Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Mandatory Goa Trip After Graduation.

"Life is like that Goa Trip. Either you show it who's the boss or it takes you for a ride"
-Nishma Khetia.

If someone told you a Goa story without high-level drama in it, they would be lying to you. Take my word for it. There is a reason behind all the memes on the internet surrounding Goa plans that fail and they are there for a reason. I am sitting on the train back from Goa as I write this blog post because a lot of my research on travel blogs have told me to journal my experiences as soon as possible as the details are crucial but they are also volatile! After a lot of planning a few of my friends agreed to go Goa the day after the completion of our final exams. We were graduates! Yeah, the ceremony is in November and the results are not out yet *phew* so this was the perfect time to travel for us, take one last trip before we parted ways.

Manipal is 4.5hours away from Goa by train. The Madgaon station, however, is also a good 1.5hours away from the famous Baga Beach. Our hotel was a walking distance from Baga in an area called Calangute. Our journey began at 7.30am from Udupi station and by the time we reached our hotel freshened up it was 4 pm. We were all exhausted but we had no time to waste on rest or sleep which were a rare luxury. We had not been having any sleep for the past two months due to hectic exams so were pretty much used to the idea of sleep deprivation.

After getting some much needed late lunch, we hit Baga beach. The beach is lined with dozens of shacks serving food and drinks. The crowd on the beach was pretty decent. We were told that this was 'off season' ( I traveled in May end). The waves were huge and the water sports were going on in high swing. Latest music blasted from the shacks and we ordered ourselves some drinks. Every shack had a variety of options to choose from. You would have to look at a few places and decide where you would like to sit. We watched the sunset and I clicked a few photos.

The walk to and fro from our hotel was pretty much a routine in Goa. We walked through Tito's lane which is Goa's famous street that has clubs and pubs on one side and local shopping on the other. We strolled through the shops and clubs weighing our options so we could get the best deal to party the night away. Getting ready was the next task and putting on our best party wear because a lot of clubs in Goa require formal wear. After getting delicious dinner we decided to head to Tito's. The other strong option we had was Club Cabana but as our transport back from the club was debatable we decided to go with Tito's. After all the club had an entire lane named after it and all the advertisements hyped it up. Spoiler alert: it was worth it AF.

Tito's lane at midnight was like a carnival full of people enjoying themselves and dancing to upbeat music. The couple entry was thousand rupees and ladies had free entry and drinks at Tito's. Five of us got in at midnight and got ourselves a nice table. Tito's was divided into a drinks only section, a Sheesha place, restaurant and the dance floor area. As we experimented with drinks, a magician came to entertain us and it was absolutely delightful. Another group of friends from my batch were also in Goa and later came to Tito's. I was on the dance floor till four in the morning celebrating the end of four years of hard work! It seemed to fit perfectly.

Goa had some power problem as they were changing the power lines. We got some disturbed sleep and checked out of our hotel at eleven in the morning. We had hired a driver to take us sightseeing. Cars are not the recommended choice of vehicle for Goa! A scooter is perfect but we didn't know how to ride one or didn't have the license. First on the list was Candolim and we got into boats to see some Dolphins. The boat took us into deep waters where we spotted Dolphins. However, they were quick and unexpected sightings so I could not photograph that.

Next up we headed to the famous Dil Chata Hai fort- Aguada Fort. Okay, I have not watched that movie. Sue me! I shall watch in the holidays. The fort was beautifully located on a hill. It was made by the Portuguese and had a lighthouse. It was very sunny and one could easily get dehydrated. We had lemonade to replenish lost electrolytes and continued our sightseeing post lunch. The boys had Goan fish which they said was delicious.

The last location we visited was Basicila of Bom Jesus. I have seen quite a few churches but this one stood out to me. If you watch the video of the ongoing mass you will get the idea of what I am talking about. It is so beautiful and the mass going on was in-tune and it created a holy atmosphere. I don't know what it was but I have only felt this moving feeling twice in my life. Once when I visited the ISKCON temple in Bangalore on my own and now in Goa. We lit candles at the church and said our prayers.

Our taxi driver then dropped us to the railway station for our train back home. A lot of drama unfolded prior to our settling in the hotel but I choose to not highlight the negativity in my blog posts and instead leave my readers with all my fun experiences with caution tips wherever required. When booking a hotel ensure that the check-in and check-out timings and rules are crystal clear because small hotel owners can take you for a ride! Also, do not depend on your friends to take any sort of travel responsibility, just do it yourself even if that means coming off as rude or just solo travel! Which reminds me,  I'm going to write about the trip that sparked the traveler in me very soon so watch out for that one to be inspired to travel solo.

1.Carry enough cash! Goa can be expensive. We went during off season but the prices of food and accommodation are pretty high. It does have very cheap alcohol when compared to other Indian states but everything else is costly. I spent 5000 rupees in two days. This is when I traveled to Goa in General class train ticket so if you are coming in by bus/flight you have to consider the cost of that as well.

2.Stay hydrated. As Goa is humid and sunny you could easily loose track of your water intake and the if you are drinking alcohol, it will leave you dehydrated even more. Have a lot of fresh juice and water at all times.

3.Confirm and re-confirm your bookings to make sure you know exactly how things are about to go down. Goa is huge so I suggest booking one hotel in North Goa and then another one for the next day towards Old Goa or South Goa. This would let you explore easily. According to me to fully explore Goa 2 nights and three days would be sufficient.

4. Traveling on a scooter is recommended but I realized that if you are 4-6 people you can hire a car as well because scooter can get uncomfortable and long distances on GPS can leave you exhausted.

5.Watch out for all shady people because there will be a lot of people trying to offer you stuff. You do not want to get yourself into trouble. Also, make sure you have proper transport arrangements after you are done partying. DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE.

6. There are many beaches in Goa. If you want to go to a laid back one you can discover one for yourself and you do not need to be on a crowded beach if you are looking for a more relaxing vibe.

7. Last but not the list, just keep your calm while traveling to Goa. Things are bound to get a bit out of schedule as everyone is just looking to have fun in their own way. 

That's all for this blog post. Oh, what's that you want more?...Hmm Okay! I made a proper Goa Vlog for you guys. Have fun. Leave your comments below. Thank you for reading.

All photos/videos are owned by me or my friends.


Signing off,
Nishma Khetia.


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