The 2 human tourist attractions (white girls) and their affect on Indian society in Goa
07.10.2014 - 11.10.2014 35 °C
Following on from my previous blog, we were heading back to Mumbai for the evening so that we could board a train to Goa the next morning; we wanted to travel through the day so as to experience the scenery on the way down the coast and infamous Western Ghats.
So we are on the train returning from Pune into Mumbai and we are told by a couple that its the last stop and everyone gets off the train...and all hell breaks loose. We were jostled off the train and submerged into a sea of around 10,000 dirty, sweaty, noisy people. Literally couldnt see anything but people, and as we were swept along and out of the station, I felt the unmistakable, sickening grope of my ass cheek being grabbed. hard. I turned around in shock to see a horrible old man slipping through the crowds with a disgusting look on his face. 'Yvette, we REALLY need to get out of here'....except we couldnt. We were literally trapped by the surge of people as far as the eye can see through a packed market place spanning about 3 square miles of area. As it turned out, we had got off one stop too soon and were somewhere north of Mumbai. Rather than getting back on a train in the midst of this human torrent, we decided to find a taxi but even the roads were blocked by people! We pushed along for about 20 minutes until we found road. Lovely road. With cars and rickshaws to lead us away from this orgy of marketeers.
It took us around an hour and a half to get to central Mumbai because of the crowds, and it cost us the pricely sum of 5 pounds. After that nightmare was over, we located our hotel with the usual rude-as-shit staff, checked in, and did something awful. It was clearly the trauma of the previous 2 hours. Really. We wouldnt have done it otherwise. Ok are you ready for it? Here it comes....we went to MacDonalds. I know. It was that or crack and I didnt want to find a crack dealer in Mumbai. We had goat burgers which tasted like horrible rancid anuses (anii?), and felt it was probably karma for going to such a god awful establishment. Sacrilege!
Okay so after setting 5 individual alarms to wake us up in the morning, just to be sure, we managed to vacate the hotel by 06:15 and lurched over to the station. A nice man with an insanely wobbly head helped us locate the train platform and seat number etc and no sooner had we got onto the train and into our relevant compartment, complete with comfy sleeper beds for long journeys, the man himself reappeared at our side apparently having gone out of his way to make sure we got on ok. Creepy or nice, I'll let you decide.
The sleeper train was great - just as I remembered! We were in a compartment with 2 other men, but it was so early, we got into our beds and fell asleep. I snoozed til around 10am then got up to check out the views which were spectacular. The journey trudged on and it began to get dark so we knew we were getting closer.
Finally, and after a very near miss of our stop, we got off seemingly in the middle of nowhere and took a pre-paid taxi to a hotel we googled called 'Manvins'...or Marvins as we referred to it as. We were confronted by the usual rude-as-shit staff and checked into a room that looked like it had been modelled on the inside of a cardboard box, for 24pounds. Had a great view from up there but seriously, this room was ridiculous. I cant begin to imagine what they were thinking when they put this place together. They had glued laminated wood look flooring to the walls and insides of the doors, the furniture picked up from a skip or maybe the side of the river, and some random planks and sticks of wood nailed here and there on the ceiling. It gave shabby-chique a new meaning put it that way.
We found ourselves in a Lonely Planet recommended restaurant called Upper House, where we had a great meal and drinks. There was unfortunately an incident that took place in their toilets which forced us to leave to pursue another venue. I dont want to talk about it but it involved a lack of toilet paper and a desperate need to have toilet paper. We sauntered on over to a bar called Mojo's which was an all-Indian nightclub come karaoke bar, however nobody batted an eyelid at our pale complexions when we walked in. In fact we made a few friends, had a little too much to drink, did some awful awful karaoke and dancing, and went home before we stopped being sensible. Somehow managed to get home however Yvette freaked out big time in the toilet and barfed everywhere. I didnt even comprehend what happened until she started yelling 'Dont go in there! no really...please dont go in there' was probably barf all up the walls or something. Anyway we both found it highly amusing the next day - my incident at the restaurant, and her being a lightweight. HA!
We woke up late and decided to take some more LP advice and book a nice trip with the government run tourist office. We took a rickshaw there to avoid hassle finding the place. What happened next I will try to describe but even now I am confused. We entered the building and followed the sign to 1st floor where we walked straight into a weird doctors style waiting room. Everyone looked at us and before I had a chance to ask anyone, we were directed up more stairs.,this time, it was a complete replica of the first room but less people. Another flight up and we walked into a massive open plan office with people working in their cubicles. Now at a complete loss as to what we were doing here, our confused expressions prompted a moment of hilarity and we broke down into a fit of giggles as a woman dragged us 2 chairs to her cubicle in the midst of all these folk trying to get on with their work.
We were advised to go to the Santa Monica jetty for an evening cruise. Now I'm going to try and explain this without getting mad thinking about it. There appeared to be one road leading to the jetty and it was like a highway with bollards down the middle and traffic going at crazy speeds. It took us 30minutes to realise there was no other way to get there than this road and there were no crossings in either direction so we spent a further 20 minutes getting across it. When we reached the other side, we found a building site on the jetty and a lone booth selling cruise tickets. We bought 2 then hailed a rickshaw to help us cross the road and dump us in a park where we were subsequently told off for playing on the childrens swings.
After that fiasco, we took a lazy walk back to our hotel area, taking in the Portuguese style architecture along the way. Yvette had that all-too-familiar tummy lurch and we ducked into a cafe so she could use the toilet. Except they didnt have one so we had to leg it back to the shitty hotel. On our way back down the elevator, we were confused by our own reflections and inexplicably thought we saw an Asian man and woman staring back at us in a mirror as we passed one of the floors. Why were they waiting there so close to the lift? We realised later that it was a mirror, and the Asians were in fact us. Idiots yes I know.
We had some nice lunch then went for a wander in a nearby market where I bought a beautiful sari for 2.50pounds. We stopped in an internet cafe to check hotels at our next destination and stupidly had to fill out all sorts of useless information to do so. They wanted our passports, home addresses, signatures...stupid stupid stupid. We found out what we needed to and went to the room for a quick relax before our evening cruise, which we will now refer to as the 'atrocious shit-ferry'. We took a rickshaw to the jetty (smart I know) and piled into a queue of around 200 people. Thankfully the queue was moving but as we neared the 'end of it', I realised we were simply being herded into a cattle maze in the sweltering heat and left there. There were no other white skins and people were staring, jeering and laughing at us. It was not at all apparent what we were even waiting for and we were getting very impatient. We then thankfully began to move but again, and inexplicably (my favourite word i know) we were once again herded into another cattle maze. What the f**k was this??! Why have 3 separate queuing stations? Pointless - as with most things in India, non-nonsensical and utterly pointless. When we finally got on board our 'cruise-ship'...better defined as a heap of rusty metal floating on an ocean of stinking waste, we were the subjects of everyones attention. It started as people posing very close to us for pictures, the backs of our heads as the background landscape. I mean, I know I'm not one to talk, but I have a pretty damn good back-of-the-head. People were now outright coming up to us and taking pictures. This progressed (along with my rage) to people rattling off the standard 'Madam where from?" "What name?" only for us to realise that they were incredibly, faking conversation with us whilst their friends filmed and took pictures of the scene. We were surrounded by disgusting horrible men and the photos just didnt stop. It would have been difficult to enjoy the so called view with that going on but as it happened, there wasnt much of a view anyway except for the brown river and rubbish strewn riverbanks. Finally off the shit-ferry, a thunderstorm was brewing and before we knew it lightening was piercing the purple darkened sky and thunder was rolling in. Once the rain got heavy, we hot footed it 1 kilometer down the main road to a safer place to cross and stopped into an all veg restaurant for the best thali I've ever had. Thali is where you get rice and roti or paddadam, and a melee of small dishes - anywhere from 5 to 25 - these will be lentil dahls, raita, hot curry sauce. spicy chick peas, potato&pea masala, that kind of thing. It was stupendous.
We rushed back to the hotel amidst the rattling thunder and managed to find an English channel so watched Polar Express and the Smurfs...okay not all of the Smurfs but some of it. Oh my God why on earth did Neil Patrick Harris agree to that?! Seriously...
Waking up the next morning, inexplicably (yep I used it again) The Smurfs was still on...we got up early so we could take advantage of the free breakfast which was being served by a weird Asian looking man with ball hair on his head instead of head hair. It was gross - the breakfast that is and not the hair. Actually that was gross too. Breakfast consisted of greasy naan bread with hot lime pickle, yoghurt and insanely sweet chai tea. Unimpressed we left for the market again and bought a few last minute goodies, including my first stash of silver rings - I am something of a ring-merchant. At 11am we got in a taxi to Arambol, a beachy resort recommended by the one and only Burnsy. An hour and a bit, we arrived, for the price of a taxi from Douglas to Onchan,. and set about trying to find some beach huts we found online. This involved walking through the cheesiest hippy-themed town I've ever seen. Everywhere I looked, embroidered sequinned wall hangings, tie-dye t-shirts, dreadlocks, skinny bra-less girls, and of course the continual offers of marijuana, mushrooms and coke. We had to actually walk along the beach to the other side of the bay, and then along through restaurants, bars and shops. We were carrying all our luggage and had been walking a while, wondering if we were even going the right way, but thankfully our perseverance paid off and we found the lovely Shree Sai Cottages. Little beach huts in a quiet area near Sweet-Water Bay, overlooking the rocks and sky-blue ocean crashing down on them. The cottages were owned by a Swiss gentleman - quite a hottie actually - who asked for 400 rupees a night, thats 4 pounds for both of us in a little wooden hut with a bed and not much else. It did however have a bathroom which we were both pleased about because we were hardly ever off the toilet at this point. In fact you might say toilets were determining and dominating every choice we made on where to go and what we did. They needed to be within 5 minutes reach as sometimes our 'notice' was only about 2 minutes before imminent disaster inevitably occured.
We unpacked and headed over to sweet-water bay where we made ourselves a couple of little brown friends (not poo)....but you will find out about them in the next blog
Until next time