Tuesday, April 19, 2011

India Trip Part 2: Goa

Since my last trip post everything had continued to go great and I am still having an amazing time.
I had a couple of relatively low key final nights in Bangalore one of which included me ordering a plate of fried sheep brain (another to add to my weirdest foods post). The brain was was soft and buttery and tasted mildly like liver. All in all not bad although I'm not likely to be ordering it again.

The local Banglorean whom I've been hanging out with invited me to ride on the back of his 1972 Royal Enfield motorcycle with him to Goa and I, of course, accepted the exciting alternative to a night bus. We sent my backpack on a tourist bus, bought a nice new helmet and set off on for Goa via a long scenic route that would have us drive through the mountains to Mangalore and along the coast to Goa. The ride was wonderful with awesome views and the chance to see some small towns along the way. In one town we stopped in some of the local men were overheard, by my Banglorean friend, talking about how he had never seen a foreigner before (I'm happy to be someone's "first").

The bike trip, although highly enjoyable, was very long. We ended up having to get a hotel about 200 km from our destination as I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. The ride was about 800km total and I ended up being pretty sore when we finally arrived in Goa but the experience was well worth the pain.

Goa is really beautiful. In many ways it is the same as so many other developing world beach destinations. Whether it be Bali, Cancun or Haad Rin or Goa, all have the same shops selling tourist shit and bars lining the beach with overpriced food and drink. That said, Goa has it's own unique charm, where else do you have to compete with cows and dogs for a nice spot on the beach? Goa is renowned as a party destination and the parties go all night (and sometimes all day). Trance music is constantly playing, in every bar, restaurant and store; it is hard to escape the constant pulsing bass (youtube search for "Goa Trance" to get an idea of the music). Indian youths come from all over the country just to party in Goa and they far outnumber the foreign tourists, most of whom seem to be Russian. Needless to say I am exhausted today after 5 days here.
The Goan food has been a real highlight as it is very unique in India. Portuguese colonial influence makes for delicious dishes, many of which include lots of vinegar and cilantro.

Next I head to India's mega city: Mumbai.
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