Arriving back in Arambol Beach in Goa, I was surprised by the relatively decent weather. June and July are the heaviest months of rain but I remember a stint last year of 9 days in August when the sun never showed its face. Thankfully that didn’t seem to be the case this time...at least for the first half of August.
I was also surprised that one of the regulars during the tourist season was already here, Juan from Chile. I’ve written about Juan before and he’s quite the character although he does like his “Tooki Tooki” (rum) a bit too much but he’s a very talented musician. Juan greeted me with a warm hug and expressed how this was the first monsoon season in Goa and he was glad to see a friendly face.
A few new foreigners started showing up and one day as I was sitting at a table outside of Cock’s Town restaurant when two Dutch ladies came walking along the beach with their backpacks and promptly sat down with me. Marielle and Maya had walked for over an hour along the beach from Mandrem where their taxi had let them off so they were quite pleased to sit down and have a beer...which was followed by many more over the course of the next few weeks, some of which were over serious games of Carrom or cards. It was nice to have some new company and I acted as their local tour guide. One day we ventured to Old Goa in a sweet retro taxi to check out the numerous churches including the mummified body of St. Francis Xavier. For some fun amongst all of the religious seriousness of the area I made the ladies hunt for the strange painting in one church of a saint receiving a 6 foot stream of breast milk from an angel (see this previous post for a pic of it).
Our sweet taxi ride to Old Goa:
Frances, the incense loving driver who incessantly adjusted his side view mirror:
The church that houses St. Francis Xavier:
The domed church with the strange painting, just in the bottom right:
Checking out the church in Panjim, the capital of Goa:
A well deserved drink back in Arambol:
Juan being Juan charmed the ladies and especially Marielle, so much so that they wanted to get married and asked me to be the priest! (Obviously not a real marriage but something to do for fun). The weather happened to be decent that day so I thought it would be funny to be a “paragliding priest” so I had a short flight near sunset and landed in front of them at Cock’s Town while donning a little white collar around the neck of my Hawaiian shirt. Needless to say everyone was speechless. I performed a little ceremony by the water with the “Power invested in Tooki Tooki” and they were a couple until “death or she leaves Arambol does them part”. Later that night Juan entertained us with a small acoustic guitar concert after a lovely dinner at 21 Coconuts also known as “Chez Phillippes”.
Juan with his priest:
The ceremony begins:
An excited couple:
Marielle and Maya:
Juan puts on a show:
As the Dutch ladies left I met two Swiss couples: Valentin & Sarah and Mirco and Melody, along with a long haired, bearded fellow Sakke from Finland. Many more games of Carrom, cards and a bit of Frisbee ensued. Now living in a modest “apartment” (really a guesthouse room with a TV, fridge and a two stove top burner) I invited the Swiss over for a pasta dinner one night and repeated a week later with Sakke over after Sarah and Valentin left India. Fun times.
Sakke, Valentin and Sarah in a post dinner card game of Halsta:
Sarah taking a shot in a heated Carrom game:
Sarah and Valentin's departure:
Just after Mirco and Melody left the weather turned sour. The monsoon wasn’t finished with us yet. It rained pretty steadily over the next week and a half with one of the first days recording over 40 millimetres in 24 hours.
There’s one aspect I love of travelling ...the lovely people you get to meet and befriend. Thank you all for lots of fun and camaraderie. Travel safely everyone.