North Goa, India

3rd to 5th Feb ’18: Someday when I visit Lisbon, I will be able to judge the authenticity of this old Goan saying – Jea konnem Goa pollelam, tannem Lisboa pollonvchi goroz nam, translating to “He who has seen Goa need not see Lisbon” Till then, I choose to not disagree. A comfort food for our mind and soul, we were visiting this gorgeous land for the 7th time.

You see, the chances of you getting bored of Goa is probably lesser than the chances of you seeing Hailey’s comet.

Day 1 – 3rd Feb:  I wake up and have a weird thought. What if in a parallel universe, we can piggybank those precious seconds when you open your eyes in the morning and realize today is the day when you leave for your vacations. It would be like a giant happiness depot which you use wisely only on your gloomy days.

There would be Happiness Banks and you pay in happiness (instead of money) in return for Travel, which means more Happiness. How rich is a person in that universe?

Anyway, Let us get back to Earth. We are leaving for Goa TODAY! So, Yay!

We reached Delhi International Airport and hopped onto the flight mentioned on our Boarding Passes. The best part about flying to a holiday destination is the touristy vibe you get from the co-passengers as opposed to the mostly grim-faced professionals who commute often between metro cities. We landed in Dabolim Airport and got a taxi to drop us off at Baga.

Baga is located at the north end of the continuous beach stretch that starts from Sinquerim, Candolim, leads to Calangute and then to Baga. This beach is dotted with food shacks and dance clubs which slowly come alive as the night rolls on. 

If you like to party, Baga will groove with you.

We had planned our stay for tonight and the night after in Arudra’s Beach Cottages. The property seemed to be quite a steal deal because of its location right on the beach, which is not a common sight in Northern Goa.  The name of our cottage was “The Moon” influenced by Hindu God Shiva. 

The inhouse restaurant had snuggly red lounges and unparalleled views of the shoreline. We flopped into them and watched parasailers look like miniature dolls beside the tiny orange ‘bindi’ on sky’s forehead.

We savored on delicious pasta and let the Breeze-Beer duo waltz away our fatigue. Dusk had already set in and we decided to keep our activities limited to beach strolling for the remaining quarter of the day.

While walking on the beach, a little girl came to me selling bracelets and anklets which I had no intention of buying. But when she reduced the price from 500 INR to 50 INR, I was a helpless woman! My brain could not help but ponder how the little girl was imitating the thousands of online and offline retailers that create ‘wants’ just by using a few flashy words like SALE and PRICES SLASHED.

Darkness spread in the sky as quick as an ink drop on a blotting paper and Baga transformed into a vibrant fairyland. 

All the shacks festooned themselves with strings of bright and colorful LED lights, prepping up to welcome tourists for romantic dinners on the sand. However, Baga is not for the peace seekers.

If you have not danced till you dropped, then you are yet to truly enjoy Baga.

Music blares out from each beach shack like bent up flood and each time you walk past two adjoining shacks you are likely to encounter some interesting remix of songs. We agreed to save up our bit of dancing for the next day and walked the entire shoreline, from shack to shack, scrutinizing the menus to find the perfect platter which would satiate our sea food craving.

We finally settled for Kingfish platter at Silverlight. The tables and chairs were set up facing the sea, hardly 50 meters away from where the waves were crashing.

Tiny specs of light were blinking from ships docked mid sea against a black curtain of the now unified sky and sea, distinguishable only by a white line of incoming wave.

Happy as a clam, we walked back to our cottage and crashed onto our beds.

Day 2 – 4th Feb: – We woke up to a bright and sunny Goan morning and gobbled down a fine set breakfast. The Sun’s warm (read fiery) welcome signaled why it would be a grave mistake to plan a vacation here in the months of May – June.

Baga boasts of a wide array of water sports like Parasailing, Banana Boat Riding, Jet Skiing and others of the like.

We have had our fair share of these experiences in prior visits and hence decided to give it a miss this time. A rented scooty took us to our first destination in today’s itinerary – Fort Aguada. Goan escapades have always been better on two wheels. Presenting some captures from the memory lane.

Fort Aguada and its lighthouse is a well-maintained seventeenth-century Portuguese fort standing on Sinquerim Beach, overlooking the Arabian Sea. A quick tour and a few “Dil Chahta Hai” inspired clicks later, we perched atop our vehicle and cruised along the meandering roads sprinkled with greenery on either side.

The cool sea breeze nullifies the searing heat, so riding a bike in Goa will preserve your comfort while keeping your pockets happy.

Of course, you need to submerge yourself in Sunscreen lotion before you step out. The Scooty wheels seemed to pick up signals from our rumbling tummies and we landed up at the gate of our favorite restaurant in Goa – Thalassa.

Thalassa means “Sea” in Greek. Sitting on a cliff facing the rugged Vagator Beach, this Greek taverna with its white walls and furniture looks prettier than cloud castles. Ensure to make reservations in advance for the front seats for your rendezvous with the Arabian Sea. The plateaued head of the cliff extends for about 50 mtrs past the front row before plunging down and blending with the beach.

As we relished our lunch and marveled at the infinite sea in front of us, we observed how the long horizon had formed a perfect half sphere.

Word of caution to all Flat Earthers – You might want to steer clear of this place or your belief is in danger.

Next Stop – Shop.

A sumptuous vacation meal can fill the heart but if you use an electron microscope you will still be able to find vacant nooks and corners. Shopping God to the rescue!

If seen from an airplane, I imagine that the busy Anjuna Flea market can easily qualify as the working parts of a wall clock with colorful screws and hands. I raided the bazar, put my bargaining lessons to good use and picked up a beautiful dress for the night, some junk jewellery and souvenirs.

Post shopping, we made our way to Curlies which is a stone’s throw away from the Flea Market. Seated on the one storied sea facing balcony of this rustic wooden shack, we pondered how time flies.

The next day would mark a year from the day we had exchanged vows to keep each other happy forever.

The Sun must have heard our conversation as it immediately started painting the sky with darker hues of orange, one stroke at a time, adding a utopian touch to our discussion.

It is impossible to watch a sunset and not dream. Today we dreamt of weaving our lives with the strings of love. Some day when the spinning hands of the clock and the flipping pages of the calendar years bear testimony to our greys and wrinkles, we promised to return to the same spot to live our dream over another blissful sunset.

As evening unfurled we started on our way back to Baga. It was time to experience Goan nightlife, which we had put a pin on the previous day. Tito’s Lane in Baga right next to our cottage, is lined with clubs and brags of being the most happening place in North Goa. Our lucky stars were shining bright as we were allowed free couple entry into Mambo’s, that too on a Sunday night. 

When we had enquired the previous day, they were charging 3000 INR per couple for unlimited drinks and snacks. It is probably a strategy to populate the club by providing the early visitors free entry and charging the ones that follow, once the club is fairly full. Realizing the dance floor opens only at 12 am, we ultimately bought ourselves unlimited drinks and snacks vouchers. We ate, drank and danced like there was no tomorrow. How we reached back to our cottage is a little blur.

Day 3 – 5th Feb:  I opened my eyes and was engulfed in euphoria as I recalled that our 1st wedding anniversary awaited its celebration in the undisputed queen of all beaches in Goa – Palolem. After a hearty breakfast, we bid adieu to Baga and thus began a 3 hour road trip towards South Goa, in a rented taxi.

For the tales of South Goa, click here

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