It’s New Year’s Eve and we’re in the Indian party state of Goa. The girls made up for their lack of sleep and slept in until 11:30am this morning. This puts us in good form to last the whole night out in the Colva Beach area for dinner, drinks, fireworks and a late night party on the beach.
We ventured downtown via taxi to grab some breakfast. We were dropped off down town at Colva and looked for a place to enjoy a spot of late lunch. We walked to the beach area and returned to the beach shacks but they were mainly geared up as cocktail bars for evening party goers and the price for food was pricey for the six of us. The preferred plan for brunch was to walk back up to the main taxi drop off point to the main street and find somewhere to sit and enjoy food. The girls were hot, tired and complained. We were arriving a little late for breakfast, at 1pm so brunch was off the menu at many places which created more complaints and whinging. Not many places here have all day breakfasts like we were used to in Cochin. But we discovered the desserts menu which had crepes so Dacey and co were happy. Unfortunately, the older two decided to order pasta dishes – Bolognese and carbonara – and now that Charlie has decided to follow a pescatarian diet, she asked for no ham (aka bacon) but it came with streaky ham/bacon in it. She didn’t really like it that much anyway, so lesson learnt – order food that the country is known for. Billie ordered prawns as a starter (she was happiest) while Steve’s been enjoying fried rice dishes in India (who would have thought fried rice in India)? I ordered a simple cheese and tomato toasted sandwich with a café latte (yes I found a decent coffee). And the coffee was good too (I’ll be back).
We called both our parents via Messenger – first Sue & Baz and then Rob & Pete. We called them knowing Australia was 5 ½ hours in front of us in India with celebrations for NYE underway while we were just grabbing a late brunch. It still amazes me that even with weak café wifi signal in India, we were able to video chat with each other via this app on my iPhone. It was good chatting to them and wishing them a happy new year.
We let the girls walk off from us for a couple of hours to do some shopping down the main street of Colva. I also did a spot of shopping, and purchased an elephant patterned kaftan and some light material long and wide Indian pants. I felt like an Indian Princess with the kaftan on – Steve thought I looked old and didn’t particularly like it! It was about that time that Steve decided to go off on his own as shopping is not his calling at all while I met up with the girls at our designated meeting time and place and took them back to “my ladies shop” where the girls purchased some clothes with their money from Nanny & Poppy for Xmas. We also bought some toe rings and silver anklets. During this time Steve was walking on his own around the beach with my camera, meeting some of the local lads who wanted to get a photo with him. He had some beer with one lot who had started early on the NYE celebrations with a box of beers on the foreshore. They asked Steve to join them and took a whole lot of selfies with him.
After shopping and wandering round, we hit the beach for a quick dip in the Arabian Sea, but got inundated, actually hounded, for selfie photos on the beach. We were obliging at first, and then it quickly started getting out of control with a large group of men demanding photos with all of us. It got so bad that a local couple on the beach came to our rescue and assisted us by talking to the young men and telling them to leave us alone, and then giving us some sound advice to not let anyone take selfies with us because it draws more and more people to us. It certainly gave us a taste of what life is like for the rich and famous – autographs and photos all the time wherever they go. The local couple said to say no to photos, because the local Indians who have come to Colva in their numbers just won’t stop.
There was one young Indian man (not sure he was all there) standing near Ash on the beach and I could see he had an erection through his bathers! We finally got rid of the Indian crowd, and tried our luck taking a dip in the sea. Charlie, Ash and Billie would not venture in, so they stayed on the beach with our belongings and unfortunately the weirdo Indian with the erection followed me, Steve and Dace into the water and just stared at us. Needless to say we didn’t stay all that long in the Arabian Sea at that moment.
Then it was back at the taxi area where the girls (Charlie & Ash) hunted down another driver with a phone to contact Rocque to pick us up and take us back to the hotel, but he couldn’t make it there for another 20 minutes, so I said to Ash tell Rocque to pick us up at 7:30pm from our hotel instead. We would risk getting lost again in another taxi back to the hotel now. We did get lost. Same same.
We had showers back at our hotel, put on our nice NYE clothes and met Rocque downstairs to head out to Colva Beach for NYE. Charlie has her GoPro charged and ready to record. The first thing we noticed was the amount of people walking down towards the beach area from the main road. Police had closed sections off, and there was a lot of congested traffic, parked further back while pedestrians used the road as thoroughfare to the beach. It was certainly a sight to witness and looked like a swarm of people slowly choking the beach. At one point we walked against the flow of foot traffic to reach an atm which was hard going and required quite a bit of effort to stick together. There are still problems here with getting cash – 2000 Rupees at a time. Hard to plan anything touristy because we are uncertain we will have enough cash to pay for it.
Steve had found a nice restaurant facing the beach further along from the cocktail beach shacks to have a special NYE dinner, but it was a fair walk along the soft sand. A few complaints but we made it. Tables and chairs were set up on the actual beach with tea lights glowing on each. We stayed there for drinks, and remained there for dinner. The proprietors looked after us well, making sure none of us got in any harms way with the Indian folk drinking and playing on the beach. An elderly man approached our table selling lanterns. Charlie bartered him down to 100 Rupees each for 6 lanterns. The goal was to light the lanterns altogether – one each – and send our NYE resolutions or good thoughts for 2017 up with them. After some time, we finally worked out how to light the lanterns which was tedious, and then we waited for the heat to expand the lantern filling with hot air and then we released them into the black night sky. It was magical as we each released our lantern sending out a wish for 2017. Not sure if the girls did have a wish, the 3 oldest said they didn’t because it was hard getting the damn thing lit, but Dacey shared with me that she sent a wish to her pets back home Oscar, Fudge and Miss Kitty and kissed the lantern before letting it go. It was adorable until she cracked it with Billie because Billie could see that Dacey’s lantern was about to skim on the water. So Billie assisted her sister’s lantern up into the air…Dacey went dark and stayed alone down near the shoreline while we sat at our table in the sandy area. The waiter of the restaurant approached me telling me to get her to come back up because “not safe for her down there”. I finally coaxed her to come back and sit with us at the table, and she shed some tears because she was missing our pets back home.
All of our lanterns went up into the night sky except for poor Charlie’s lantern. She released her lantern too close to the shoreline and the rolling waves and we watched while her little orange flame extinguished into the water. She needed to start the releasing further back on the sandy part of the beach and run with the lantern with hands feathering it upwards to get air underneath it. She didn’t complain, but instead joked around that all her dreams and hopes for 2017 were now doomed!
On a more positive note, we all enjoyed a scrumptious dinner – tandoori chicken, butter chicken, prawn masala, and salmon with servings of naan bread and rice. It cost about $50 with drinks (beers and a couple of gins and soft drinks). It got quite cool sitting on the beach, so we paid the bill and walked back up to where the main activity was occurring and sat at our cocktail bar. We watched the beach swell with out of towner Indians, while restaurants remained empty. It’s the common occurrence thanks to Bollywood films that showcase Goa as the place to be for Indian parties and holiday makers. Apparently they come to Goa to party but not to spend any money which isn’t supporting the local economy – café owners are begrudging towards them as they bring in their own food, drinks and sit on the beach and cause trouble.
The remainder of our New Year’s Eve @ Cocktail Bar looked like this:
- We watched the fireworks and amateur hand-held fireworks occurring on the beach from the platform and safety of the cocktail bar (along with many others), and were warned by the cocktail staff not to go down onto the beach for our own safety.
- The beach was a mass of mainly men, many drunk, and it was so dark (no lights on the beach except for the glow from the cocktail bar’s lights) which meant Charlie’s GoPro footage didn’t turn out as good as we thought it would.
- Meandering through the beach crowd afterwards (and keeping two teenage daughters within our grasp) and meeting our taxi driver Rocque at the designated time was our priority.
- Overall a very interesting NYE experience on the beach of southern Goa.
- Thank goodness we had a taxi driver who knew where our accommodation was located tonight!