I have an economics test tomorrow, so I thought: ‘what better time to write my blog?’.
The thousands of impending deadlines and assignments did not disappear last week but were briefly ignored as we flew out the school gates down south. Saturday morning we were packed and ready to catch our 10 hour bus to Goa.
After a fairly (read: very) squished and bumpy ride, we pulled in to Margao but our time in the capital was short; the instant we hopped off our bus we jumped onto another Paloem bound. The bus, courtesy of the loaded baskets of produce, smelled increasingly fishy but was a kind harbinger of the sea to come.
It was so nice to see and feel the ocean again. I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed it until we were at Paloem beach. After breakfast we went in search of hotels, a bit tricker than we’d initially thought, but we eventually found a room unoccupied by Israeli 20 year olds. Then it was time for our first beach exploration!
The lovely thing about the Paloem beach is how long it is. Once we got away from the beachside bars and cows it was really isolated. As we bobbed in the ocean chatting it started to rain, something that would continue for the first couple of days of our trip. While beautiful, it did saturate most of our gear, included Jesse’s 800 page biography of Alexander Hamilton (she just wanted a bit of light holiday reading). That night we learnt to play Tichu, so I can now add that to the list of my personal talents.
We explored the other side of the beach, hopped over all the boulders and made our way around the cove. I was cautioned not to let my “milkey-white skin” turn “pinky pink”. The weather had cleared up so it was a lovely opportunity to spend all day outside – something I feel I don’t do enough at MUWCI.
We hired bikes and rode to Kuskem waterfall, a couple of hours from the beach. We got very lost but eventually found the National Reserve that it’s situated in. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any of the advertised animals (sloth bears, porcupines, pangolins) but were entertained by the eco-conscious signs on the way.
It did start raining, quite heavily, which made for some tricky navigating but soon we were climbing up the waterfall. Kate didn’t even bother to change and headed straight up the intense stream of water in her camel corduroys. There was so much water and I could’ve stayed up there with the pounding cascade hitting my shoulders for hours, but I got hungry and we brought pineapple and apple strudel for a waterside picnic.
Marie, Gaby, and I decided to explore the ‘island’ just off the beach. The trek across the stream of ocean between did cause a couple of cuts and bruises but we made it to the shore. I think Marie was dreaming of hidden rock tunnels, Swiss Family Robinson-esque treehouses, and pirate treasure – unfortunately, these didn’t quite exist but we found lots more lovely boulders to sleep on.
We woke up, realised we had no time keeping device, quickly made our way back to the town, bought pomegranate and melon, and met Kate and Jesse on the other side of the beach for another picnic.
We left Paloem tanned (read: sunburned) and waited for our bus, from the Paulo bus company, to pull in. Two hours of ukulele songs later we were getting a bit worried but had just witnessed a cow steal a loaf of bread and consume it in the middle of an intersection – spirits were high. We still had our faith, faith in Paulo. And Paulo did not let us down. He had, however, double booked our seats which left us (read: Marie) to negotiate (read: laugh nervously and plead) with many intensely confident (read: terrifyingly aggressive) Israelis.
dAnd we made it in Hampi. I convinced Kate that we should pause our expedition for chai, she was harder to convince than you’d think. We waited at the riverside for a boat to take us to the other side. Kate was very keen just to swim to the other side. Very very keen.
There we found a place to stay with hammocks and mosquito nets (n.b. mother!). After all our lounging on the beach in Paloem, it was nice to mix it up and lounge in a hammock instead.
We awestruck by the ancient temples, frustrated by the collusive river-taxi oligopoly, and perplexed by the identical menus at every restaurant. But the many river viewed restaurants provided a fantastic setting for journal writing, card games, and homework procrastination.
The last day we hired bikes and went to to Anjaneya hill, believed to be the birthplace of the Hindu God, Hanuman. As it is getting hotter, we had responsibly planned our daily itineraries around the height of the sun. So, at midday we climbed up the 575 whitewashed steps to an unshaded, exposed bouldertop temple.
It was incredibly beautiful (and we had Marie monitoring our water consumption). We did, of course, have multiple requests for photoshoots – I think it was our coordinated tomato shiningly-sweaty complexions that were the attractive factors. Jesse was trusted with a baby.
The hill would have been stunning at sunset (the white paint on the rocks told us as much) but unfortunately the sunset coordinated with our bus departure instead. We caught the local bus from Hampi to Hospet; Kate, with broken Hindi/Marathi spattered English (keep in mind Marathi is not spoken here), conversed with two (very polite) Kannadiga girls about the exact function of the UN. At length. We also bumped into Magali (Belgium) and her mother on the bus and Elisabeth (Germany) and Thale (Norway) while in Hospet.
Despite nearly missing our bus, our trip home was much smoother than our way there. Marie was very excited when they spontaneously brought around snack boxes!!!!! and bottles of unintentionally hot water. The very loud movie provided for our entertainment was quite loud but ended after the first three hours. It did allow me to make a list of my top favourite musical theatre songs and I now have a killer 312 track playlist (wittily self-titled as ‘musiCOOL’ heh). So, hit me up for your next partaay / rave / formal event.
We arrived in Pune quite early (as is now tradition) and scooped up vada pav and chai while Kate terrifyingly waged war with the rickshaw drivers. But we made it back, back to the hill, just in time for brunch.
Wish me luck for my papers. I may yet become an economist. Who knows?
all my love,
6 thoughts on “Running Away”
SOUNDS INCREDIBLE!!! Love you xx
Four gorgeous girls on the loose in India sounds like fun to me! Much love Anna xx
Loved seeing your blog Anna, wish Boz could too. I’ll tell him all about it.
Lots of love, Gran xx
Great photos Anna – so
good to see you all and love hearing about Goa and Hampi. Especially pleased to read about mozzie nets !!! xxxxxx
Anna – you look like you are having the most amazing time! I’m so thrilled for you.. Love the pics, esp the one of you serenading your friends on the beach. Let us know how the Economics test goes! Love to you xxxx
Love reading your blog and hearing of your escapades! Good luck with the exams and cant wait to see you when you come home. Love to you xx