To the beach!
As soon as the nightmare bus had “safely” arrived in Goa, we jumped into the first taxi we could find, instructed the driver to take us to Anjuna beach, sat back and let out a sigh of relief as we calmly drove through the fields and palm trees.
The taxi let us out at a sort of open dirt road bus terminal. There were several bars and market stalls, tourists and locals riding around on scooters and generally people just having a good time. We still had no idea where the beach was, the driver pointed us in the right direction and off we went. We walked through a claustrophobic market place where every shop owner would beckon you in and tirelessly call for your attention. As we reached the end of the market I felt a huge spark of happiness inside me as the sea and the beautiful Anjuna beach slowly came into view.
We went and sat on the beach for a while, composed ourselves, reflected on the chaos of the night bus and debated what to do next. We hadn’t organised any accommodation yet so that was first on the agenda. Weâ€™d been approached several times already with offers for hotels and huts by the beach as we were walking around with our backpacks. This was a problem; I didn’t want to be hassled constantly and ushered into hotels by scouts patrolling the beach, I just wanted to leisurely stroll down the beach and see for myself in my own time what was available. So, I asked Anna to sit on the beach with the bags whilst I searched around for some digs. I set off down the beach, and it wasn’t too long before the local shopkeepers came for a â€śchatâ€ť. Most of the stall owners are young teens. A boy approached me and struck up a conversation. He started with the same question that ever conversation in India starts; where are you from? Once the reply “England” is said, the very predictable next question is asked, “London, Manchester? This gets really annoying after a while, even more annoying when they claim to have been to, have friends in, and sometimes even lived there. An Indian street magician once tried to convince me that he used to live in Manchester Paccadilly, that’s a train station and he had also been to many other places in the UK, all of which were train and tube stations, he’s obviously just picked these names up from somewhere. But, I was polite and spoke to him as I carried on walking down the beach. He eventually got round to talking about the real reason that he had approached me; his shop that he wanted me to visit, surprise surprise. He had completely left his shop behind as he followed me down the beach. I told him that I didn’t have the time right now as I was looking for somewhere to stay. This was a mistake of course; Indians are very opportunistic people and this was an opportunity for him. He instantly offered to show me some places that he knew were available. If I were to rent one of the places that heâ€™s showed me then he will attempt to collect a commission from the owner. As I followed him to where he was taking me, more and more shopkeepers began to follow and get in on the action. It got to a point where I had about eight teenage boys and girls all begging me to visit their shops. I agreed to visit them later if they left me alone; they didn’t of course. I was taken to several different styles of accommodation from very posh hotels to tiny bamboo huts. I eventually decided on one that was in between; a basic on suite with a double bed and a single bed; we only needed the double but this was the only room they had left and the extra space was nice. The asking price was 1200 rupees a night but I managed to haggle him down to 700. Out of courtesy for the lad that had helped me I went to his shop and bought a cheap bracelet for 50 rupees.