As I was getting ready this morning I had an epiphany. I wanted to do a solo trip not because I find it difficult to keep pace with my friends. It is the other way round. I sense that my friends, god bless them, sometimes have to be on a schedule just so that I don’t raise hell. My idea of a vacation is exhaustion and doing all possible ‘touristy’ things. I loved the movie Don starring SRK because the Don was not caught in this one. He was the hero as the title suggested and he won the battle of wits, style, and well my heart :D
Similarly, when I am visiting a place, I am a tourist and like to behave like one. I love going on tourist buses, listening to guides, meeting fellow travellers, and buying the most obvious souvenirs. So making most of being alone without anybody telling me they want to do just the ‘off the beaten track’ stuff, I did everything touristy today. I got a seat on a tourist bus to see what South Goa had in store for me.
Our tourist guide for the day was Victor Rodricks. He was funny but also very strict. Thanks to the fear he instilled in us no one, among the 25 odd passengers, delayed the tour at any of the seven spots we covered today.
We began the day at the Big Foot museum at Loutolim village. Big foot reminded me of Castle and his obsession with Big Foot. That was enough to make me happy. It is an interestingly done place with audio guides in front of every installation. However, my being a solo traveller garnered more interest than the description of the lifestyle of the native people of Goa among the fellow travellers.
Lops or Loofah (remember I spoke about her yesterday) wanted me to find a guy and fall in love during this trip. However, so far I have just met uncles and aunties who become extremely protective of me and take me under their wings. Today, my foster parents were a cute senior citizen couple from Nagpur. They had taken part in a swimming competition in Malvan and had decided to visit Goa as well. While walking on the beach, aunty told me that she had won the 3-kilometer beach swim competition (veterans) the day before. Now, this is what I call cool grandparents.
They were very curious to know what prompted me to travel alone. And I was pleasantly surprised that they were not judgmental at all. In fact they were proud of me. Imagine, people I had not even met yesterday were proud of me today.
I got special treatment through out the day. The guides ensured that I was given extra information. Maybe because I had my DSLR around my neck and was actually looking at things rather than just cracking silly jokes. Even at the restaurant where we stopped for lunch, I was ushered into the AC room (with special charges of course) and asked several times what I would like. Recommendations flew from all sides, Victor gave his two cents, so did the waiter, the manager, and the cleaner. I felt like a celebrity and of course I loved every minute of it.
I spent most part of the bus ride listening to my music. I am sure I must have been humming along but no one dared to stop me. One more reason to go solo. Hehehehe!
Fun anecdote: A Marathi uncle trolled a pujari at the Shanta Durga temple. The pujari was busy performing the daily rituals and unfortunately none of the devotees could see the idol and only the pujari’s dhoti-clad butt was visible. Uncle waited, and I suspect that he counted upto 5 (Mississippily), for a few seconds and then started to shout at the top of his voice asking the pujari to move. You had to be there. It was extremely funny. I missed SKT and Sangy then. We would have laughed so hard.
The hour at Colva beach at the end of the tour was magical. Just standing at the beach waiting for the first wave to hit the soles of my feet was an experience I would love to relive again and again. At that moment, whatever little inhibition I had, left me. I laughed out loud. I would recommend this therapy to everyone.
I leave Goa tomorrow. Another journey awaits.
But I leave with a promise to be back. I’ll be back before the year ends with one of my best friends—SKT :D And Goa will be explored anew, in a non-tourist way maybe, with many more adventures added to the list.