Monday, January 24, 2011

Goa Travel Diaries - Biking Expedition

After living all my life so far on land, I finally saw what covers ¾th of the Earth’s surface - Sea - in Goa. And also witnessed a very interesting phenomenon – Tides. Sometimes they are low and sometimes they are high. My Goa trip also happened in two phases- Awesome high tide n dramatic low tide.

The high tide phase was the “Goa Biking Expedition” days. Each day was a massive “wave” which hit me with its incredible force and drenched me completely. The low tide phase was the post biking days when I was on my own. But its low tide only in comparison to the biking days, otherwise it too had some amazing moments scattered in between.

Unlike most of my trips, which are impromptu, this one was well planned (??) and tickets were bought (not confirmed!) a month ahead. On the D-day I boarded my train at the 11th hour (do we have a better phrase than this cuz my train started moving 3 seconds after I boarded!). I was sleeping when my Station (Thivim) arrived. I wore my jacket, picked my bag and rushed to the door like a kid rushes out of the class when the recess bell goes off. The train started moving 3 seconds after!! I reached the base camp at Miramar, Panjim at 9:30 PM.
The biking group GB-5. (from left)- Lata, Vishnu, Dhruv, Suresh,
Archna, me, Somashekar, Dinesh, Asha, Kumudini & Pawan

Things started happening the next day when the group members got acquainted with each other.  11 Bikers – 4 from Mumbai, 3 from Bangalore, 2 from Hyderabad and 2 from Delhi – most of them riding geared bikes (Merida) for the first time!

Enough of flirting’s time to take off the clothes….afterall the beach is calling and the Waves are coming!

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Next> wave 1: Into the blue

Wave 1: Into the Blue

(at the Base camp, Miramar)

Our camp was at the mouth of river Mandovi and the Miramar beach was just a kilometer from there. Though it’s one of the saddest beaches of Goa but if “virginity” meant “never been to a beach”, I lost my Virginity to Miramar beach and that’s why it’s special to me! It was literally a very bitter experience. The sea water kills all your taste buds the moment it goes in your mouth and for the next 10 minutes all you do is spit profusely n abuse yourself for drinking that poison in the first place.
Though I was in a Sea for the first time in my life; I went more than 500m into it. All the life guards, huddled together, were eagerly waiting for me to drown so that they can get into ‘action mode’ but alas; it wasn’t their day. Finally, the water level got too high and I started my return journey to the beach which seemed like an eternity.

at Miramar beach after i swam back those 500m.

Next> Wave 2: Beach, Bikes & Babes

Wave 2: Beach, Bike & Babes

(Miramar to Assolna)

in the ferry @ Donapaula
Ironically, we started our bike ride with a ferry (a boat) from Donapaula to get down at Margao port. We cycled on the mountains, in the valleys and then ……on the beaches.  Starting with Arrosim beach, one of the most peaceful beaches in South Goa and special to us for “classified” reasons, we cycled on the beach for almost 25 KM taking advantage of low tide. After a lot of cycling, photography and “bird-watching”, we reached Mobor Beach where we again took a ferry to cross a river for our camp – a football field! Although Alcohol was ‘Strictly’ prohibited but we just couldn’t help rejoicing in the “Spirit” of goa! We had Old Monk with Nimbooz in the middle of dew laden field with some dew falling straight on my head (cuz I got myself a new hairstyle as well, if going BALD is considered a ‘hairstyle’!)

Next> Wave 3: Swimwear Photoshoot

Wave 3: Swimwear Photoshoot

(Assolna to Netravali)

The beach-days were over but the Fun had only started to intensify. The bike ride with its steep uphill stretches was a real pain in the ass (literally!) but the ‘Welcome Drink’ at Netravali Camp vaporized all of it in a jiffy. Afterall it was a large coconut full of water, harvested rights from the tree. The white jelly-like ‘malai’ was the icing on the cake.
striking a perfect pose
Soon we left for a nearby Pool famous for its bubbles known as Budbudanchi tali (meaning ‘Bubble pool’ in Konkani). It was one of the best natural swimming pools that I have ever seen and hence didn’t took much time to jump in. Others joined me shortly after. We shot our own edition of “Goa Biking Swimwear Calendar 2011” under the flagship of Ace photographer Archna Upadhyay and I guess Mr.Mallya is going to get a run for his money once we launch it (when we get enough money to do so!). The evening witnessed some scintillation performances by Archna, Asha, Kumudini, Lata, Pawan, Dinesh and yours truly!
and you thought we forgot our cycles !
splash of water n snap of the shutter

Next> Wave 4: Death Defying Dive

Wave 4: Death Defying Dive

(Netravali to Dudhsagar)

the Majestic waterfalls n a mortal in the middle who survived !

We (me & Vishnu) had heard a lot of “good stuff” about Dudhsagar waterfalls and just didn’t want to miss that at any cost therefore we were cycling like crazy despite a jungle terrain. But as luck would have it, the last tourist jeep bid adieu when we reached at the waterfalls and, quoting the famous hindi song, “Dil ke armaa aansuon main beh gaye, hum haaf-haaf  ke bhi tanhaan reh gaye”.

Dudhsagar after the sunset

Once we recovered from that setback, we were swept away by the glory of the falls. I couldn’t restrain myself for long from diving into the pool beneath the falls. I was totally “chilled out” and scared (ironic!!). Well, ‘Chilled out’ or frozen because the water was freakin ice cold and scared because on my left was a list of 9-10 people who died while swimming there. Thankfully I didn’t add to that list! The rest of the group came there late in the evening and photography session resumed yet again.

Next> Wave 5: Gate-crashed a Birthday Party

Wave 5: Gate-crashed a birthday party

(Dudhsagar to Bondla)

Patient , Doc n nurse

Dudhsagar waterfalls is inside Bhagwan Mahavir National Park and coming out from it on bikes is an ordeal of superlative degree and what’s the fun getting out unscathed. Lata had the “good fortune” of tasting this real adventure. The incident also infused some team-spirit in me. She wasn’t in condition to ride so she was sent straight to Bondla camp along with a Doctor (Suresh) and a nurse (Kumudini)!

the Birthday party with the open house 'bar' n bar-b-Q!

In the evening, we were jolted by some guys, next to our camp, who were singing Hindi, Marathi n Konkani songs in the maximum possible loudness and crassness a human vocal chord can afford. Curiosity took me there to find out what’s the fuzz all about. I came to know that it was a Birthday cum Retirement party of a Goa Dairy employee. They welcomed me and asked the group to join them; Only Pawan and Dinesh assented.  They offered us Whisky, kingfish and Chicken rolls. We also sang and danced on a couple of Hindi and Marathi songs.

Next> Wave 6: Dolphins, Squids & Kingfish

Wave 6: Dolphins, Squids n Kingfish

(Bondla to Miramar)

On the motorboat with those
jazzy life jackets
Gotchaa !!!
Once we were back at the Base camp we were in a hurry to utilize whatever little time we had together before everyone heads in separate directions. One such attempt was to go for a Motorboat Ride whose USP was “Dolphin Spotting” and guess what, they weren’t lying either. We saw two highly elusive Dolphins making those trademark loops in the water. infact, we were able to capture one of them in our camera as well. And then we saw the luxury yacht of Vijay Mallya, Samara, without him or any of his calendar girls on board! :(
Can u spot hanging pants of Mallya!
Culinary innovation: Squid Pav
The previous night, we also checked out “Mum’s Kitchen”, one of the famous restaurants in Goa. This place is also good for spotting some marine animals …………..right there, in your plate! I spotted some Sqids while Somshekhar and Dhruv spotted Kingfish!

Soon after everyone except me had a flight or train to catch and a hilarious expedition came to an end abruptly. I stayed on to see the ‘Low tide’.

(post-biking days were eventful too, in different under final touches, update u soon! cheers)

I wanna read from the beginning >>