when in goa
so good news- im actually very good at this spontaneous travel thing.
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the flight from Delhi to goa was only 2 and a half hours (vs the 40 hour bus ride because of the random little roads you'd have to take!!), but it hit Bridgette and me hard. Neither of us had slept the night before on the bus ride to Delhi, and on top of that, we both woke up feeling sick.
We both got it in our heads that a bagel would partially cure our misery, so we searched the airport high and low. We found bagels. Just bagels with curry. And curry. Our hopes lifted when we spotted a Starbucks- starbucks serves bagels in the usa. We discovered that Starbucks in India also has bagels... just also with curry. alas, we settled for tea (without curry).
we took an hour nap at our gate, just sprawled out on the floor like dead bugs. Coincidentally, we felt like that, too. Come to find out, about half of the group that went to Rishikesh got sick. Just when you think youve beaten India, india beats you good.
By the time we were boarding the plane, we made friends with a German girl who was also traveling through India alone. We chatted some and then parted to our seats (bridg and I mega lucked out and sat on the same row with an empty seat between us). Our heavy eyes drifted in and out of sleep until our spritey German friend bounced to our aisle and started talking.
"Is this seat empty?" She smiled in her thick accent, waking up a very sleepy Bridgette as she scooted in the middle seat and buckled herself in.
neither Bridgette nor I got any rest after that. But the girl- Nina was her name- proved to be a very interesting person. As we disembarked the plane, all four feet of tiny Nina came barreling down the ramp, "we get taxi together?"
The ground transportation outside was chaos, despite the fact that goa is in off season. Bridg, Nina and I located a taxi booth, only to be told that our hotel was the opposite direction from ninas. Poor Nina wasn't able to get money out when she landed (who's ever heard of an airport not having an atm, dang it goa), so she went into panic mode about how she would pay for the full price of a 700 rupee taxi alone.
Bridgette and I scrounged around in our wallets and came up with 700 of our rupees for her to use to pay for her taxi. It was a very cool moment for us to be able to help a solo traveler like that, and her graciousness warmed my heart. She fished around in her backpack for something to pay us back with. We insisted that she didn't worry about it, but she pulled out a bag of German gummies. "They're my favorite candy from home- take them! You must."
the Palm tree lined, winding roads gave me hawaii deja-vu. no part of this paradise reminded me of the hustle and bustle of delhi, and certainly not the mountainous expanses of rishikesh. how are all of these hugely different cities all within india? maybe that's the thing i haven't been able to put my finger on; the thing that makes india so special.
we pulled up to our hotel in the afternoon, and right away we knew we were in for a treat. the staff opened our doors, took care of our (icky, dirty) bags, and bestowed us with handmade shell leis. while their gestures were impeccably kind, both of us underwent reverse culture shock within a matter of seconds. It's a very difficult transition teaching in the slums and second-hand experiencing the lives of the families there to arriving like royalty at a five star beach hotel.
we settled into our room and absolutely crashed on the bed. neither one of us felt any better from the morning, even though we had picked up medicine in the airport pharmacy. among the many treasures hidden in goa, two of my favorite might be the pillow and mattress i slept on. not exaggerating here- it's been the best sleep of my life.
a shower was the next thing on our to-do list after the nap. Bridg went first and came running out soaking wet in a towel- "water pressure!!!!!!"
water pressure is the most underrated thing of all time. I'm pretty sure half of the tan i thought i had was actually just dirt that never came off in the shower at my homestay. i washed my hair and it hasn't been this curly since middle school- not putting heat on it with my straightener has apparently had quite the unanticipated effects.
at the hotel, we dug into the bag of german gummies. to our surprise, they were incredible. something about german gummies, let me just tell you. the bag was half gone in no time, and only because we decided to control ourselves. Bridg and i joked it was the best 700 rupees we'd ever spent. from the hotel room, we watched the beautiful sunset over the hotel beach, and i can confirm that goa has some of the prettiest sunsets I've ever seen.
Dinner that night was late. we drug our heavy, sleepy bodies out of bed by some miracle, and walked a little ways down the street to a thai and goa dinner restaurant. we noticed that the locals in goa are so much more accustomed to foreigners, so we both felt much safer and less violated with our privacy.
tonight, i'm looking forward to sleep. more specifically restful sleep. i'll be posting part two of my goa trip hopefully very soon!