After a jerky night’s sleep on an Indian train, we woke up with puffy eyes and furry teeth. Black tea was being served in little paper cups, breakfast too – scrambled eggs and some kind of bread, but I just couldn’t stomach train food. The black tea was perfect.
We arrived into Madgaon Station a little behind schedule at 11:00am and disembarked and walked out to a slightly cooler climate than what we experienced in Cochin. Steve waited dutifully in line for a pre-paid taxi to drive us to our booked accommodation which didn’t take all that long. However, it was another story getting us to the actual accommodation – finding the place was harder than expected for us and the taxi driver. It was further away from any known activity – shops, beach, anything! and it felt very much out in the sticks. The taxi driver had to pull over on a busy corner and ask people how to get there. We finally found it, albeit a little frustrated and nervous.
It took a while to check in too. We have discovered that getting into the country itself is more straight forward than checking into accommodation! Paperwork, photocopying, signing…and then they pull out oversized guest books that take you back to the 18th Century! Sign here, sign there. It’s driving Steve mad. We sat outside on some garden chairs while the paperwork was being performed. The girls, instantly devastated for not getting instantly connected via wifi upon arrival to our out-there-and-beyond accommodation. It seems to be a common theme but they do finally adjust.
We are staying in 2 bedrooms on the upper level, with a double bed and extra mattresses. The girls wanted to sleep together so they’ve managed to arrange two floor mattresses in the one room. After staying in a dorm room, and then a sleeper train and living very closely to each other, having two large bedrooms to spread out into while we stay in Goa is feeling quite luxurious. It became obvious when checking in to The Goan Courtyard Hotel that the beach and anything we needed to access for our entire stay here was going to be via taxi. But then at least we had accommodation. Peak season and booking late made it difficult. Note: we need to book via Agoda online from now on (rather than Booking.com so we can pay with a credit card rather than Rupee cash as it’s still hard getting our hands on enough cash consistently).
We were exhausted after the train journey, so we chilled at the hotel, ordered a couple of Kingfisher beers and some room service food and the plan was to have a quiet afternoon and take a taxi into the beach area of Colva late afternoon/early evening. I had a little nap, but the girls were playing the a favourite card game called ‘bullshit’ and were quite hyped up about it all. So no nanna nap for them. Steve got a nap too. But as we were ready to head out to Colva, Ash and Dace fell asleep. We got out though and took a stroll down the beach area. It was packed. It was hot! We sat down at one of the first beach shacks we saw and ordered some drinks to try and blend into the crowd.
The cocktail bar shacks along the beach are constructed each summer with wood and then pulled apart in the off season. They’re made of mainly timber floor and roof, a bar area, table and chairs and an outside loo with a lock on it. Good set up for being right on the beach. There are plenty of street, or beach, dogs here too. It was fairly manic on the beach – parasailing, jet skis, bananas, and people just everywhere. The sand is lovely, white and soft and there are ‘litter ladies’ who drag large rubbish bags around cleaning up the litter on the beach. Complete opposite to the port area of Fort Cochin.
And we looked out to the sea. The Arabian Sea. I must have a swim in the Arabian Sea (sounds romantic). Not so sure about getting out there with the crowd though…mainly Indian swimmers who stared at us and approached us for selfies all of the time.
We enjoyed a beer and some soft drinks at one of the beach shacks, and started to communicate with the owner of the shack. Then we strolled back to the taxi area to try and get a cab to the mysteriously located Goan Courtyard Hotel. Our driver didn’t have any idea where the hotel was, stopping and asking locals as we passed by again. It was becoming a groundhog moment just getting to our accommodation. But no one knew where this place was, not even the taxi drivers. We finally called the hotel on the taxi driver’s mobile who tried to give directions to the driver. Let’s just say it was a bit of an ordeal but we finally made it back to the hotel to rest up a bit, shower and dress and get ready to go out for dinner.
We went out to an Indian restaurant with delightful food in the Colva Beach area – Ash had the half Tandoori chicken, Charlie and I shared two paneer dishes with rice, Billie of course enjoyed prawns, and I can’t recall what Steve had. Dacey is enjoying the spring rolls. Charlie and Ash hunted down a taxi driver with a phone to cancel the already arranged taxi, so we were free to stay longer and enjoy ourselves. A great night out costing with drinks approx. 1800-2000 R ($40). We went searching for a cab to return us to the place in the middle of nowhere again!
We met a larger than life taxi driver by the name of Rocque who was short in stature but big in personality. He too took us to the wrong place, as the card that Steve showed him had its sister hotel name written on it. It took us a good while in the dark to find our way home through the myriad of one-way lanes but three-way traffic, and dark twists and turns in the roads surrounded by bushland and not much else. He was a character and Steve being in the front passenger seat got along just fine with Roque as we got lost. Rocque had a slight English accent, and we discovered he had a flat in England and worked over there for some part of the year. He got on the phone to our accommodation, but it didn’t seem to make a difference, and then when we had done another U-turn while cursing the location of this place and had started driving back along the long dark winding road, a car was racing behind us honking its horn. The manager had driven down to meet us where we were show out taxi driver Rocque the way. So then Rocque and Steve stood out front with the Goan Courtyard Hotel manager discussing how difficult it was for anyone in their right mind to find this place. After the chat, Rocque gave Steve his taxi card with number on it and shouted out “I’ll be expecting a call from you tomorrow, I know where this place f&^%$#@! place is now!” Steve slipped the card into his wallet, because we already knew it would be wise to line Rocque up to drive us home from New Year’s Eve party on the beach tomorrow night.
It was around 1am by the time the girls quietened down, did their braids and got to sleep. Another sleep in booked in for the morning so we can all enjoy a big night out tomorrow night together for NYE.