Baga Beach: Misty Mornings and Mambo Nights
A Weekend At Baga Beach, North Goa
The noisy café at Not Yet Jazz By The Bay is
not necessarily the best place to start writing about my trip to Goa,
but it seemed like the most convenient place to pen my memories in between
spoonfuls of pasta and sips of fresh-lime soda.
This trip to Goa was very different, first because I
went with three other people I had only met once! And second because
we stayed in North Goa.
I usually prefer the South because the beaches are much
more beautiful and secluded there. But then North Goa is more “happening”
and I really wanted to check out the night life.
We reached Mapusa at seven on a misty Friday morning
and had decided to sink anchor at Baga.
No trouble getting a cab, and a little later, with the
help of (or despite) my broken Konkani we managed to find comfortable
lodgings at the Sea View Resort at Baga beach.
Although it cost a little more than we’d planned
to pay, the place was very cosy.
The high ceilings and tiled roof felt just like an old
Goan home, and our rooms were a stone’s throw away from the beach.
After dumping our backpacks in the room, Patrick, Weibke
and I headed down to the shack in front of the resort for breakfast.
Intriguingly called Monalisa’s Angelheart, the
name and logo were about the only things that distinguished it from
the multitude of little shacks that dotted the beach.
The beaches of North Goa – except for Baga, Candolim
and Sinquerim, are really not my preferred destination for a Goan holiday.
Most of North Goa is lined with rocky beaches like Anjuna
and Vagator that are better known for naked white tourists than for
their white sands.
Patrick and Weibke are exceptional people. The sort
of folks who are completely open to new cultures and experiences.
So much, that they’re not even averse to travelling
in the overcrowded second-class compartment of a Mumbai local train
at peak hour. Now that’s an adventure by any standards!
They’re so different from the tourists whose only
experience of India is restricted to the rarefied air of their five-star
hotel and air-conditioned transport.
On our first afternoon in Baga, they decided to take
in a little sun on one of the recliners in front of the shacks.
Since I have to avoid the sun, I contented myself with
slapping on the SPF45 and relaxing in the shade of Monalisa’s
Living in Mumbai is so crazy that it actually takes
me while to wind down. It’s weird at first because you keep thinking
that you have something to do or somewhere to go.
It’s only after a while that it hits me that I
have nothing to do but eat, have a cold beer, lie on the beach and sleep.
Its not surprising that Goa has spawned more poets,
writers and musicians than professionals and businessmen.
There’s probably something about the sea air,
the atmosphere, the languid pace of life, that brings out the creative
side in its inhabitants.
One of my favourite things to do in Goa is pig out on
seafood. I mean, nowhere in Mumbai can you get such fresh, delicious
mussels (fried in rawa, yum), squid and pomfret?
To me the seafood in Mumbai reeks of lead, cadmium,
mercury and all the foul stuff that the industries there pour into the
sea (not to mention the untreated sewage, yuck).
But in Goa, the fish always tastes fresh and delicious.
I got Patrick (the only other person in our group to eat meat) to try
out the Chicken Xacuti, which he claimed was “perfect.”
It’s hard being a vegetarian in Goa, unless you eat fish. Too
bad for Saurabh, our co-traveller.
After a few hours in the sun, Patrick and Weibke were
good and roasted. Patrick actually got sunburnt, poor guy.
That day we were too tired from our bus journey to check
out the party scene, so we went for a walk down the beach late in the
evening and stopped off at a shack called Drop Anchor.
The restaurant was built at a height of about 10 or
more feet above the beach. The décor there was a confused mix
of low sofas in North Indian style and curtains with an Oriental motif.
We were offered a hookah but declined.
The tide was coming up as we walked back to our little
rooms after dinner. We sat on the beach for a while enjoying the cool
sand beneath our feet, till a rather large wave nearly wiped us out
and had us rolling with laughter at our encounter with a “mini-tsunami”.
I woke up when it was still dark and early the next
morning – an unusual occurrence for me. Got out my digicam and
decided to go for a walk on the beach and take photos.
It was a cool, pleasant morning
with none of the chill of winter. I enjoyed
exploring the beach in the early morning light. The sun was just rising
above the coconut trees while the moon hung like a lantern over the
To Be Continued...