Thursday, November 5, 2009

Go Go Goa, Pt. 1

After an exhausting few weeks in the slums, researching nomadic tribes, surveying AIC’s Health Outreach participants, and basically trying to be everywhere at once, I decided to head to Goa for a well-deserved break with a few of the other volunteers. I generally feel pretty guilty about spending money on big leisure activities like this (even though past Keegan Fellows literally urged me to do so) but my mom was nice enough to cover the three days of madness as my Christmas present.

Goa is basically the Caribbean in India. The hippie hangout of the ‘70s (which still attracts many long-haired folks trying ‘relive the dream’) has incredible beaches, rave parties that blast into the morning, cheap alcohol, and a host of other sinful opportunities – I was offered ecstasy, cocaine, and ‘anything I wanted’ on at least three occasions, and it wasn’t more often only because I usually had my own driver at night.

We arrived in Goa after an overnight bus, on which I didn’t sleep a lick due to the fact that the bus driver must have thought we were headed to the core of the earth the way the AC was cranking. Just after 7am we found our abode – Raman Guesthouse, a collection of guesthouses tucked between palm trees, a swimming pool, and a carpet of sand, all of which opened up right onto the beach. We met some Lebanese, who were just headed out to a waterfall. Sounded cool, sleep could wait. To get to the waterfall we took a jeep through the jungle, where we were able to give bananas to the best-fed monkeys in the Indian sub-continent. To have some fun I sold our Lebanese friends the story that I was from Australia. Unfortunately, at that point I didn’t know we’d be hanging with them for the next three days. It was a tough one to keep up.

After swimming at the waterfall, we went to a spice plantation for a spice tour and buffet meal, which culminated in a sampling of some local cashew liquor. Then I got sprayed down by an elephant in an ‘elephant bath’ (who thinks these things up?). Once back at the hotel and cleaned up, we had dinner at the hotel’s beach restaurant before checking out a rave. While we all looked awkward and out of place next to shirtless, sweaty individuals who had clearly lost their minds (or were just finding them), two things struck me as odd. The first was that the place closed at 10pm. What kind of decent party even starts before 10? The second was that they give you a bottle of water with your entrance fee. Did I just get invited to do ecstasy?

Once that shindig shut down, we were off to Curlies, a bar/rave/party scene set on the beach that was crawling with expats. It MUST have been in Lonely Planet because it required a good trek to find this tucked away party oasis. The lights came on, our driver was sleepy, and we were sent home. And that was just the first day.

1 comment:

  1. MERRY CHRISTMAS, SON! I'm glad you had such a good time and can't wait to hear the rest of it.