● For full details on our route, transport info, hotel details, etc, look at our Google Maps page

Sunday, 19 April 2009


1st – 19th April

Legs 15 & 16 – Arambol to Anjuna to Palolem
Distance – 20kms / 93kms

Time – 45mins / 2 hours

Average Speed – 26.7km/h / 46.5km/h

Road – All good condition in Goa

Smooth black asphalt covers most of the roads in Goa, as one of India's richest states, they can afford it. The NH17 has a bit of a reputation amongst both locals and travellers that we speak to, but it’s really not that bad. Everyone frowns and shakes their head when you mention you will be usi
ng it. The occasional mad bus driver and kamikaze jeep we were prepared for. The western tourists buzzing around on scooters with hardly any clothes on was more of a surprise. As we crossed the state border, we smiled sweetly at the police and didn’t stop to look back. We had heard how the Goan police are notoriously bad at extracting bribes from foreigners, even if all your papers are in order. Sam still managed to get a photo of the ‘Welcome to Goa’ sign, but almost fell off the back of the bike in the process.


Soon we were on familiar turf as we rode towards Arambol, where we had visited 3 and half years ago. Ady’s co
ncentration had to increase as we got nearer to the beach resorts. Bikini clad girls on motorbikes were more of a distraction than the usual cows on the road… After much searching, we settled on the same place that we stayed at last time we were here, in exactly the same beach hut. We were amazed it was still there. In a great location on the beach, but a stressful 15 minutes of dead end paths before we found the back entrance for bike access! A red faced Ady unloaded the bike and found the hut before promptly running off into the sea to cool off (including his temper!) This wasn’t as easy as you’d think though – the sea in Goa is so warm!!!

Arambol is a favourite haunt of ageing hippies, and a few wannabees off Khao San road Bangkok! Never have we seen so many men in thongs or ‘cod pieces’ and girls with hairy armpits and shaved heads. Did someone forget to tell these girls the only way to get rid of dreadlocks is to shave them off?! Shame they couldn’t use the razors on the armpits… On our first day on the beach, we observed a young girl strip to her bikini and lay in the sun for some time. She then sat up and took off her top and spent just a little too long rubbing sun cream into her boobs. After a while she pranced into the sea, wearing only a thong bikini bottom. When she emerged from the sea, the thong was off an in her hand and her neat ‘Brazilian’ was in full view to everyone on the beach…

Russians also seem to flock to Arambol now too, as we saw
no end of fake breasted botox laden women, who acted like porn stars on the beach, posing for provocative photos and prancing around hoping people were looking at them. They had a total disregard for local customs too, sunbathing topless on the beach and wearing bikini bottoms that didn’t leave anything to the imagination. Some of the locals who were talking to some English girls we met said how they thought it was very bad. Ady managed to gather some evidence of these inappropriate incidents on camera (photos available for a small fee ;-)) Contrary to what many people will tell you, Goa is still very much India unless you visit and stay on the beach only, then it is more than possible to forget where you are. As a result, peoples behaviour is often far more risqué than you would expect in India.

We did meet a number of normal people, Alex and Adam from Canada and Sweden who se
emed equally relieved to see some other non dreadlocked westerners. James, from the UK and a fellow Enfield rider, has been in Goa since January. He is a vet and was volunteering at the local animal hospital, neutering the many hundreds of dogs in the area which are notorious for their antisocial behaviour. It seems to be working as the dogs are far less aggressive than the last time we were here. Perhaps this tactic could be taken back to the UK and applied to people who go out drinking at the weekend and end up fighting in the streets!

The Saturday Night Market at nearby Anjuna is popular with tourists holidaying in all of Northern Goa. We rode there along with James and Adam to catch some live entertainment and have a look around the stalls. We had been to the market the last time we were in Goa, but the market had changed beyond all recognition. Brightly lit stalls, the majority of which were run by westerners, were selling handmade one off design clothing and accessories – a far cry from the numerous sarong and spice stalls that we remembered. The customers had changed too. We spotted very few Indians, it was rich western tourists all round, happy to pay extortionate prices for the food and drinks that were on offer – it was almost too much for Ady as he tried to buy some water and was charged 30 rupees for a bottle that would cost 12 outside the market!!!

A special mention must also go to the Russian contingent at the market. One girl wore an outfit of the hottest hot pants and platform heels which we all agreed wouldn’t have been appropriate in any environment outside either the bedroom or a lap dancing club. Many others wore similar outfits and most couldn’t c
arry them off! The men that accompanied them seemed oblivious to the fashion faux pas and resulting stares however - almost all looked like they could be members of the Russian secret service and would have no qualms with ‘removing’ a threat.

Entertainment was provided by a number of people, including a mesmerizing act by a French group, consisting of an alternative belly dancer, and a guy who could do some spectacular things with his large (crystal) balls!

The rest of our week in Arambol was spent lazing on the beach and eating in many of the beachfr
ont restaurants. It was difficult summoning up the required energy to move on, but when we eventually did, we weren’t going far!


After our shortest leg of the journey, 20km, we pulled up outside the Anjuna Villa, where we had stayed previously. Sam
popped inside to check out the rooms and the prices while Ady sweated in the heat outside. While waiting, the protective denim jacket – something that we wear whenever we are riding the bike - had to come off. What a mistake that turned out to be… Sam returned with a long face – the prices were way out of our budget so we set off further along the beach to find a room we could afford.

We stopped at a couple of places before settling on ‘A Vivenda’ where we found a nice large room. After carrying all the things to the room, Ady noticed that his denim jacket, along with iPod, was missing. Several trips up and down the road where it must have fell off the bike proved fruitless – not a good start to the day. The main issue was that it took us days to find the right kind of jacket at the start of the trip in Delhi, and getting a replacement was going to be a mission. The thought of riding without something to cover up arms was not something either of us relished. Not to mention the loss of the iPod – at least the bulk of our journey was now over, but we still had several long trains and flights to keep entertained through. A trip to Baga, the main tourist resort in Goa, and a fake Armani shop yielded a new jacket for Ady. It wasn’t as nice as the original, but it should keep the skin on his arms intact should we have any incidents on the bike

The main attraction of Anjuna is the Flea Market, held every Wednesday. It’s a huge site, with stalls selling lots of handmade clothes and accessories. Lots of the traders are westerners – the prices often reflect this. We enjoyed some live music at the café near the market and reflected on how things had again changed since the last time we were there.
The whole thing felt much more commercialised and local traders had been pushed out in favour of westerners.

On the beach during the day, Sam bought some pineapple from one of the friendly beach sellers. She didn’t bargain on the free cow that came with it – before long we were being attacked by the ‘Holy’ animal as it tried to find the source of the pineapple smell!

We didn’t stay long in Anjuna for two reasons. 1 - Sam counted 20 cockroaches in our room. 2 - Sam counted 20 cockroaches in our room. Actually we knew the next stop, Palolem, was our favourite beach from our last visit to India. The next day we loaded up and headed further south to our last stop in Goa.


Our favourite beach in Goa from our previous visit, Palolem has most things you could want from a tropical beach. Golden sands lined with tall palms, warm water, enough life to be fun without being overcrowded and a good selection of places to stay and places to eat. It was busier than when we last visited, and for this reason we’ll say no more – we don’t want it to become overpopular! Lonely Planet labels the beach a ‘Tropical Glastonbury’ and to some extent this is true. This suits us just fine – like the infamous festival, Palolem attracts a fairly cool bunch of people who come to camp out under the stars, this time in bamboo huts rather than canvas domes.

We spent 9 nights here, and didn’t do much apart from lounge around, top up our tans, visit some surrounding beaches and enjoy not being stared at as much by the locals - infact the locals are more than used to scantily clad girls in bikinis, it was the packs of gawping weekenders from Mumbai and the like that were more of a nuisance – if you can’t deal strange men taking your photo or filming you on the sly then don’t ever come here! Lets just say lots of “up yours” were being directed their way! Anyway, with a room right on the beach for less than £3 a night, and lots of different types of food on offer, the time flew by.

It took even more effort than usual to pack up the bike and move further south, out of the state of Goa, and on to the depths of south India.

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