Sunday, 14 October 2007

Good Ol' Catholicism

Alfonso Guest House, Panaji, Goa
The term 'sleeper bus' is a bit of an oxymoron in India, what with the way they drive here... Since it's festival time (again - these are turning out to be quite a hassle when travelling), the train from Mumbai to Goa was pretty full, so we decided to opt for an overnight bus instead. We were booked on an 'upper berth', basically kind of like the top bunk of a bunk bed, which was alright for me, but was obviously not designed with Caucasian statures in mind. Also, what with two daypacks with us on the bunk, it was a pretty tight squeeze to even lie still, let alone move around during the night. Ah well, I guess it was still better than that bus trip from Budapest to Prague we had last year, when it was just a bus with normal seats and hardly any leg room.

We got off at Panaji, the capital, and were immediately inundated with people asking if we needed a taxi. This persisted throughout the day, even after we had dropped off our big bags at the guest house and were just wandering around the town. Apart from that though, Goa's been a refreshing change from the rest of India. I have yet to see any cows wandering the streets! I don't have to watch the ground every single step of the way to ensure I don't step in cow poo/someone's spit/etc! In fact, I even saw a store advertising beef...! I probably still wouldn't shop there because who knows how dodgy it might be, but nice to know that it's at least there... And there's not so many beggars! Although there was some lady walking along who suddenly either 1) asked for 5 rupees because her friend was carrying a baby, or 2) offered to sell James her friend's baby for 5 rupees. All we really understood was 'baby' and '5 rupees'. And neither of them looked needy at all... I still don't really understand the whole asking-random-strangers-for-money thing, especially when they don't even look like they need it.

During sunset we went on this river cruise thing where there was an emcee/DJ/singer trying to get people to dance on this stage, complete with flashing disco lights and synthesizer music, it was super camp, I got a few good videos which I'll post online when I get back... The view itself from the boat wasn't that spectacular, but the hilarity factor and the campness of the whole thing made it all worthwhile.

Unfortunately since today's a Sunday, pretty much everything was closed (like ye olde days in New Zealand) but should be back to normal tomorrow, when we plan to explore Old Goa a bit, before heading south to some nice (hopefully not polluted) beaches!

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