Goa (India) - Home Away from Home - Chapter 4

Goa, India

March 2020: 

Covid-19, The Virus, Pandemic, India under Lock-down, Oxygen, Masks, Sanitizer, Stay Home.... We got used to hearing all these terms since March 2020 when we witnessed first of its kind pandemic at least for our generation. We were all locked in our homes surfing the news channels to understand what exactly is happening, what the hell is this virus and why is it so dangerous? More information we got, scarier it became. Stepping out felt like a thing of a past and we all adapted to the new normal and started working from home. No excitement for weekends, the only excitement we felt was watching new web series, having zoom calls with friends and trying new recipes at home.

Fast forward 10 months: Jan'21

Things looked like they are starting to get better, low positivity rates, life felt like getting back to normal, people started to step out to meet friends & families and even started to travel. With this, we also started to make plans and the first destination that came to our mind was Goa. 

We started to plan and everyone was excited, although we were still restricting ourselves to step outside unnecessarily, but with the thought of going to Goa made those mundane days exciting. Spent weekends shopping for our Goa trip and started to count days for our vacation. 

Feb'21: The day arrived and with the hope of no delays in flight, we left for the airport. The reason I said that is because when we went to Goa in 2019, our flight was cancelled at the last moment due to Boeing 737 max issues (apparently the aircraft had couple of crashes) and ours was also Boeing 737 max. It was different struggle to reach Goa that day. If you want to read about that experience, you can read it here. Coming back to 2021, our flight was delayed this time too, but just for an hour, maybe the pilot forgot the keys at home. One hour is not bad and it made my wife bit happy as she got additional time for her duty free shopping. Duty Free is the biggest sucker deal in retail. Do you know how much duty is? Its nothing!! (that was Seinfeld reference by the way, if you're a fan).

In no time. we boarded our flight and the excitement level was all time high!! Why wouldn't it be? It was our first vacation after Sep'2019 trip to Meghalaya and that too to our favorite destination, Goa. Finally, we landed in Goa and got on to our cab and reached our favorite resort. We checked into our room and and dozed off for a while. Woke up an hour later and had a cup of coffee before going to THE BEACH (Betalbatim beach). I had been waiting for this moment for so, so, so long. 

Betalbatim Beach, Goa

It was Sunday evening and there were few locals on the beach, but no international tourists due to restrictions for international flights and tourists. The beach felt different without them to be honest as every time I have been to this beach and resort, I have seen majorly the international tourists thronging everywhere, be it shacks, bar of the resort or swimming at the beach. This time it felt different, the vibe was different, but nevertheless it felt great! We returned back to our resort, had dinner and called it a day.

Crab

Next morning, woke up early and went to the beach before sun blasts its true power, enjoyed at the beach and returned back before it became too hot outside. We had breakfast and enjoyed in the swimming pool. My kid always loves playing in the pool and that's what makes it interesting for us. We slept in the noon and woke up in the evening to go to the beach again and watch sunset and have dinner at the shack. 2020 was hectic for all of us and work wise too it was too much. All those working from home hours, managing home chores along those back to back meetings, so this vacation - lazy vacation felt like a breeze of fresh air that we were longing for.

We followed the same ritual every day - early to bed and early to rise made us healthy and wise till the time we were in Goa.

When we decided to visit Goa, we agreed that we will follow Covid protocol and will not visit the touristy places (we had already been to most of them in the past) but will restrict ourselves to the beach next to our resort or maybe will go out just for a day or so. 

Goa beaches

Beach Life, Goa

The day we decided to go out, we decided to visit Cola beach which was hour and a half drive (~40kms). We tried to book a self drive car, but apparently the bookings were full. We took a scooty on rent and carried on with the plan. The road was beautiful and not at all crowded until the last leg of the beach. The last part to reach Cola beach was horrible - no road at all. It was all dusty, rocky, uneven and zig zag in between the mountains. The scooty struggled a bit, but covered the last 2 kms of the journey slowly. 

Cola Beach, Goa

Sweet water lake, Cola beach, Goa

The beach was marvelous and right next to it was sweet water lake (as they call it). My wife tasted the water (don't know why) and didn't find the water sweet at all. People were enjoying in the lake, doing kayaking (not sure why?). We spent some time there and apparently Cola beach has just one shack! We sat there waiting for our turn but the place was so crowded that we gave up and thought to go somewhere else. 

We got on our scooty to cross the nightmare 2 kms stretch and then there was bit of an incident, My kid unknowingly accelerated the scooty while we were getting onto the scooty. My hands were off the handle and scooty jumped and then it fell and was dragged for few meters before stopping by hitting a fallen tree at the edge of the road right next to the valley. Had that tree not been there, we might have fallen off the road into the valley. God had a different plan and we were saved by just few inches. My arm was all scratched and bleeding, my son's arm was also scratched and bleeding, my cargos were torn and I broke my phone's camera lens. Nothing major, but we were thankful enough to be saved and now the only thing that we were hoping was scooty to be alright and starts so that we could reach back to our resort. We took some water from a car passing by and cleaned ourselves as much as we could.  

Scooty was alright and I was able to start it as well and very carefully we crossed that section of the road (it wasn't a road though). On the way stopped at a medical store to get some ointments and anti-bacterial/anti-septic lotions for our wounds. We reached resort, cleaned ourselves up and called it a day.

Next few days were spent the same way, except we were avoiding swimming pools (didn't want to expose our wounds to pool water). The time we spent in Goa was remarkably good considering ideal lifestyle - waking up early, having meals on time, long walks on the beach, watching sunset everyday and no work related stress. 

Goa sunset

This is what I call a perfect unwinding vacation. 

P.S. This is the smallest blog ever of any any place I have been to, because we didn't go out much. Be safe and take care.

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