Wednesday 22 February 2012

Goan to the next place

Sorry, I couldn't resist a good Goa pun. Well, I say 'good'.

Anyhow. We've been here in Palolem for the last couple of nights. It's another place you never need to worry about booking ahead. Go for a walk along the beach and you'll practically be assaulted by the number of people offering rooms. We stayed in a 600 rupee per nigh CoCo Hut, which was over our budget, but we were exhausted from the train journey and the owner was nice.

We stayed in a little place called 'Flavias Paradise'. She was nice, when she was trying to sell us the room. After we had paid she turned moody and surly to me. Perhaps she's just not a morning person. The room was boiling during the day and freezing at night, the bed felt like it was going to break if we lay in the middle, and the toilet took 7 attempts to flush. Overall, a 3 out of 5. 2 stars for location and cheap breakfast, and another star for it being quiet and the security outside in the evenings/night.

I'm thinking of making a little webpage for budget hotels in India, type in the amount you paid, location etc, and your rating plus maybe a comment. I'm sure many exist out there already though, and half of the fun is being able to walk along the beach and find your own place for the night. I'll think about it.

We've eaten at a few restaurants along the beach now, and have become quite well known with the very friendly people at Ma-Rita and the Neptune Point Restaurant next door. Cuba, further along the beach, was overpriced and the food was pretty awful. Best cocktail I had was an extra strong Mojito at an open bar at the far northern end of Palolem beach. Cost 150 rupees. Can't remember the name sadly, it's not very well advertised, but it's the only place offering a 'strong mojito', so give it a chance. Still has nothing on the Mojito's from Fish D'Vine in Airlie Beach, but not bad for the cost.

The Internet Cafe at Neptune Point is surprisingly fast, quicker in the mornings than the afternoons. About 40 rupees an hour, you'll find a few friendly guys inside who (if you know anything about computers) will ask endless questions on a variety of topics. Lovely atmosphere.

For money exchange, I found a small shop on the road behind the beach offering the best price in town (48 rupees per dollar at time of writing, better than the beach ones). Just walk through any of the resorts to the road, then head south. It's a small local shop, but I suggest you check your change correctly, it looks a little shady. Might just be my paranoia.

So far, we've yet to feel threatened or worried in any way. Everywhere seems quite secure, and while I'm aware I may be falling into a false sense of security, everyone seems cheerful and quite normal. The worst we've had is being royally screwed over by the shop owners, who are very good at getting some extra cash out of me. I really suck at bartering... I have a feeling the shop owners in Varkala are still cheering from that few days I spent there.

Anyway, it's mainly been feet up, sipping on beer, chilling out here in Goa. Eating seafood under the stars and downing cocktails. All in all, spending too much money, so we're moving on today, after just a couple of nights in Palolem. Onto Panaji, the capital, and I want to see Old Goa. After that we'll hit up the northern beaches, I believe Angolem (or something similar, I've developed something of a mind block for the placename) for a few nights, before heading inland to Hampi. Someone told me that there were more water sports up north, so I have my fingers crossed for a Dart 16 on the beach available to rent. Aya shakes her head in confusion when I start fantasizing of sailing, she just doesn't know what she's missing.

Right, that's about it for now. I'm working on finding a 'follow' link for the blog which I can post, so you can get an email or something when I write something new. As ever, thank you for reading, your feedback is appreciated and please pass on the link to others!


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