Saturday, November 7, 2009

Go Go Goa, Pt. 2

The next day we took it a bit easier, and I kicked off the morning with a run down the beach. The merchants in Goa, selling everything from knock-off sunglasses to Rastafarian bags, are probably some of the most aggressive I’ve ever encountered. Even as I’m sweating profusely, barreling down the road with no more than my running shorts on, I’ll hear, “Come take a look, just one minute” or “You want t-shirt? Very nice. Good quality.”

With no need for a shower, I went straight to the beach. As someone who has a problem sitting still, laying out and reading ended before it started. The girls I was with, of course, had no problem. A walk along the beach revealed an interesting spectacle: hundreds of Indian women, fully dressed in their colorful saris, splashing and battling the waves in the shallow ocean. At first glance it looks odd, but then I think about how I must look to Europeans, who are sporting Speedos that leave little to the imagination. Maybe. The evening brought shopping in the Calangute market, but first I found myself with time to kill, and decided to do some parasailing with a boatload of Indians (literally!). During what turned into a shopping marathon, my endurance petered out quicker than a Hollywood marriage, and I just hung out until the girls finished.

Since we had been drinking Kingfisher beer – the Bud Light of India – all month, I figured I was obligated to try the local Kingfish for dinner. Later we found ourselves at the trendy nightclub Mambo, where each guy had to bring a woman and pay 500 rupees. Felt like college frat parties all over again. Luckily, I had four girls with me, and a couple Indians paid my way in to use my friends as entrance tickets. There we danced (speaking in relative terms here) and chatted, with the high point being when some of the girls were pulled on the circular stage in the middle of the dance floor. I even got to ride a mechanical bull, and am proud to say that I set one of the best times of the night before an applauding crowd. Around 4 in the morning we finished up the night at Subway (so American).

On about four hours sleep, I got up and rented a scooter. $5 for all day…it was like stealing. Riding a scooter for your first time is one thing; riding a scooter for your first time without a helmet and in India is quite another. Half the time I thought I was going to die, and the other half I felt as cool as the other side of the pillow. I’d pull up to a juice bar, grab some fruit punch, tip the guy 10 cents and then hop back onto my Honda Activa, zipping off at 35 mph. I owned that town.

I took my hog to Lalbaugh Fort and the famous Anjuna and Vagator Beaches, the former of which I bargained hard for random local products, and the latter of which I lost an embarrassingly large sum of money gambling. I kept going, thinking I could dig myself out of the hole until I was down to just a couple rupees – not enough to buy gas for my empty scooter. I think that’s the sign of addiction. Luckily the fumes got me to an ATM, and I ended the expedition at the famous Tito’s Restaurant for Prawns Peri Peri. Back at the guesthouse, I had just enough time to squeeze in a 45 minute full-body massage before I raced off to my overnight bus a mountain of work that I had put off over the past three days.

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