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A flight to paradise

About Goa…
This tiny state, along the Konkan Coast, covers, 702sq km and consists of just two districts, North and South Goa. Alfonso de Albuquerque established a powerful but small Portuguese enclave here in 1510. The culture of this place is a legacy of its colonial past. It gained Independence in 1961. The evergreen Hippies first discovered this place as a holiday destination in 1970; North Goa was there destination till they discovered Colva in 1972. At that time these people used to stay in huts on the beach itself, there was widespread drug use at that time till about 1983, but after the crack down by the police it was cleaned up. The tourist started coming to Anjuna and Baga beaches in around 1985 and Goa had its first five star hotel in North Goa about that time. The charters started coming in about 1988 mainly from England and Italy and that was the time South Goa was discovered. Mobor was the destination for many a five star resorts and from Majorda till here it was all virgin land which was turned into some of the best places to stay. After this there was no looking back. So welcome to the paradise known as Goa and have fun.

Day one: Good to go
Starting from Chandgarh my better half and me took the morning train to Delhi (Shatabdi). On reaching Delhi we took a taxi out to the airport. Before reaching the airport we stopped for a bite to eat cause the waiting lounge food is not up to the mark and overpriced. After collecting our tickets and boarding pass (when flying with spice jet always take the 16th row more leg space) we buckled up and were off in a jiffy. The grandeur of the sky can only be experienced in the monsoons, its not clear but the cloud formations are something to be seen to be believed. It feels like a walk in the clouds with angels as your companions (air hostess – pun intended) and the glimpses of our mother earth through the shrouds of clouds is lovely sight to behold (38000 feet). The view of the beaches from the air was breathtaking with the clouds ringing the sea and the seashore being pounded by majestic surfs preceded our arrival. Our taxi was waiting as promised. Going to Panaji(Panjim) was a tour in itself, the swaying palm trees on one side the Arabian sea on the other. After crossing river Zuari we hit the town Panaji then we crossed Mandovi River to your resort in Baga beach which was right on the beach (30 second walk). After checking in we took the walk to the beach and the glory of the sea was right in front of us. Man o man, it was one of the most glorious sights that I had ever seen. After soaking in the sea we decided to take a walk to your next door Calangute beach, after a nice leisure walk we crashed into lounge chairs at a shack and ordered fish and chips and just kicked back to relax and soak in the environment. After nightfall we got back to the resort and had Goa’n soul food, which is Prawn Xacuti with rice and roti (yum) and conked off for the night.

Day two: Taking it in
Getting up after a leisurely sleep we opted for a heavy breakfast of Pranthas and
Curd with loads of Butter. After that it was time for a walk along the beach, the stroll took us down to Calangute beach. On the way we picked up seashells and helped locale fishermen with their catch, it’s a breathtaking experience. The Arabian Sea in its full glory ringed with dark to white clouds is a fascinating sight which you will cherish for a long time. Entering Calangute market, we did some serous window-shopping. Talking a stroll through the back streets (a must do) we got back to your resort where our transport was waiting to take us to the justly famous Church of Goa, Basilica de Bom Jesus. The facades in it self were breathtaking and the interiors are Grand. The magnificence of the place was evident with every step you took; it was simply stunning. The mortal remains of Saint Francis Xavier the patron saint of Goa are kept housed in the Church and after paying homage to the great Saint we exited and headed to the famous jetty which is nearby. While munching on some sea salted peanuts we were reverted to the sight of the sea as it boiled and the wind whipped around us, it’s a joy that is extremely hard to describe. Then we were off to Mandvi River Cruse which is a must do and should not be missed. After getting the tickets (100 per head) we were off to enjoy the Goan way of enjoying life. There was music all around and we were treated to a traditional Konkoni dance. The locale flavor was all around us and we soaked in the culture with the ever-present beer quenching our thirst. While driving back the rain gods showed there presence by letting it go, but not for long because the party in Goa never stops. CHEERS.

Day Three: The sites
After breakfast we took a car on hire (600rupees) fueled it up and we were off to Fort Aguada and the famous lighthouse, the drive was spectacular with lush greener on both sides and the light sloping drive took us to our destination. The view was spectacular and history was all around us, after visiting Coco beach which is the quietest beach of North Goa we were off to check out South Goa. The first beach with slivery sands was Majorda Beach; the sand was soft and the Sea much calmer then North Goa. The clean sea and the rolling turf was a sight to behold. Driving through the small roads ringed with palm trees and small paddy fields was so soothing that I almost fell asleep (kidding) . Then we hit this great eating joint by the name MIKE’S great food and amazing ambience. It was getting late and Baga Beach was waiting for us, hooray it was party time with the two hotspots right next to each other Tito’s and Mambos. The party started rocking after 10oclock and after checking out Tito’s we entered Mambos where entry is free. At Titos you have to pay a cover charge off 500 hundred bucks, I for one preferred Mambos because the ambience is laid back and there is great music, this night there was a mix of people from all the corners of the globe. This was a global party man and did it rock or what, the beach right alongside gave you a chance to go take a dip in it was chilled out.

Day four: Fiesta time
In the morning we got to know that 23rd July is Saint Alex Feast in Calangute. On this day there is morning Mass and after that the Feast with ample servings of chana beasn laddos, banana chips, fried chicken, shark fish and chips with side platter of Prawns accompanied with loads of beer and Fenny a locale drink made from cashew nuts or coconuts (cashew is better). We partook all of this at my good friend Miguel’s place. Then we were off to South Goa and the splendor of the white sands ringed with seashells and smooth turf was a beautiful sight indeed. We reached Colva Beach, which is the longest stretch off beach in all of Goa, after checking in we were off walking the stretch of this magnificent Beach. After frolicking in the Seaside for about 2 to 3 hours we hit Lobo’s shack for some nice cold beer and fish, which went down just fine. Chilling till sunset, which was spectacular.

Day five: Biking Adventure
After getting a Pulsar Bike (500 two days) we were off to explore south Goa. The essence of Goa is not on the highways but the backwaters just along the coastline, this part of Goa is not to be missed. We were off to Varca Beach to enjoy some Dune buggy rides. It was a nice experience to feel the power of the waves as I waded into the surf with my Dune Buggy, this was the flip side to the peace and quite as these are the spirit of Goa. I really believe that, and for this south Goa is the place to be. After checking out Mobor Beach where some of the best resorts of Goa are situated, these places are laps off luxury and are located on the beachfront amid white sands. After having a liquid lunch (beers), we were off to Agonda Beach. The drive through the Ghats was a very pleasing experience, its through mountains and valleys and the sea on one side (glimpses). You can check out how real Goa lives on reaching Agonda, the sea greets you and the most amazing sunset played before our eyes. It sure was a magnificent spectacle.
There are small hotels and bed and breakfast types available right on the beaches that are quite comfortable. After checking in we relaxed on the beach till the stars came out. Before dinner we enjoyed some locally brewed Fenni (cashew nut) with a dash of Limca and loads of ice and some tasty seafood snacks.

Day Six: Cruse Control
The day of reckoning was here, after having breakfast at Sagar-Kinara at Colva a great South Indian restaurant the plan was to go to North Goa chill out there and check out the “Caravela Cruises ”. It’s a floating Casino on a luxury cruse liner, booking our tickets (1300bucks per head) we went to check out Panaji. We did some souvenir shopping and bought Fenni and cashew nuts for friends back home. I always say the best locale flavor can be had at the locale Coffee shops and we found one “AramCafe”, it’s a quaint place with its menu ranging from ‘Ragdea Somosa, Mirchi Pakoda and cold sweetbreads with sips of hot coffee alongside. It was approaching 7:30 Pm, which was the push off time for the Cruse so we rushed back; the ship is very well turned out with their hospitality at its best. After checking out the lower deck we went to the upper deck that holds both the Casino and the Dining area (casino starts at dot 9oclock). The top deck houses the pool and the bar; Rahul who was our host for the evening welcomed us and on started the festivities. We were treated to a cruise on the Arabian Sea for a couple of hours before the ship docked at the Mandvi River. After having some drinks we went to the casino to try our luck and soak in the ambiance. When you enter the casino, the cage (tokens) is to your right and row of 6 Roullet tables are the first to welcome and entice you. After that are the card tables on which some popular games like Blackjack, Poker and Teen Patti were being played.
The slots are on either side of the casino; the bar is at one end and the performers on the other side. There’re Russian dancers\live band playing, the drinks appear as if by magic and you get engrossed in the game. My advice is to steer clear of the slots, as they are no fun, the real deal is much better. After partaking of some gaming fun we took in the scrumptious buffet with a wide range to choose from. We were off to the Blackjack tables right after dinner to enjoy some action and hopefully to win some money too. Partying till early morning left us bone tired and off we were to our cozy beds.

Day Seven: Leaving paradise
After getting up around 11oclock (came back at 3:30 in the morning) I opted for a massage Kerala style and man did it shake the blues off me. After a one hour massage I took a dip in the pool and I was good to go but not without the customary meal at Sagar-Kinarar. Catching a taxi from Colva (350 bucks) we reached the Airport and checked in then back to Delhi. After that took the Train (Shatabdi) to Chandigarh and we were back to home sweet home.

This trip is one that I would like to do again and I hope to convince you people too go and get your slice off paradise its waiting for you out there, so go get it.

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