Goa, when it started to feel like Home - Chapter 3

Arambol Beach, Goa

My mind keeps telling me to explore other places, new destinations, explore different cuisines, but my heart keeps telling me to go back to Goa. Not that I don’t love exploring, but I don’t know why, when I think about vacation, Goa is the only place that comes to my mind. Goa to me is like a second home where I feel relaxed, comfortable and satisfied. I love beaches, the serenity, the warmth of the sun and the feel of water and sand on my feet.

I have explored many beach destinations, but the charm Goa has, none of other places could offer that. This time we decided to stay in North Goa, Arambol to be precise. I absolutely hate the crowd but still wanted to experience the stay in Northern part of the city. Arambol was perfect for the kind of vacation I had in mind. Not that it was not crowdy, but still better than most of the North Goa beaches - Baga, Calangute which have maddening rush.

Coming back to my story, we were on the way to the airport in the taxi and I received a call on my phone. Truecaller showed it was Spicejet (my airlines). Without giving much thought I picked up and it was an automated voice message stating "your flight to Goa scheduled for departure at 11:15am has been cancelled as per the notice received from DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation)". I looked at my wife as she wondered about the call. "All Boeing 737 max aircrafts have been grounded" I told her. Boeing 737 max aircraft had met with two unfortunate accidents the previous month and lot of countries/airlines had grounded all these aircrafts. Little did we know that the flight we were about to board was also the same aircraft and now it has been grounded.

We were about to reach the airport and I dialed Spicejet's customer care number to get more details. It was a long wait to get to speak to someone. Meanwhile, we reached airport and it was a complete chaos. Everyone (by everyone I mean people whose flights had been cancelled) was after the ground staff and the airlines counter. No one had any answers and they kept saying that money will be reimbursed. No one wanted the money back, it was not about the money, it was about vacation being spoiled. 

My wife, who can be of great use at such situations 😁 kept poking with the ground stuff but apparently, they also had no answers. Meanwhile I got hold of a lady angel on the Spicejet's customer care helpline. I explained the whole situation and she was way more than helpful than the ground staff. She offered me three seats for 5pm scheduled flight to Goa via Mumbai, but it had a 6 hours lay over. I explained to her that I have a kid along and it will not be comfortable for me to take such flight with layover. After spending few more minutes with her, she offered three seats in 7:30pm departure flight. As of that moment, the 7.30pm departure flight was still scheduled and she was not sure if that flight will be cancelled or not and this will be confirmed by 3pm. While many passengers were still struggling with the ground staff, few of them booked another flight from different airlines. I was still on the line with the Spicejet as she waited for my confirmation to go ahead and book the flight. 

I was in dilemma and didn't want to spoil my vacation. "Should I take the risk? My resume always had 'Risk Taker' in bold. Should I book a flight with another airlines at a higher, much higher cost?". As the lady angel on the phone sounded pretty confident and said that according to her experience there is a good probability that the flight will take off, this gave me some confidence. Risk Taker I am, "please book the 7.30pm flight" I said with fingers crossed. 

It was 10am in the morning and next 9.5 hours were the most difficult. Moreover the thought that one whole day has been wasted by just sitting in the airport with the dilemma in mind that whether I will be able to reach Goa today or not?

Meanwhile, all other airlines were also full and still many passengers were struggling to book via ground staff. We on the other hand, were bit relaxed but still in dilemma. Finally it was evening and finally were about to board and I still had my fingers crossed. I will now only relax when the flight will take off. Yay, it finally did! Tired, we all slept thinking about how good next few days are going to be.

Finally, we landed at Dabolim airport at 10:00 in the night. We called the taxi driver from the hotel and waited for few minutes for him to arrive. Soon, we were on our way to our Hotel to Arambol which is two hours drive from the airport. The moment we reached, we crashed onto our beds and slept like babies (one of us was a baby). 

Arambol Beach

Next morning, we all were energized and after breakfast, we left for the beach which was just a minute's walk away. Yes, this is the vacation! We all forgot about the last day's chaos and soon jumped into the waters, made sand castles, lied on the sunbed and cherished beer and fish until it started to get hot. Arambol has lot of Shacks along the beach which offer good food and beer at much reasonable prices. 

We returned to the beach in the evening and sat at one of the shacks. It offered various fishes which were a fresh catch and at very reasonable price. I chose tuna and after 30 minutes, it was presented to us with all veggies and sauces. The fish was so tasty and beer enhanced the taste. We took a stroll along the beach in the night and returned back to our hotel.

Next day, followed same routine, just the change of shack in the evening. This was more lavish one with all candle lights and lamp ambiance. Felt magical, however food was not as great as last night but still decent. We enjoyed the ambiance here more than the food. 

Night life at Arambol beach is great. Many shacks had live music, performances going on till late night and there is a market nearby to take souvenirs. My son bought a beach buggy which is lying on my study table bit broken as I am writing this blog 😃.

We followed the same routine almost everyday, except that one day when we hired a scooter. That day we left early to relive few memories. We went back to Fort Aguada (which was closed last to last time we were in Goa), then we were caught by few MBAs who tried to sell us a club's membership and wasted our time. 

Fort Aguada
On our way to Chaopra fort, we stopped at a local restaurant to try Goan Thali. Fish curry made in local spices tasted amazing. 

Chapora Fort

View from other side of Chapora Fort

View of the Sea
We wanted to reach Chapora fort to watch the sunset. Little I knew there were so many stairs. Not that I can't climb, but I wished there was a lift D-uh! We climbed and climbed and a dog joined along, he also climbed with us. As we reached at the top, we were surprised to see crowd already sitting at fort's wall overlooking the sun. 

Sunset from Chapora Fort

We had to settle for less fortunate seats to view sunset. Anyway, sunset was beautiful and a must do thing in Goa.

That night we also had our table booked for Thalasa, one of the most happening clubs of Goa. We were dead tired, yet it was worth a visit. The moment we entered and heard the music, we felt energized. We danced, had dinner, couple of beers and soon we were on our way back to the hotel.

Thalasa, Goa
Thalasa, Goa
Next day we followed the same old routine, that is why I love Goa, even same old routine is beautiful. That is why we come to Goa, to just relax under the sun, have beers and lie on the sunbed.

And then came the most depressing day of our vacation, the day we had to head back to our home. None of us wanted to return, but had to. We packed our bags and left for the Airport with promises to return back soon.

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