August 5th-7th, 2013
Last year in September I met a fellow Canadian who has been living in Hong Kong for the past 5 or 6 years. Sev is a first officer with Cathay Pacific Airlines and was on a 48 hour layover between flights in Bangalore so he came up to Goa for a few days on the beach. We hit it off right away and on the day before he left I took him for a tandem paragliding flight. It was great fun to take a pilot of a large plane complete with stewardesses for a flight in my “little 2 seater”. I let him take control for part of the time as I obviously had full confidence in his knowledge and understanding of the principles of flight and we flew for over an hour and we both really enjoyed it.
In early August I received a message from Sev that he had another layover, this time in Hyderabad, and that he was returning to Goa. I warned him that the weather would not be as agreeable as it had been the last time as August is still monsoon time, albeit starting to taper off. This did not deter him and by chance, the day he arrived happened to be the nicest day we had had since the monsoon started in the beginning of June.
On the first day we hung out at 21 Coconuts restaurant for a few sunny afternoon beers, returned there later to satiate Sev’s hankering for a fish curry and then finished the night off with some pool on the cruddy table next door at the Seahorse.
The next day, with the weather still being relatively kind, we decided to rent bikes to go for a little tour. My usual source for the rentals didn’t have any so we had to wait for an hour or so until a few were sourced for us: a motorbike for Sev and a scooter for me (I had recently hurt my toe on my left foot slipping on my stairs so gear shifting a bike was not an appealing idea). During our wait the weather was decent as we ate breakfast on the beach but sure enough, as soon as we got the bikes it started to rain.
Live To Ride...
Ride to Live!
We rode over to Kerrie Beach and then hopped on a small ferry to cross the river to the small toehold of Goa on the other side. Even though I’ve been here for a few years, I had yet to make this crossing so it was new territory for both of us. Our destination was Fort Tiracol, a small Portuguese stronghold to protect the entrance to the Tiracol River.
"Don't pay the ferryman, don't pay the ferryman...until he gets you to the other side." - Actually it was free anyways...
Disembarking...somewhat of a free for all:
Arriving at the fort, we were greeted by two very bored security guards. One guard told us that the hotel was closed but the fort was open. We didn’t even know there was a hotel there but one has been built into the one of the inner courtyard buildings. The friendly guard had one of us sign in a book where we realized why these guys were bored as we where the 5th and 6th people to visit that day, and it was already 3pm. We wandered around all that we could but were finished within 10 minutes as there wasn’t a whole lot to see although the views back to Kerrie Beach and the ridge where I paraglide a lot was beautiful.
Walking up to the entrance:
Into the courtyard:
Which is protected by Jesus:
Sev up on the rampart, the yellowish building is the hotel:
The view back to Kerrie Beach and the ridge that I paraglide:
Hopping back on our bikes we ventured towards the border of Maharashtra hoping to go another 7 kilometres to Paradise Beach but there was a police blockade preventing us from continuing unhindered. Policemen seeing two foreigners on bikes at this time of the year would see virtual money signs above our heads. All they’d have to do would be to ask us for our drivers’ licences and they’d find some problem with them and want baksheesh (a bribe) of around 1500 rupees each ($30). We decided it wasn’t worth the risk so we rode back to the ferry. The crossing takes all of 5 minutes but we happened to arrive at the workers’ lunchtime as we waited for almost an hour until we got underway, which wasn’t all bad as it rained during this time and we would have been soaked if we were riding at the time.
Returning back to the Arambol area it was time for a late lunch so we went to a fancy place called Riva which turned out to have a limited menu but it was still tasty although that night I made pasta at home for us and I think I preferred that meal!
The next day it was back to work for Sev and so my third “2 day visit by a Canadian friend” this monsoon season came to a close. Great to see you again Sev...and keep yer stick on the ice!