Bitten by the Goa bug (1994)

Nothing had quite prepared me for this. The visa office had been a soft introduction to the Indian way, but Bombay international airport was something else. I knew I needed to get to the domestic airport but the map seemed to tell me that I could walk outside and up the road and I would be there. I quickly realised this was not the case. There seemed to be nothing outside the airport to give me any idea where I was. The main thing out there was blinding sunshine and humidity. I somehow found myself in a taxi and the wind coming through the window started to blow the sleep desire for sleep out of my head put there by the long haul flight from England.

I had decided to get a hotel by the domestic airport and the taxi was taking me there, I assumed. When we arrived the driver had no idea and outside it looked just as confusing as the other airport. I said ‘hotel’ and we struck off again along the strange roads. At this new run down looking hotel I finally got out and into a room, asking if they could fix me a flight to Goa as I booked in and handed over some rupees.

I was mistaken if I thought I was going to get some sleep. A chap kept walking into my room as I could not make the door lock work. He kept asking me about my proposed ticket to Goa. Pretty soon I was turfed out of my room, made to hand over too many rupees and out on an ancient bus. Back at the domestic airport I was made to hand over more rupee notes and found myself in the terminal building. Still being a travel shocked tourist I handed over more money to a man to help me do the airport check in system.

Amasingly I found myself on a plane heading for Goa and in an hour and a half I was in another airport building hell. I realised I needed a taxi and was asking for Anjunita, of course the taxi booker had no idea where that was and just quoted a huge sum to me. Still confused I was standing there waiting for something or other and a old traveller chap asked me if I wanted to share a taxi as we were going in roughly the same direction. On board the taxi we set off, the old traveller chap in charge of me and his female companion. It was a pleasant journey through bright sun and palm trees.

The old traveller told me that he would put me on a bus when we got to the place where we would separate. On the bus I wondered exactly what I was going to do when I got to Baga. As the journey progressed an Indian woman addressed me, marking me down as a traveller, and asked if I had accommodation in Baga. When we arrived I ended up at her lodging house and finally got the sleep denied me since the morning.

I found it rather strange staying there and I was paying by the day. I wanted to be in Anjuna and I decided to move from this strange house to a hotel down the road. Once here I started working out how to get to Anjuna. I took a taxi down to the beach and asked around getting a room in a house. Moving here I decided I didn’t like it very much and one night I was at the Rose Garden Restaurant having a meal and asked the chap serving me if they had rooms there.

Pretty soon I was staying at the Rose Garden and the chap I had asked was John the owner. It had taken about a week and a half to get to this point. I realised then that half a week more and most people would be on their way home back to their jobs.

There is more to say, and I had it written out, however that has been lost!