There is a refrain that goes as follows: no pain, no gain. In India this is especially acute. Major travel changes for me were easy in terms of connections and timings, but long duration still took up up energy . Yet at the end if the destinations I reached were always so amazing that they covered up all energy losses. Arambol, Goa was not an exception.
The overnight train from Kannur took 8 hours – from 7 pm till 3 am. At first I by accident sat in the ladies’ wagon; I wasn’t the only man there to some reason. I was also told by an Indian man on the platform it’s OK to stay in that wagon. The first 3 hours were a pleasant trip talking to my fellow-passengers: Zirosh, a welder from Kochi, and Khushbu, a young Muslim girl who to my surprise did boxking. At some station, however, the police came over and asked us (men) to move to the general class wagon.
It took us (Zirosh and myself) incredible effort to literally push and squeeze into the wagon packed with people. Needless to stay, we had to stand all the remaining 5 hours to Madgoan, our transfer destination in Goa. People were everywhere, even lying on the floor. There was literally a carpet of people! The climax was achieved with the mix of smells from the toilet, tobacco smoke, and sweet from the bodies all around. Moreover, I wanted to sleep so badly that at points thought would faint. I loved and hated it at the same time 🙂 I’m glad to have had that experience, but don’t wouldn’t want to go through it again 🙂
The long trip to Goa wasn’t over yet. Upon arriving in Madgian we were confronted with freezing cold which we tried to alleviate with hot tea, but with little success. Somehow we waited through 2 hours and headed for the bus terminal. We had to catch 3 buses each, and finally around 9 am I arrived in Arambol, my last destination on the beach in Goa, where I would spend one week. It was 31st of December, so I was just on time for the New Year celebration.
Night train from Kannur to Goa: people are literally everywhere.
The whole thing on the luggage rack is actually a human being 🙂
People are sitting and lying all over the wagon.
And finally Arambol! At first I was disappointed, as the beach looked very tourist and consumerist.
Sand, palms, huts and umbrellas
I went further north, and encountered these beautiful rocks.
And walking even further, found this wonderful Kalacha beach. A different world! The two beaches are close to each other, but are so different.
If you are typical tourist looking for a resort, stay at the main beach. If you need a different experience, still with touristic attributes but with a hippie flavour and a taste of freedom, move to the Kalacha beach.
Sweet Lake from above. The lake has fresh water; it is formed by a mountain stream that I am to explore.
I will be staying in one of these lovely huts all week except tonight.
A bridge across Sweet Lake
Many shades of green
Looks like a temple, but this actually someone’s home.
Spending view from above
And this is my stay for tonight with the Meditation Foundation right on the beach. There was even an option to sign up for the meditation camp and sleep in a common room for free. I considered this alternative, and decided that compulsory meditations from 4.30 till 9 am, from 5 till 6 pm, and from 7 till 9 pm would be reduce my freedom.
Inside the hut you can hear the splash of waves. Simply stunning!
At a restaurant nearby
Sunset is coming
As for the New Year Celebration, it was nothing like I expected. Much better as always.
Nora from the mediation camp invited me for the 8 o’clock dance trance session from 8 pm. I went there totry out only a part of. It was really enjoyable! We were about 10 people dancing with the music that was a peculiar mix of club rythms, traditional Indian, and meditative music. I absolutely loved even though don’t like dancing in general. Whether it was a a great atmosphere, a good music, or both, here I could release myself and have fun.
Around 9.30 pm I went to the main beach to experience the main party. It was a disappointment. First of all, there was no big single party as I imagined. Instead, it was a cacophony of numerous spots playing their own music loudly. People were walking on the beach drinking and smoking. The only thing I enjoyed was watching Chinese lanterns launched into the sky.
Luckily, I had a place to return, so I was back at the Buddha Hall of the Meditation Foundation. I met New Year with the club remix of Abba’s “Happy New Year”. A bit later we were sitting outside, eating bananas and sweet nuts, watching the starts and the Chinese lanters arriving from the main beach, and talking. It was one one of the best New Year’s celebrations ever, if not the best one.
I was falling asleep with the sound of waves splashing against the shore, absolutely tired and happy.
Sunset in Arambol