Archive for January, 2010

It was a friday afternoon. Instead of working @ office i was busy dreaming about all the fun and joy i would be having over the next weekend. We (Rena, Vineeth, Bhargav, Mayur, Polls, Enthu, Actually, Tina, Praneeth and myself) decided to meet up in Panjim on 23th and have fun till the 26th of January. Me and Rena started off @ 4:30 and waited for the 5:30 bus at Goregaon. The bus was an hour late and we started off to Goa in midst of heavy traffic.

The bus carried on slowly, along the Western express highway and then towards Navi Mumbai. By the time the bus crossed Panvel (outskirts) we were 4 hours into the journey. Luckily i got to watch the Three Idiots movie, which i was longing to see since two weeks now. The bus tagged along the western coast, moving slowly through the ghats. After 3 hrs of delay we reached panjim at 10 AM.

We went straight to Hotel Ameya, opp St. Enez church, where we booked a dorm (10 beds) for all of us. The bus from banglore that was supposed to be coming at 9 AM was delayed due to some arbit strike on NH17. That meant me and Rena had to spend the rest of the day alone. We rented a bike (splendor) and started off towards the beaches in Panjim. We took turns as we drove on towards Dona paula, a good view point on the outskirts of the city.

I was a beginner when it came to handling geared bikes, and was slowly gaining in confidence as we zoomed past the outskirts. I was coping well with the first gear trouble. We took a few pics at Dona paula, caught a few glimpses of the aggressive movements of the shoal fish, and started our way back to the city. We then kept roaming here and there, before all the others reached the hotel at aroung 5 PM.

All of us then went in search of more bikes, and after a lot of struggle we got 3 pulsars and another splendor. Due to the 4 day break, there were a lot of tourists in search of bikes, and that meant we had to shell out extra cash for the bikes (400/day per bike). Not willing to waste even a few minutes we were on our way searching for beach side weekend parties (:D)

I was lucky enough to get hold of a pulsar, and after all the confidence i had gained during the day, I decided to give a shot at the pulsar. Thanks to Bhargav, who helped me out on the bike, we were out of the city in a flash, onto the NH17 towards Calangute beach, north of Goa.
Driving the pulsar was a thrilling experience, especially in the night. It was not that hard as i had expected and 15 mins into the drive, i was oozing with confidence that i could drive any bike (:P)

After a few stops, enquiring about our destination, we reached Calangute at 9 PM, where we had one of our worssst dinners EVER! We were tired and at around 11PM we decided to get back to our hotel (17 kms) and come back refreshed early in the morning. We drove back precariously, in the chill weather, with the fear of being run down by drunken drivers.

Day 2, started off quite early in the day (11 AM) when every one got ready and had breakfast. We decided to go to the Calangute beach, now in search of adventure sports. We reached Calangute at around 12 Am, not before enthu had a flat tire. We were interested in experiencing all the thrills and frills that the beach had on offer. We first took off on a jet skii. Padded with safety life jackets, all of us went on a ride one after another on a jet skii. It was an awesome experience as the jet jumped along the surface of the water whenever there was a wave. At the speed we were going the ski literally was floating in air just tapping the water as it flew across the raggid waves.

The next ride we took to was called a “bumper ride”. We sat in pairs on circular round tubes and were dragged into the sea, with the help of a fast motor boat. We lay down in sleeping postures as we held on to the bumper by means of 2 handles. Every time the motor boat swayed we hit the waves hard, threatening to put us down into the sea. The entire ride lasted for 5 minutes before we were flung into the sea as the motor boat took a right angled turn.

The ride that followed was the “banana ride”. 5 of us were to sit on a banana shaped balloon and we were taken into the sea on it. It was highly unstable and everytime one lost his balance, he would take all the 5 down with him. We fell down 3 times even before we started off on our way into the sea. Few minutes later we were then down when the boat took a turn. As i slipped down the banana hit me hard on my head. I felt as if i was drowning. The fact that my feet can no longer touch the ground started to frighten me. Then later i realised instead of going down into the sea, i was rising to the surface. I had my life jacket on, and that meant there was no way i could drown. I then felt relaxed and slowly swam my way back to the boat. The way back to the shore was less frightening even though i was feeling very weak and tired.

We then took a 20 minutes break, before we took off roughly 3 kms into the sea on a speed boat. We were then transferred into a para sailing boat. Fitted to its back was a parachute. We took the ride in pairs, as it was a busy sunday evening. Me (back) and polls (front) were the last ones to take the ride. We were all strapped to the parachute and then the boat sped fast flying across the waves. As the boat gained speed we started flying gaining altitude as and when the boat accelerated. From the top we could catch a glimpse of the brilliant Goan coastline. We could see the waves and the rough sea clearly from above. Even before we were done admiring the beatutiful ride, we were pulled back towards the boat. The 2 minute ride was spectacular and thrilling!

We then took off towards Candolim after having our lunch at the Dominoes. We reached Candolim 5 minutes after the sunset. It was a spectacular view, with an old ship docked very close to the beach. We enjoyed the cool evening breeze and took to photography. As usual CR was the centre of attraction, and now with KAKI claiming to give away one of the most honorable gift of the wing to the best pic, there was hectic competition (:P). After the light faded away, we played a game of kabaadi and 2 games of wolf. After we were done we started our way back to the hotel. I was driving the pulsar constantly in excess of 60kmph, sometimes even touching 80 on a very chill night without a jacket on. It was a wonderful experience considering it was only my 2nd day driving bikes :D

The third day began with people voting to go south of goa to the churches and the museums. We started at 11 in the morning after having our brunch. We reached old goa in 20 mins. We saw the museum (not so spectacular) and the three churches. Basilica of Bom Jesus was a spectacular church that contained the body of St. Francis Xavier. We prayed there for a while and then took off further south all the way to Madgoa. We then went to one of the finest beaches south of Goa, the Kolva beach. The ride all the way to Kolva was exciting and fun. We had fun in the shallow waters of Kolva taking good group pics. Not to forget what rena was made on the beach (:D :D ).. ………… SENSORED …………..

We had an an awesome view of the sunset and then started our back to Madgaon. We went to a hotel called Tavir (opp KTC bus stand ) in Madgoan, where i was treated to goan delicacies. Never before i had eaten such awesome fish in my entire life. I strongly recommend people to try out the King Fish Rawa fry and the Irish fish pieces. After a very full meal and a plate of Gajar halwa with butterscotch ice cream, I was full !! and my wallet empty @@ (:D)

The way back was a 30 km ride on the NH17. The road was bad and frightening. All the vehicles with high beams added more problems to the already existing road woes and aweful bike lighting. No matter how hard or how many times i tried dipping the lights, i got no response from the other end. My eyes began to water, and the breeze threatening to blow me away. But me and enthu on the pulsar held on. It was an extremely challenging drive and i was glad at the end of the day that i made it. Just the third day of my life on the bike and i had experienced all sorts of driving conditions. 60 minutes after we started from madgoan we were back to our hotel playing an intriguing game of wolf.

On the final day, we decided not to strain ourself and visit a fort that was just 13 kms away from panjim. We missed the shorter route and then took to a longer route. We all reached Fort Aguada, a 16th century portugese fort. We then took to photography again, until we were tired of jumping around for pics. The view of panaji and the Mandovi river that goes along the city from the fort was awesome. Around 1 PM we decided to get back to panjim and lie down in the park on the banks of the Mandovi river. After lunch, we took a nap on the smooth and fine sands on the river bank.

I finally went back to the hotel at around 6 PM. I was feeling terribly sad, now that i had to leave my friends and go back to work the very next day. We returned our bikes and all of us met at the bus stand. Surprisingly all of us had our busses starting at 7:30 (Whatta coincidence). It was a bad moment for me, leaving all my friends. I was almost in tears, wishing and hoping we stayed back for another couple of days. That was not to happen and 10 minutes later all of us were on our way back to our respective places.

Next day morning we reached mumbai at 7:30AM and when i saw myself in the mirror i was shocked what i had done to my face, I couldn’t recognise myself at the first instance. I had put on so much tan, that all of my friends at mumbai struggled to identify me (:P). It was an awesome 4 day (23- 26th JAN 2010) adventure on the roads and beaches of goa.

I would want to thank everyone (Mayur in particular) in making some time out of their busy lifes and making this a memorable and an exciting trip. Hoping and longing for more trips with you guys in future, I continue my daily life again in mumbai.

Ps: We all missed you, your photography and your comparisions KAKI.

Finally after a very long time i have again started to blog! As a part of my new year resolution to pursue seeing new places and picking up photography i have been to many places in the last couple of months.

Frustrated sitting at home on Saturday, not doing anything we, the three idiots (Synti, Rena and myself) wanted to go to Matheram, a hill station on the outskirts of Mumbai for a day’s trip on sunday. We bought the toy train tickets from Neral (Railways Central line) to Matheram and decided to do the trip on Sunday.

After stupendous support from Rena (who got ready in half an hour!), we could start from home at 7 Am in the morning to catch the 10:15 train at Neral. The journey went on fine till we reached Kalyan Jn from Dadar, where we had to take a different train to Neral. After some struggle and some asking we finally got to the right platform. The train to Khapoli came in a few minutes later, with a typical Mumbai-ish crowd. There was no space for even the back pack to fit, forget myself. We then took a very wise (!!) decision to stay for the next train as we had an 90 minutes to catch the train. None of us actually knew how long it would take us to Neral from there.

We waited on for the next train only to realise that it would not go till Neral and it was to an intermediate place. Upon enquiry we realised there was a next train an hour later. We decided to go to badlapur and then catch some auto to Neral. After reaching Badlapur at 9.30 we enquired about the auto and realised that it costs us 200 bucks and it did not have a direct road access. But there was a train at 10:06 leaving us 9 minutes to catch the train at Neral. Since there were 2 stations between Badlapur and Neral we assumed we could reach there by 10:20 and then we would give it a mad dash hoping the train @ Neral started according to IST (:P)

Unfortunately the train that was supposed to come at 10.06 came at 10:09, that meant we were 3 minutes late already to the revised plan. The toy train does the 21 km trek into the mountainn in 2hrs. So we were still confident of somehow catching the train even after it left by running along side the track (Atleast we kinda hoped so :P ). To all our surprise the distance between the stations was too long that even at around 100 kmph the train took 20 mins to Neral.

We were 15 minutes late to Neral and the train had left, nor was it in our sights so that we could run to catch it. We went to the station master who told us to try taking an auto and chase the train to the next station (jummapatti). We had an outside chance because the train takes 30 mins to reach there and the auto (supposedly) could do it in 15 mins.

Not having any other choice we took an auto and started for jummapatti!! 5 mins into the journey we came to the ghat section where the auto literally started to plead mercy!! The auto at the least gear with full throttle was doing no better than people jogging! Thanks to synti who kept saying more negative things like what if the Auto fell of the cliff! or what if we start going backwards instead of forwards!, we started worrying as to what would happen if the auto started to roll backwards instead of worrying whether we would catch the train.

Link to pics @ picasa

The poor auto decided not to give up and tagged us along the awesome road to jummapatti. 15 mins later as promised by the auto wala, we reached the station right on time before the toy train started its way up the mountains. We were glad we made it to what was an awesome journey up the mountain.

We reached matheran at around 12:30, and after paying 25bucks ! (tax to enter matheran) we set forth for a trek to various view points on matheran. The motor vehicles are not allowed to enter matheran and have to stop about 3 kms away from the hill station. The only mode of transport available other than using one’s legs were the horses. We chose to trust our legs this time and started on our trek.

The roads were full of loose red soil and they smelt bad because of all the horse sh** along the way and when ever a horse galloped past us we had to block our nose to prevent the dust entering the nose. After 30 mins we got tired of all the dust and the horse **it and decided to take paths that led us into the wild. Since we were three we decided to use the rules of democracy when ever we came up to a bifurcation in the path. As all of us were so frustrated to find the wild we took the road not taken unanimously and reached an old bungalow that was locked.

We then got the idea of taking an horror thriller movie starring rena and syntax with me playing the suspense role. 2 hours passed by as we tried various angles and various takes and retakes with synti providing all the action by his awesome stunts!! After some thought we named our movie “EVADER” and very soon we were done with the trailors. Don’t ever be surprised if in the near future a hollywood movie named evader turns up at the theatres. :P

The bungalow had awesome swings where i spent around half an hour while synti was busy climbing what ever he could find. After a maid came and started shouting at us, we finally decided to leave, what was an amazing bungalow. We then trekked all the way to a lake and had some fun there for about an hour. Rena and synti tried some luck on a few games which they lost terribly (:P). I then tried my hand in it and won 2 Dairy Milks.

@Synti: lol max the way you tried those games !!!

After our stomachs started complaining we decided to call it a day and reach matheran. Another 30 mins trek and we were at a restaurant eating our lunch !! After the 90 mins lunch (thanks to rena) we started again for a 3 km trek to catch the road to find a ride back to Neral. Assuming it was just a 30 min walk we started our way back at 6. We dragged our bodies along the train track in search of the road. 30 mins passed by and the sun set leaving us in total darkness. We had no one in front of us, but we kept going on in some hope. Another half an hour passed by and still there was no sight of any habitation.

We started imagining the worse. After sometime we heard a few footsteps and looked back to see some more people. I got a new lease of life, was so happy to see some one behind! We were then guided to the destination in about 15 mins!! Within 5 mins we got a taxi back to Neral, from where we returned home at 10:30, with legs aching bad. All in all it was an awesome experience visiting a place that I hope will remain pristine untouched by vehicles.