Goa was the last stop of our whirlwind two week tour of India. What better way is there to end a trip like this than with three days of beach, sun, shopping, and partying?
We chose to stay in Anjuna, the supposedly new hippie location in between party-centric Vagator and commercialized Baga. It had a low key feel (especially compared to busy Baga), with cows roaming next to night clubs and everything you could need within a short walk to the beach, or in some cases right on the beach. It was the vibe we were looking for, perfect for a short stint but not somewhere I would spend more than a couple of days.
Our time in Goa was meant to be relaxing, so we limited ourselves to one task per day. Our first day happened to be a Wednesday, the day of the weekly Anjuna Flea Market, so this was an easy choice for our one activity. Started decades ago as a gathering of hippies selling their possessions to raise enough money so they could stay in Goa, the market has since grown to be a main draw for tourists.
Massive doesn’t even begin to describe it. We wandered in and around this market for hours, getting lost in stalls of scarves, jewlery, clothes, incense, spices, and all sorts of trinkets. It was an easy place for Kwaz to finish up her souvenier shopping and I finally gave in too. I’ve been good about not wasting money or precious backpack space on souvenirs, but when I saw the Tibetan Yak Wool shawls I couldn’t resist anymore. I was first introduced to these beautiful pieces at Shambhala and was jealous of my friends who got them, so when I found a pattern that was nothing short of awesome and haggled it down to a price half of what they were in Thailand I just had to have it. By mid afternoon the market reached swealtering heat levels so we beelined to fresh air and lounge chairs on the beach. Beach, finally! And what goes better with beach than beers and gold fried calamari? Nothing? That’s what we thought too. Day 1 success.
The next day our one activity was the beach. We had breakfast at one of the restaurants right on the beach then moved next door to the lounge chairs at Jack and Jane’s, where we spent the next few hours loving their mojitos and their soundtrack (70’s throwbacks and some rock jams, a nice contrast to the trance everywhere else). The water in Goa is so warm and calm; there was no convincing myself that it wouldn’t be as cold when I got in, or waiting for a set of menacing waves to pass by, it was easy just to walk in and float under the sun. We swam, we chatted, we read, we napped – Kwaz and I and our new friends Raul and the Germans – and felt like we were really on vacation.
The last day we got a late start; around 1 pm I believe. But what do you expect when you get home at 8 am? Our one task for the day was a little different than the previous two days: we were going to get tattoos. Kwaz and I had talked about wanting new ones and possibly getting them together in India, but I think we were both not convinced this would actually happen until we found ourselves sitting in a tattoo parlor in Baga as they put the stencils on us. It was our last day together until who knows when and, even though our tattoos are individual to each of us, they will still be permanent reminders of our trip and, more importantly, our friendship. We were both so happy with the results and highly recommend Krish Tattoos to anyone thinking about getting one in Goa. Kwaz got an outline of India on her wrist, beaufitully drawn in an elegant thin line, which I will not explain the reasons behind (explaining a tattoo is for each person to decide themselves) but I will say that it is so fitting and I’m so happy for her for getting it. I got my trip commemorative tattoo, the one I knew I would get when I left but had no idea what it would end up being, hoping that the right design would come to me at the right time, and it definitely did. I love it. And I will explain it in a separate post.
We celebrated our new tattoos with glasses of wine and a repeat dinner of our favorite meal from our favorite place: gimlettes and chicken vindaloo with jeera rice and naan. This chicken vindaloo is the spiciest thing we ate in all of India in the best way. Freaking delicious, we couldn’t get enough of it (obviously since we had the same thing two nights in a row).
Kwaz left the next day. I still had a full day in Goa before I left on a night bus for Hampi, which I spent taking care of business and eating leftover vindaloo in the hostel. It felt strange to be in India without her. We may have gone 8 months without seeing each other but as soon as we were reunited it felt like just a week. It can be challenging to travel with another person for 2 weeks straight no matter how good of friends you are, especially in a place like India, but it never was with Kwaz. In fact two weeks didn’t feel like enough. Which is why, when I got a WhatsApp that due to a bad connection she had missed her flight home and was stuck in Delhi till Monday, the first thing I did was look up flights from Goa to Delhi to go hang out in the hotel with her till she could actually leave. I didn’t end up ditching my Hampi plans for my best friend and a pool, which in the end was probably the right decision for me, but damn was I tempted.
Kwaz, I know that you’ve wanted to go to India forever, and whether I was the excuse to see India or India was the excuse to see me, I am just so happy you came and had a great time traveling with you, even if India was a two-faced bitch sometimes.