|Vagator beach. Not what I would call a hotspot of activity.|
So I took a motorbike taxi to the bus stop in Arambol, managed to hoist my bags on board the local bus and off we went. The trip to Siolim took about 40 minutes and I then lucked out in getting a proper taxi for quite an ok price to take me to Vagator which I still thought to be an Arambol-like village of some sortst. Little did I know... I hadn't done my research, but I went with the assumption that a beach is a beach and along the said beach there will be guest houses. Well, as the taxi dropped me next to the beach, I found out that I was wrong. There was absolutely nothing going on in the north end of Vagator beach, accommodation-wise. Or otherwise either, as far as I could see. If you weren't a cow. They seemed to be enjoying themselves.
So, boiling midday heat, and trundle trundle back the beach road I went. I checked out 3 places before settling on one 500 rupee room with an internet connection a couple of steps away, next to the rooms of the family who were running the place. Not optimal, but it was only for 2 nights and I had zero interest in going a millimeter further with my earthly belongings which seem to get heavier every day. I almost splurged on the neighboring hotel with 1100 rupee bungalows with a/c and your own fridge and looked nicer than I even remember a room could look like, but I still managed to talk myself down from taking it. I figured that if I can still bear the idea of a 500 rupee place without wanting to scream, then I should go for it. I'm sure there will be a time when that ain't so any more, and the extra budget will come in handy then!
|Vagator beach. No beach side guesthouses in sight.|
So, scooter! Vroom off I went to try and scout a place for lunch. I was starving by that point, so I parked at the first place where there seemed to be at least some people (although mainly enjoying midday beers and conversing with their iPhones), the Mango tree. A fish curry on the menu was only 100 rupees, so I should've known that it won't be anything special, but still when the bowl of red soup with a sad little fish cut in half was served, I wished I was back in Arambol. The soup itself didn't taste of anything except chili and the fish was nondescript and bland and just generally off-putting. I did eat the small amount of meat that I managed to strip off the bones of the poor thing, but the meal was really the worst I'd had since I arrived in India. Folks, beware!
Luckily then my Israeli friend Ito called and I walked along the beach to meet him at Shiva place in the south end of Vagator beach. In that end there were a couple of beach restaurants and quite posh looking resort complexes along the hills, so at least I'd found the place where the beach accommodation lives. Looking at them now, I'm glad I didn't find them before, since there was no way I could've afforded these places, but exhausted from carrying my bags around, I might have caved in. So yay for Reshma Guesthouse's colourful 500 rupee room! <3 Shiva place was nice and chill and I had a decent plate of Chinese sweet and sour veggies. So, food problem solved for a while.
And the following morning I felt quite ok, so my scooter and me went on a little adventure. Driving around Vagator and Anjuna and trying to figure out the lay of the land, consulting Google Maps every which way. I managed to find a nice organic restaurant called Blue Tao near Anjuna and had a really nice and filling tofu scramble with a massive side of brown rice for breakfast. It felt wonderful to be on two wheels again and free to go where I wished. I took detours and small roads, and found out that all the lines that look like roads on the map really aren't. Google Maps, you lie. More like a jumble of boulders, many of them. And if a sign says a bridge is closed and you should take a detour, it doesn't mean that's true. Just follow the other scooters and you'll find a way.
|Tofu scramble, Blue Tao style|
|Scooting along and admiring the landscape|
|A random temple. India, I love your colours <3|
|This bridge leads to a restaurant with nice psytrance but not a scooter-friendly connection to the main road.|
As I missed the party on Friday I'd made plans to go to the Arpora Saturday Night market in the evening and then continue on to the Bamboo forest party if I felt good enough, but yeah, you can guess how it went. Around four the fever was back with a vengeance. And after a couple of paracetamols did absolutely nothing for the 38.0 temperature I decided that instead of shopping in Arpora I would go to the hospital and get myself some really nice bloodwork. A girl has to spoil herself once in a while, no? It was an interesting feeling actually: on Friday I was way more panicky about the 37. something temperature I had. Now, as I sat in Natti's Naturals, another wonderful restaurant recommended by Hippie in Heels, I just accepted it all. Ok, no need to panic, no reason to fight. This is how I feel now, and I know where the hospital is, I have a scooter, so let's just get there and get this over with. Of course I hoped I didn't have anything serious (denguemalariatyphoidfeversomething) as I was about to start by tantra yoga retreat the day after (non-refundable), but somehow I had also made peace with whatever was coming.
I only wish I had felt better to enjoy the food to the full, but still in my feverish state the lemongrass cooler and veggie burger with gluten free bread (!) was nice. The menu in Natti's Naturals looked pretty amazing and they also had a cute boutique offering everything from yoga clothes to food items and cosmetics which would have been wonderful to explore. But not in this fever zombie state...
St. Anthony's hospital looked kind of worn down and oldish, and I really didn't cherish the idea of staying there for any longer period of time. But I did get my bloodwork done with good news: no dengue, malaria or typhoid fever! Wohoo! The doctor prescribed me 3 days of ominously sounding Nazi 500 antibiotics and an anti-parasite pill. In Europe I would have been hesitant to take the antibiotics, but here, I just wanted to get rid of whatever that was ailing me. The antibiotics were for "the cold" I had (sinus and forehead pressure was there full force), but they might have also done something for the bug in the stomach I was pretty sure I had.
|Good news in a newspaper bag|
So, the 2 days in Vagator weren't like I'd planned (surprise surprise) and I really wished I'd stayed in Arambol till Sunday. But this was the way it went this time. And on Sunday I took a taxi to South Goa, a really off-the-beaten-path beach Galgibag and Shri Kali ashram.
And I am loving it here. Really really loving it. I feel good, it is quiet and peaceful and in the middle of nature and just wonderful. But stay tuned for the next post where I'll get into more detail!