On Sunday morning we left the Nanutel hotel in Margao, for Arambol, by way of auto-rickshaw. The journey was 65km in total and the locals seemed reluctant to go that far. Indeed, upon reaching the rickshaw stand we had trouble convincing the two drivers sat around that it would be a good idea to take us to Panjim; another ‘city’ half way to Arambol. They both argued with each other as to who was to take the fare before the evident loser threw up his hands and invited us into his vehicle. Confusion as to why neither was particularly interested in the journey made way for clarity a few miles later as the rickshaw began to climb a hill with a steep gradient. Dropping quickly through the gears, we resulted in climbing the hill at about 5mph with a queue of traffic forming behind us, overtaking whenever possible, horns blaring as is customary in India.
The journey to Panjim was actually very pleasant as we had chance to see the countryside pass by at a leisurely pace. The rickshaw could only manage about 35mph as a top speed, so we got to observe the locals at the roadside going about their business.
Arriving in Panjim, we stopped for a drink then found another rickshaw stand where we discovered that not all auto-rickshaws are born equal. The next cab was much more powerful and steamed ahead at about 45mph, barely slowing for the hills in way of our destination. As we rounded one hill, we gained a view of the Goan coastline, laid out below us with small villages dotted just a few miles apart, glittering on the shore.
Pulling to a halt at the entrance to the Arambol beach, Khan, the rickshaw driver, turned to us and announced that he could go no further. We got out and paid our fare, then marched off down the beach with our backpacks. Our hotel (the Lotus Sutra) is based right on the beach itself with no access from the road. Checking in, we dropped our bags and walked the short distance back to the road where we found a bar called the Loekie Cafe, The establishment prepared food as well and we ordered some curry as an open-mike night started on the stage. Renditions of old classics, played out on acoustic guitars and harmonicas, filled the evening as the relaxed pace of this seaside village began to work its magic on me and I began to wind down after the long journey.
Arambol itself if full of hippies from all corners of the globe. There were large groups of Israelis, some Germans, French, Spanish and American as well as the odd Brit. The village is full of stalls selling all the lifestyle accoutrements for the counter-culture, and trance music plays out from the various cafes on the beach. Life is pretty idyllic here and we would like to pause for a while before moving south along the coast.
This morning, we decided to find some alternative accommodation closer to the main road. Luckily for us we did, as we managed to find a nice room at half the rate of our existing one! It’s certainly taking a while to get used to the correct cost of things, as they seem to vary wildly from place to place, but we are starting to get the hang of it.
We have been told about a waterfall further up the beach so we are just about to head up there with the camera, to hunt it down and get some shots.