This trip is full of adventures and thankfully good surprises. Last night’s journey was no different. I got a seat in a half-sleeper-half-seating bus. More than one-third of the bus-seats were converted into sleepers. I, fortunately, had the good sense to book a seating seat. In the sleeper seats two people lay down with each other. Now this business of sharing seats was fine till the time you knew the other person but sharing the sleeper seat with a stranger, now that would have been an adventure of a kind I was not very keen to pursue. But I am sure Loofah would have been very happy if I would have indulged in such an adventure!
The bus journey we were told would last 12 hours. However, the driver seemed to be in a hurry and he managed to complete the stretch in 10 hours flat. So instead of reaching Magaon at the decent hour of 7 am, I was on the road at 5 am, way earlier than the sun had risen. I hired an autorickshaw who charged an exorbitant amount. He was not sure where the guesthouse I was supposed to anchor myself in for the next two days was, so in the early hours of the day, he and I went asking anyone who would lend us his ears for the directions.
Finally we reached the Railway Holiday Home. This holiday home is just behind the hilltop that provides a scenic backdrop to the Vasco da gama railway station. The holiday home is next to a tower, giving me a feeling of the towers where princesses were trapped in the numerous fairytales we read as children. The formalities done, I paid the grand sum of Rs. 150 to the caretaker for renting the suite for 2 days (yes! It is very cheap thanks to mum). After settling into the room I went of to sleep. I slept a good 3 hours. After getting a message from SKT that their flight had landed, I sprang into action and had a bath and got ready before SKT and Frooti arrived.
I was looking forward to meeting them and re-connecting with a part of the world I had left behind a week ago. But I was also anxious. The idea of the re-union scared me a little. I felt I had cut-off from the world and frankly, the isolation seemed like a haven, a bubble I did not want to burst so early. Thankfully, I did not have too much time on my hand to brood over these thoughts and soon both of them were here. The re-union was fun and it seemed like I had never left my world.
SKT and Frooti’s opening declaration was that they were hungry. So we decided that it would be best if we all left immediately and attacked Britto’s at the earliest. It took us close to an hour to leave the holiday home and then another hour and a half and a very expensive taxi ride to reach the Baga Beach. The three of us reserved three sunbeds and ordered food with enthusiasm. SKT got her hair braided, I got a foot massage (another one checked from the list Sangy gave me) and Frooti clicked out photos and kept us entertained by her observations/remarks on the other people enjoying the sun on the beach.
Water makes me happy, anytime. But being in water with friends is even more wonderful. We sang songs. I never miss a chance to sing Gulzar sa’ab’s Chhai chhapa chhai when walking on a beach. It was a great way to spend the evening.
For our return to our fort, we needed to hire a taxi. The first taxi driver we spoke to asked us for Rs. 1500. The three of us were so angry at his exorbitant demand that we just walked off and did not even think of haggling with him. The more we walked and spoke to more taxi drivers, the higher the demand for fare became. Finally we ended up paying Rs. 2000 to the taxi driver. Lesson learnt! We will hire a car tomorrow and make use of our driving licenses.