In other words, if you’re rich and jobless (and I mean that nicely). Which we were not. So, basically, staying in a resort proved pointless (and expensive) for us, especially since we had to travel a lot to see any places worth visiting.
Still, all complaints made, it’s fun to compare, right? Now, I didn’t exactly get what I expected (left), but it was close enough (right). Heh. For once, my expectations were met and it turned out to be a complete waste. Talk about irony! 😛
Anyway, all of this did not detract from Goa’s fabulousness. We explored it to the max by getting on a tour bus that took us to some fascinating places, including the basilica where St. Francis Xavier’s body is kept. I love churches, for some odd reason. They’re so peaceful when they’re empty, and having studied for 7 years in Christian schools, I always feel a sense of nostalgia whenever I visit one. This one was no different, especially considering I’d come to the very same one with my friends on a school excursion three years back. We also visited a few temples, a museum of sorts where they showed us how the old Goans lived (it felt more like a third-standard school trip then!), and some fantastic beaches. (I wish I had a digi-cam, so I could’ve uploaded some pictures of these places!)
I feel Goa could be best described as ‘laid back’. The whole state is peaceful, no one’s in a hurry (I didn’t see ONE traffic signal during my entire stay there, for Christ’s sake!), there aren’t many people or cars around to cause pollution and the Goans are very friendly. It’s a beautiful place, with more greenery than you’ll probably see in the rest of India combined. Have you ever had that experience where you’ve traveled some place by train and seen these beautiful patches of scenery between cities and wished the cities themselves could be that pretty? Well, Goa is.
Words cannot describe how calming it is to be on an empty beach, with the wind in your hair and the waves washing your feet, watching the sun set or to stand atop a hill, close to the heavens, watching the clouds cover up the sun and the rain pour down in spades. It’s something that’s got to be experienced and Goa is the perfect location to do such a thing. I’m very glad I made the trip with my parents, because it’s been a wonderful experience. Something I’ll remember and cherish for a long time.
So, if you ever get the chance to go to Goa, don’t miss it. You can take my word for it – it’s worth it.