Travel dates: 1. 10. – 9. 11. 2015
2. 10. We arrived at the airport in Mumbai around half past four in the morning. We picked up things before six o´clock a.m., we exchanged money and passed all inspections. We had to get across Mumbai to our prepaid hotel. Employers of the airport advised us to take a cab, but we did not take it, because we could get to our hotel also by train and without any problems and much cheaper. We came out of the airport hall to find how to get on the train. Riksha drivers caught us and we let them to také us to the nearest train station. It was the first contact with the real India. We were immediately hit by the very strange smell. It completely different than what we are used to in Europe. Imagine exotic blend, for example incense, mixed with feces and dirt. Just when we left the shiny areas of the airport, we find ourselves in another world. Even the driving is something (with our security requirements) you might not get used, you can just accept it.
The first impression of India is that there are nice people. They want to help when they see you with your wits. They come to you and ask what they can do for you. Very negative is that those smiling people behave like pigs. The streets are full of garbage, sewage, there is unimaginable filth. In the Vile Parle train station we hopped on the bandwagon to get to the hotel. We went by train about 20 kms through Mumbai and we saw that Mumbai is basically one big rubbish dump. People were sleepping on train tracks, rummaged through garbage, they defecated there. We saw many human´s naked asses in short distance from us. The more we approached the center, the more pretty building (but unfortunately chipped and faded) we saw. But garbage was still everywhere. After getting off the train, we had another 2 kms on foot to find a hotel. I must admit that we were afraid to go through those streets. I was in very bad mood when navigating system announced our hotel and we stood in front of the dilapidated house full of garbage. It was in neighbourhood of local slaughterhouse and next to slums with a ton of garbage, rats and flies. Finally we found a hotel and went to check in. We could accomodate before the check-in so we went in. Room has dimensions of 1.5 x 3 m and has its own toilet and sink. We were so tired that we just went to bed and slept until the afternoon. Then we went for a walk.
We went to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus – it is the largest railway station here in Mumbai. It is evident that the tourists are not very used to, everyone was staring at us and, honestly, we have not seen a lot of white tourists. We decided that we must get out of here. At the station we were looking for desk for tourists while some Indian woman caught us and said that she will help us. We still wanted to go up to north to Jodhpur. She led us to some dealers who offered us a ridiculously high price for ticket to Jodhpur (about 2.5 times higher than in the railway station). We refused them. They told us to come tomorrow and have fun on our trip. Of course we had no intention to come. Then we went for a meal, where we had to pay absurdly high price(2 little food and a bottle of water were 450 rupees !!!) and went absolutely heartbroken to the hotel. We had just gone away no matter what happens. Mumbai is really expensive and ugly. We also thought about buying a return ticket and go home to Czech Republic earlier. It was such horror. We went to the hotel to seek some accommodation and possibly train to Jodhpur. Unfortunately, however, declared wi-fi was broken and gentleman at the front desk told us with a smile that it was simply broken and if we want wi-fi, we have go to Mc Donalds. It was already evening and we were trying to sleep. I could not sleep all night, I prayed to God for our lucky return home in good health. The worst thing is that you can retrieve about India thousands of travel guides, but when you arrive, everything is different. I’ve never been so scared about the future like there. I regret so much that we came here that I wanted to visit India so much. We agreed that, we will never visit any Asian country. Never more. Sites that look beautiful in the guidebooks are actually chipped overgrown shacks full of garbage, feces and dead rats. We already don´t want to travel anywhere in India, because it is really better to look at the house for a travelogue.
3. 10.In the morning we had biscuits bought in the shop in a side street. Buscuits were pretty good. Then we went to tell the dealer that we don´t want anything from him. We went to McDonalds and we had 2 vegetarian burgers. It cost 114 rupees. In McDonalds didn´t have working wi-fi (they said, as well as the hotel staff, that it is simply broken). By now I was getting depressed and I was crying. So we went back to the railway station and found the tourist window. There was a nice, air-conditioning hall with no annoing people. We talked there with a few foreign tourists. Everyone wanted to get out of Mumbai and said that elsewhere it is much cheaper and prettier then there. Two British men decided to go to Udaipur, a German couple turned to the south. Indian officer at the counter offered a ticket to Udaipur on Tuesday the 6th, but he said that we have to come back the next morning for the emergency ticket. We asked for the wi-fi at the station, but everybody told us, the wi-fi is not there. We walked downstairs and found a dealer from the previous day. He helped us to find a wi-fi at the station.
We wrote the first message to our family that we are fine. During this time one beggar came to us. This old lady showed us her arm broken in the middle of the elbow. I tried to quickly find hotels in Udaipur, but the dealer told us that it is a place on the edge of the desert, and there is bad weather. Better and cheaper it is supposed be in the south at Goa. He also advised that we couldn´t book hotels in advance because it’s always more expensive. We went with him to his “office” nearby. We discussed with him what we needed and finally decided to go south to the sea and the beaches. Not to Goa, there’s apparently expensive, but just below. There might be also beautiful beaches and it’s much cheaper. We bought a ticket to Mangalore him from him. Thus, for 2600 rupees. It was an incredibly bad bargain, but it was well planned and we drove through the night.
Then we went to see the Gateway of India. Lots of Indians took pictures with us. We were the attraction for them. The sea here was dirty as anything we’ve seen so far. A tons of garbage swam there. From Gateway, we went south to Kolab. It is a famous tourist district. There are many shops and marketplace. One Indian student began to talk to us there. His name was Sandžit and he was interested in Viktor´s shoes. I told him that we were from India unhappy because there’s everything terribly expensive, and everyone tried to cheet us. He tried to help us with some advice, he took us to the tourist center (which was completely useless). Then he helped us to arrange the Indian sim card, so we could have a stable Internet access at least. He also kept telling us to buy Indian clothes. In the evening we parted. He invited us to his cricket match at the local university. When we went to the hotel from the train station named Church Gate, it began a vast monsoon storm. We completely soaked because we had about 1.5 km to our hotel.
4. 10.In the morning we got up, launched the Internet and find any hotels in Mangalore, where we’re going. We managed to recharge your phone and laptop, even though it first appeared, it was not possible. Then we went straight to lunch. Two meals and water were 280 rupees. We went for a walk to the coast of the Arabian Sea on the other side. Dirty again, but slightly less than the previous day. We saw skyscrapers. On the way back we bought breakfast for the next morning and water. Our familiar Indian student from previous day mysteriously found us. He reproached us that we did not call and did not come with him to party. But eventually he was cool. Then we came to the hotel room and rested. We ate a little last days, so we had to conserve energy. After a sleep we went back for dinner and spent another 270 rupees. We also asked for the price of accommodation in hotel across the street. Indian boy from the front desk said it is around 800 rupees per night, then said he would go beyond 400 rupees per night. At this time we realized, that it is necessary to bargin. The sidewalks are overrun with rats that are everywhere, there are crows on trees and on the houses. If we fail tomorrow to choose money from an ATM, we will have to stay in this hell forever. I better not even think what would we have to do … we had about last 5,000 rupees …
I still regret that we came here. In the evening we went to bed and early in the morning (at 10:00) we have to vacate the hotel room and prepare for departure.
5. 10. In the morning we got up at 8:00 a. m.. We prayed all night, whether we manage to withdraw the money from ATM. Otherwise, we will be eaten alive by rats. After a while I could no longer stand it and I wanted to go to ATM and try to withdraw money. And why we waited so long to withdraw from ATM now and not sooner? Firstly, I disobeyed Viktor at the airport where he wanted to withdraw. I told him we’d better replace our iron ration of dollars and the better we will select from an ATM, depending on prices and conditions. It seemed to me that the exchanged amount of $ 250 is really enough. Second reason was that our bank E..a bank had a regular layoff of the Internet banking from Friday to Monday (3rd – 5th of October) and during this it is possible that some inconveniencemay happen. I did not want to risk that.
So about half past eight in the morning we ran into a local guarded ATM, where we could use MasterCard. I tried to insert the card into the slot, but without success. ATM simply didn´t accept my card. At that moment we thought only: SHIT. We are really fucked. But then appeared a welcoming inscription on the screen ATM and I had to enter a PIN code. That’s what I did, commissioned cash and we withdrew money. Indian ATMs take down only the chip, but do not take the card inside. We are saved !!!!!!!!!! Yippee !!!! When we had the money in hand, you can not imagine the happiness and relief we felt…
On the way back to the hotel we bought a bottle of water to train. Then we took a rest at the hotel room and we packed everything properly and went to train-ticket-dealer Saju. He had to be there waiting for us. He promise to tell us the number of our seats in the train and navigate us to the station Lokman Atilak, where should our train departured. We were there to look for him, but he did not come, so a colleague called him and Saju said it would last half past twelve then he arrive to us. We went for a big lunch. We both had a pizza (Indian pizza has a diameter of about 15 cms) and Viky had also some kind of cheese pancakes with some fiery sauce. This mea lis called pakora in hindi. When we left the restaurant, it was a quarter to one. Again we went to Saju (incidentally, he was a Muslim) and he still was not there. His colleague said he is at home and will come at two o´clock. We really could not wait and so we went alone to the station to get a local train to Tilak Nagar station. At the station we met Sandy, it was a woman who knew how to say “Hi” in Czech language and she took us to Saju the first day we arrived to Mumbai. She helped us to find between the incredible tangle of people around us our train and bought a ticket for local train to Tilak Nagar station, so we did not have to wait about a thousand queue at the local booking office. Train ticket inside of the Mumbai costs 10 rupees. During the way to our train we were talking with Sandy. She said she was born in Britain, but when she was little, her mother took her back to India. It was obvious she is not satisfied there. She told very much about Germany, she loved it there and she was very unhappy that she has to live in Mumbai. She went with us to the train and asked some people to tell us when we will be our station. Unfortunally, she did not tell us about herself more, in the future, we would like to invite her to Bohemia.
Indian man in Mumbai train was also very kind. He explained us how to get to the platform of train to Mangalore. He asked us where we are from and when we said we are from Bohemia, he smiled and said that his son also study in San Francisco.
People in Mumbai are, except some exceptions (mostly shopkeepers who want to pluck tourists), dear and kind. Whenever someone had seen us baffled with a map, he or she just asked us where we’re headed and advised us. As we walked with our bags around one building, security boy started talking to us. He asked where we are from and where we are headed and when we said that we want to reach the south, he felt joy, because that’s where he came from. He said it is beautiful there, the beautiful sea, nice weather and beautiful beaches. A lot of people wanted to talk with us just because we are white and therefore exotic.
We reached the station Lokmanyatilak with two hours in advance and we were able to enjoy the atmosphere of Mumbai. This station has been relatively free of trash on platforms (all the garbage belongs to the yard), but there was plenty of beggars. Poor Indian mothers with children. They were very annoying. We do not understand why the people here have so many kinds when they are unable to care for them. They prepare them worse lives than they have themselves. Finally the train arrived. Our reservation was valid, so we relieved. We found our bed and settled down. We drove in Sleeper class, this means overnight, without air-conditioning and second class, with other Indians. We sat opposite from Indian couple and a young sister of the bride. Unfortunately they did not speak English, otherwise they would certainly entertain and talk with us. They kept us all three smiled, trying to show us the interesting things during the way (like Shiva statue in the jungle, that was as tall as apartment block) and offered us sweets and helped fold the chairs at night.
We went finally away from Mumbai. According to us Mumbai is a one large slum. Even if somewhere is a nice new building, there is garbage around and filth. Rats scurried everywhere, crows cawed, crippled people who give their affection to show off were begging everywhere. At the train station in Mumbai CST, we saw all the days one old man dying there. He was like a skeleton covered with skin and laied in his feces. And directly in the railway station was lying a young woman with a half dead and grey coloured baby in her arms. Everywhere are cows that eat garbage. Along the tracks we didn´t see place without hills and mountains of garbage, where ran children, wretched emaciated dogs and goats. On the other hand, there were dragonflies and butterflies of beautiful colors flying everywhere and beautiful flowers that we’ve never seen before bloomed there. From the garbage grew orchids. Such a spectacle it was, until we left Mumbai. Then it was getting dark and we went to sleep.
6. 10.It was cool in the train. The wagon was shabby but relatively clean, there were sellers of bananas, tea (they shouted „čaj čaj“) and coffee (they shouted „kofíča“), confectionery, beverages, packaged food and trinkets. Beggars and transvestites got to wagoon at each stop. Transvestites crossed and applauded. When someone didn´t give them any money, they laughed and damned. They are referred to hidžras – but this is very rude name. They are people on the margins of society, thus, for example, transvestites or people who suffered from the policy of decreasing birth rate. At that time some heads of state to forcibly and illegally castrated people, mostly residents of the villages (and not only there).
But in the train we slept nicely, I felt safe. Viktor slept so well. He was paying attention to our baggage. Everyone told us that in trains of this low category is a lot of thiefs and that vendors give tea eith druggs to tourists. We didn´t meet there anybody negative. Viky I woke up at the morning and said I shall see out of the window. We went through the real jungle, rainforest. Everywhere grew high banana trees, coconut trees, lianas were lowered from the trees. We saw a lot of wide rivers, wetlands, where were grazing buffaloes with long horns. Buffaloes carried herons. The landscape was hilly and beautiful. There’s a completely different climate than in Mumbai. While in Mumbai we could´t breath properly because of smell, here can man breathes beautifully and the sun is shining. Garbage there have been only minimally. All were from passengers who are accustomed to throwing trash from train´s windows. Even our sweet little family liked this “cleaning”.
Along the way we saw mud huts and brick villages, waterfalls, rapids and rivers. Cows ate here grass anymore. Clay and rivers here are reddish because of iron. In the morning another family came and sat. There was a father, mother and their son and daughter with her husband and infant son. The old man was a banker and could speak English well. Actually, the whole little family could. They told us where are the best beaches and exactly how to get there. Lady wrote us all that information. These people were very nice. The mother behaved very nicely to hers adult children. About half past eleven we arrived in Mangalore. At first it looked like a Neanderthal city and there were many tuktuk drivers shouting and offering their services. We needed to find a hotel where we will stay. We walked into the first two, but they told us a higher price tahn we coul allow. We went to third one on the way and there was the price 600 rupees per 24 hours. We took this accomodation for the next two nights because it was very nice, large room with shower and European toilet, a chair and a table with a television. Immediately after payment (price for the hotel is 24 pm, check out is therefore time check ins, which we consider good) we checked in, washed, because we were got dirty and sweaty at the train. We also washed clothes. At the moment we were lying down and then went for a walk around town and had dinner. Dinner here cost us 190 rupek and then we discovered a shopping center, where there was a lot of shops with clothing, SPAR, Bata shop, various jewelry and toiletries. There was also a 3D cinema. We felt like in western civilization, even though it is a city in the middle of the jungle.
In the center were a lot of Muslims. We bought food for breakfast and a lot of water. A kilo of bananas costs 26 rupees here. In the evening, we found that we have in the room cockroaches. In the evening started monsoon rain like a pouring buckets, but we were at home, bathed and went to sleep. Our hotel in Mangalore is called Hotel Hindoostan.
7. 10. After breakfast in our hotel room we went on a trip around the city. Local people told us that there is a beach which is for fishing and it smells fishy there. The train, which we have arrived here from Mumbai, was named Matsya Agatsya, which means fish stink.
We went to the city and thus we have come to very wide river. Nowhere in sight was no bridge or a smaller fishing boat, which would transport us to the other side. So we stayed on the riverbank. People put all the mess to the river, it was a dump in the river along its entire length. In the middle of the river sailed huge fishing boats. The local guys were playing cricket there, a popular Indian sport (in Mumbai boys played well and even on the main street between cars and tuktuks). There were also lots of crows, big beautiful butterflies and eagles. Then we went back to the city center. We passed several mosques and Hindu temples and especially churches. All temples are colorfully decorated and very interesting. We did a lot of pictures. When we got to the city, we went to lunch and then on the purchase and then home for relax. Then again came the monsoon rain. When we were relaxed, we went back into the city. We were at the station to ask what time the train leaves tomorrow to Kasaragod Bekal. We stood in queue despite the fact that almost everyone vied with us, and when we talked to the guy at the window, other people were louder than we and so we didn´t heard anything.
On the way back we stopped at a local church Our Lady of Miracle, a church Malabarian Christians consecrated to the Virgin Mary. We managed just the end of the holly mass. But it was a nice experience. The church here is artistically done a little differently than in Europe. It is colorful inside and everything is full of bright pastel shades. Overall, there are churches airier and brighter. Before going to bed we went for a walk around the bazaars and peeped what are merchants selling there. They have beautiful dresses and saris (traditional clothes of Indian women) and everything is for a relatively good price. Sari costs about 1,000 rupees. During bypassing the shops somebody started to calling us. Because in India we have successfully cultivated the art of ignorance, we didn´t react and quickly moved away. The calling guy was a boy, whom we in Mumbai (which is 1200 km away) asked where we should board the train. We got him to talk, he said he´s making a business in health care there and that he’s a on a business trip. He also said that Mangalore is called Dubai of India. Also, he was going to move to Kasaragod (it is another town), so he said to call him the next day and he will tell us tips on accommodation. Almost everybody on street was smiling and many people asks us how we are or where we’re from. Or if everything is okay and if we needed anything. People were unbelievably nice there. The medical guy also gave us telephone number. In Mangalore aren´t robbers and there aren´t unreasonably high prices as in Mumbai.
8. 10. In the morning we got up, we packed up and went slowly to the train. The train to Kasaragod drove about an hour, so we had that little wait. Along the way in the train (in the lowest class) we befriend one boy, his name was Sulfi, who went also went there. He literally took us by the hand off the train (we absolutely did not know where to get off), escorted to a booth for Prepaid rickshaw and said exactly how to get to the Bekal, where we wanted to go because of the beach. Tuktuk dropped us off at the bus station, where we were asked again and again some local boy dragged us on the exact spot where the bus could ride. So we drove with the local bus in India. It’s a huge crush, and people are glued to one another. In fact, aside from the quality of the bus, it is the same as in the Czech Republic.
We drove through the forest, we could watch as the bananas, mangoes, papayas, coconuts grow… The road, after which we went, we were clay, sometimes even the asphalt. Finally we arrived in Bekal. Local youngsters have said that there is no hotel in Bekal or place for sleeping. We started to sweat. We went into one house, where were a sign „Hotel“, but there they told us that there can not sleep, it’s just a restaurant. The Bekal Fort is known as the great fortress on the cliffs. There is also a beautiful beach. So we went with our heavy backpacks and walked down the “road” (meaning muddy earthen) and we probably looked poor, because we stopped the guy in the car and he asked us what we’re doing. He was very kind. We have said that we are looking for hotel and although he didn´t know about any hotel, but he invited us to his wedding (unfortunately we will not be able to come) and drove us farther. Village Bekal in the map looked like a big city, but the fact is that it was the size of a settlement inhabited corner. A few houses around the muddy road. Finally we found a sort of accommodation Ktees Residency, whose manager was complete neanderthal and the room was absolutely disgusting. It was unthinkable to pull off our shoes there, or to go to the bathroom. Simply awe and terror. And for me it was quite strong coffee, but around us were the rainy forest, so we could not go to sleep outside.
9. 10. Today was the day of the God’s miracles. The day when we started like India and when our resistance against this country broke.
In the morning, after we got up, we went about 2 km to the train station Bekal Fort. The young man, who was at the window was not too gifted with intelligence. We asked him how to get out from Bekal Fort to Goa. He understand nothing and kept us spewed some dates and times. So we turned and said that when we got to Bekal by bus from Kasaragod, so we could get back from Kasaragod to Goa probably by train. We went back to the bus stop and just rode the bus to Kasaragod. In Kasaragod, we took a tuktuk to the bus station and there we found out that the train to Madgaon (Goa main station) leave for 20 minutes. Just to clarify – this train runs only once a day. We immediately bought tickets. In Goa, we had to be at six in the evening, which is the highest time to quickly find some accommodation. And so got into train and went, but the train was late and we arrived at the Madgaon around eight in the evening.
Along the way I thought we can do nothing else than to entrust in the hands of God, and He will take care of us. Now it seems so funny to me. So we arrived in Madgaon, emerged from the building and at that moment a lot of taxi drivers flew around us. All offered room were around 1,500 rupees per night, which was for us a very high price. When we drove away, a one tuktuk driver came to us who was willing to také us for 100 rupees into the city. We nodded at it, because we thought that we can get in more easily accommodation in the city centre. On the way he told us that nearby is a beautiful beach and there is a well-known hotel and it would be for 800 rupees per night. During the way we decided to try the hotel on the beach. When we arrived, we were excited. The hotel owners were clearly Roman Catholics, so instead of Ganesha, Shiva and other deities there was anywhere Virgin Mary, Jesus, etc. In addition, it was with the restaurant and sitting room. It was beautiful, spacious and clean, pretty small bathroom and what was probably the best – hotel was about 2 minute walk from the beach. We took it for 4 nights and went to dinner on the beach. The beach restaurant was just with live music, so that was nice. This day was blessed. We were happy that it went well. After dinner we went for a walk along the main road. There were plenty of shops with different things, mostly clothing and antiques, and jewelry and other things made of wood. Prices here were far better than anywhere we had been. So far we did not buy anything, but I’m sure there will buy gifts for Christmas. At one shop, we met a merchant from Ladakh. We got him to talk. It was very interesting. He managed father’s family business on jewelry making and thus always spent a season in Goa to take care of sales. He was a Muslim. We talked about interesting topics that relate to religion, India, Islam, Christianity, hindoo traditions etc. He want to visit Europe once, it is his dream.
10. 10. After breakfast we went to peek a local beach. The beach here is beautifu, very wide, lined with coconut trees, with very gent sand. They collect garbage here, so it’s nice and clean. There’s plenty of shells burrowed into the sand, lots of big crabs. We also found a small dead scorpion and a few undressed snake skin in the sand. Many people wanted to take pictures with us. There were a lot of smiling Indians, either from the north or inland, who had never seen a white man alive and they wanted us to take pictures. Some young men were from Bihar, the land of King Ashoka. With them, we had a nice chat. They even understood when I told them my name in Hindu language. The sea is full of jellyfishes. At first we did not want to go to sea because f the jellyfish, we were afraid of them. But then we went and found out that if we don´t attack them and don´t hunt them, they are calm and OK. And when some of they touched us, we were only natural obstacles, so we weren´t burn by them. The sea here was wild but very clean and unusually warm. We have never tasted warmer sea.
We were pretty burned in the end of this day. When I was in the water, under the lids came one boy and started having fun with Victor. His name was Asif and he was from Mumbai. He was here for the weekend relax. He was here alone and we started talking together and spend leisure time. His father was a doctor of Ayurveda and they have family business with medicinal products. We’ll sleep at his home from the 7th to the 8th of November, before our flight home. We earned from him a lot of interesting information about India and its custom. He’s a Muslim and he also imports products to Saudi Arabia for wealthy sheiks (preparations for the erection to satisfy all their wives). He was very open to talk about anything and the time we spent with him ran very fastly. He was surprised by our knowledge about Islam. We look forward to see his shop, and we will buy from him a lot of beautiful things. Otherwise, we swam a lot that day, we were collecting shells and sunbathing. Then we went to dinner and for a walk and to local little shops. It is a lot of antiques here. They are selling old Tibetan bowls, various copper utensils, pots, compasses and precious stones that can be found mainly in the Himalayas. We bought and darjeeling tea as gifts and something to eat. While we were inside the shop some young men were waiting outside of the shop for us about 20 minutes. They were waiting there because they wanted to take a picture of us. Among other tourists Viktor protrudes with his height and about me Indian men say that I am very beautiful. When we came in the night to our room, we realized that we were pretty burned.
11. 10. All day we layed on the beach under the coconut trees on a deck chair and lounged and swam in the sea. The tide was out, so the sea receded and revealed the pretty shells. Our friend was with us all morning. We were chatting and enyoing the beautiful day. We discused with him a particular date when we will meet in Mumbai. We really look forward to it. We’ll sleep in his house since our arriving to Mumbai on a Saturday, so we will be with him all weekend.
12. 10. This day we bought a bus trip to southern Goa. After nine in the morning the bus picked us up and we went first to the cliffs called Dona Paula. The driver looked like the Cat man from Red Dwarf. He was such a pretty reluctant. The Dona Paula is built on a cliff lookout, so the nearby cliffs can be nicely seen. It’s very nicely decorated in there. For the first time in India, we tasted fresh coconut. First, you select it, then the seller will cut off the top to put the straw there, and when you drink the water inside, you go again to the coconut seller and he halves the coconut. After you can eat the white pulp, which is absolutely delicious. After this point, we had another stop in Old Goa, where is the church of Bom Jesus. It is one of the largest church in India (as said guide) and there is a mummy of St. Francis Xavier. The church is made of the red stone / brick, and inside is a gold-colored wood. The decoration is mixed, both European and Indian. On the church adjoin the monastery, which has its own internal garden. This part of India’s awesome. Outside the church is a wide road lined with dense palm trees, opposite the church is a beautiful building, white and maintained, which is an archaeological museum and also the church of St. Francis. But we had not gone there.
Next stop was a temple of Lord Shiva. It was a big temple. There was a big yard, where on the stairs were beggars or women who sell flowers for puja. At the entrance to the courtyard we had to take off your shoes and leave them there (because it’s unclean thing which should impure the temple). We alsso had to wash our feet. Barefoot walking due to the hot pavement itself is quite a sacrifice. When we passed the yard we came into the central shrine. There, according to sacrificers, deity resides. This shrine had a square shape with one silver wall (main). There was also a statue of MahaShiva and sacrificers did ceremonies there. Local sacrificer offer his blessing to us again and again. He still wanted money, so we ran away from him. Then we went to another temple, Shanta Durga, female Indian deity. Hers temple was almost the same as Shiva´s, but here we could circumvented a central shrine. In the corridor was a few stones on which the faithful people stopped and touched them. Then we drove home to the hotel. We went for dinner and we were the rest of the day sleeping, because Viktor had an headache.
13. 10.Today is the day we moved in Calangute, it is about 70 kms to the north. In the morning we packed our baggage and informed at the front desk of our hotel about next travel possibilities. We have to go by bus to Madgaon, then by bus to Panjim and from Panjim to Calangute. In Kolva, right on the main road we waved to the bus that drove and we jumped in. In Madgaon we have arrived at the train station, to bought a ticket from Goa to Mumbai. Tickets to overnight trains must be booked in advance. We could book the tickets via the internet, but it is quite complicated and unclear, and it is necessary to have an Indian tel. number. For buying the ticket you can also come to the Booking office at the station and buy. It must face with the fact that the tickets are sold out long in advance, so that is why we were dealing it nearly a month in advance. We were lucky and we (after 1, 5 hours waiting in lines and filling out forms) left with a ticket to Bombay. The bureaucracy in this country is really unbearable. When you want to buy a train ticket, you can not just come in, you must fill in the ID (in our case passport number), name, age, nationality and a bunch of other crap. While waiting in the queue, I was really very upset. Many Indians were really unpolite, almost everyone jumped the queue. The legendary During our Indian holiday it seemed many times that Indian peace and serenity is just such a cheap pose. They are calm, just until the train arrives and they just want to get into first. This is to me quite surprising in a negative sense.
From Madgaon we went by bus to the capital of Goa, Panjim. Even there, we found a fast bus, on the way to the station, we even bought a couple sugars from sugar cane. They were great !!!
Then we had arrived in Calangute. Baga beach is the most beautiful beach in India. Because we had our bags on back, one local old man just caught us, so we asked him if he knew about some cheap accomodation. Immediately he agreed, and took us to local house owners. We had the feeling that he leads us somewhere into the middle of slums. It looked like we walked in the Czech dump. We went to one house, but there an older kind woman excused she has house full of turist. We came to the second and there was the same story as before repeated. The third owner was smiling owner Johnny and he said he has one room for rent available till 22nd of October. We bargained the price to 700 rupees per night. This price is very good. The room is spacious, with a balcony and a fridge and safebox. All it’s clean and tidy. The house is located in the jungle, there’s about a couple of other houses, palm trees grow there everywhere and from the windows and the balcony is a unique view of local life. Johny was a Christian. We were talking with him many times and told us he is descendant of portugees colonizers, who came to Goa hundred years ago. When some Goa citizen wants to visit Portugeese, he or she can do it without any type of visa. Johny gave us a good price because it has not started season yet. Season in Calangute starts in early November.
In the afternoon we went for a walk on the beach. The beach is really beautiful. It’s tidy, free from garbage and with fine sand. It is usual to see a crab as large as a coconut right from the edge of the beach. There must be really clean water because there is a large abundance of aquatic animals on the coast. There are flocks of fish, which have white and black lines and look like zebras. Everyone wants to take pictures with me. Also, everyone here hates the Russians and cursing at them, that they are arrogant and they are skinfints. The beaches are very wide and the sea makes such a river beach during low tide, where are hot pools. So one can bath there all day like in a bathtub. In the sea, the waves are big and wild and it is fun to romp. Also, we have met the local giftware dealer and he advised us not to get out after 22 o’clock, it’s not safe. I also tasted the food from the street and I didn´t have any digestion problems after eating it. I was really suprised, because the food seller took (with his naked left hand!!!) some gravy with onions and tomatoes from a pan (the meal was delicious) and he put to my plate. It is necessary to say that left hand is for Indian people ritually unclean. It is from one main reason-in India isn´t spreaded the Europian type of toilets. Toilet paper doesn´t exist here. When you use toilet in India, after making your business, you take a bottle of water to your right hand and pour it to back part of your body. And your left hand work as a toilet paper. Now, you understand why is left hand ritually unclean. It is a shame to shake someone with left hand. It is very, very rude. Then we went to our beatiful accomodation because it was dark outside. We fell asleep and at about 11pm we were awakened by the hassle under the window. A bunch of people had a furious hassle there and they fought with themselves. It could take about an hour. We’ve already started to worry a bit, because we heard shots directly below us, people stomping and how someone conquer the door below us and buffeted it. We were really afraid and wanted to call the police. It seemed like a raging fanatical crowd. Firstly we called the owner Johny, what is going on. After few minutes everything calmed down.
14. 10. In the morning we went to owner Johnny to pay him all week and to ask about the night incident. He explained it. It was a very funny story. He said that there live two guys who do not like each other very much. And at night, one of them was probably a little drunk and wanted to fight with the other one. So they fought, there were more people, and during this fight one of this two rivals ran away. And the other boy (he was the drunk one) went to house and strongly knocked and wanted to get into the house. But he mistook the door and brought into the house Johnny. Johny has a bedroom on the other side of the house, so he didn´t hear them. Then he went out to berate and fire them from his property. When Johny explained it, he apologized so much and brought one of the young men who fought in night there and done that noise. The young man was obviously quite embarrassed and blushed. I told him that we wanted to call the police and that I will probably kill him if he make such a noise at night once more. Meanwhile, we must knock, we have a rest. This day we also made a trip to the Baga beach. It is about 2 km along the coast. It is also beautiful on this beach and there are plenty of jacuzzi (so we called the bathtub on the beach) where I was lying and leach out in the salt water. We sat under umbrellas and bathed a lot. In the evening we went to dinner and then withdraw some money from an ATM, buy bananas and papayas for breakfast, and we also bought some gifts for our families.
15. 10. We spent this day again with lounging and in the afternoon we went to the beach to dig our own jacuzzi, which we then bathed. A lot of Indian men took photos of us
.16. 10. We made trip to the 7 kms distant fortress Aquada. It is actually a complex of three huge spherical towers built in the sea and connected with routes. On the first of these were many tourists. Here we saw a live swordfish. It was beautifully colored, turquoise and shined. Then we went to the next tower. The second tower was no longer neglected but with opened view on the black reefs full of crabs. For a long time we sat there and looked at them. Then two local boys walked around and walked along the aisle to the jungle towards the third tower where we wanted to go too. We watched them, and when they had gone, we went that way, too. There was a large variety of butterflies, I liked mostly the one that was black and blue and were as big as a human palm. As we walked down the aisle across the forest and were closer to the third tower, from the bushes near us emerged a large black lizard. It’s a bit strange, but it looked like a komodo dragon, but was all black. It was about 1.5 meters long lizard. We were a little frightened, so we turned and scurried back. After we went back along the beach, which was quite tiring but we managed it. We had a little lizard at home. It was beautiful. Lizards are in houses are white, cute and it is a night animal. This animal does a great service to people because it eat mosquitoes and other vermin.
17. 10. In the afternoon we went to the beach and made a big jacuzzi. Everyone stopped and marveled what we’re doing. So we started to telling them that we performing the puja. Unfortunately we didn´t have any water in jacuzzi because this day was a strong low tide. A moment later a herd of bulls came and everything we overthrew. The cows here are really unbearable. They shits everywhere, have large horns and are dangerous. We saw manytimes how a big bull came to a sleeping dog and threw the dog to the air with large horns. Respectively cows are cool, but those bullsare really bad. In the evening, when already at the beach is not so hot, whole herds come out of the jungle and they shit and piss everywhere, lie down on and just stare. They also go and overturn garbage cans.
18. 10. In the morning we got up early and went to holly mass. The owner of the house where we lived, Johnny, told us it was not far away and that the English Mass starts at 8:15. We found a church soon, it is distant about 2 kms from our accomodation. It’s a great church. The churches here are conceived differently than us. It’s a big complex where the church is adjacent to a square and to a cemetery, and on the other side of the church building adjacent a courtyard, where people may also sit during the Mass. In the building houses a priest, there is a parish office, teaching classes for children, toilets, kitchen. There was very much people at the mass. The whole church was filled, and people stood around the church and the square and atrium were completely full. In churches they have fans, but it is nevertheless a lot of heat and stale air during the mass. Sunday worship is for local Christians great event because everyone is dressed very solemnly. Women are combed and make-uped, they have high heels (which isn´t commonly worn in India). Christians and Muslims distinguish from the “Hindus” at the first glance.
We try to watching things here from a distance and, if possible, objectively, but in many instances we noticed that the Christians (almost every Christian here was wearing a cross or a crucifix tattooed on his right hand, in Christian homes were white crosses with flowers) and Muslims are more educated, friendlier and generally just more mannered. I am really sorry to say that. During my studies I have tried to prove the opposite, but it’s true.
Most people don´t behave socially responsibly. They are throwing garbage where they want, even if the dumpster is 10 cms apart, spit everywhere and burp to other´s people faces. Every day we see a lot of people in the sea who took shampoo and soap and wash themselves with this chemical preparates in the sea. Women in restaurants sniffle and stretch phlegm back to their nose (is common during eating spicy foods typically) and when it’s really a lot of phlegm, they just blow their nose to their sari (a strip of cloth that are wrapped around each other as a dress). Imagine you are in Czech restaurant and you need to blow your nose. So you take your shirt and simply blow your nose before every other customer. Another surprising thing we discovered was connected with pornography. In India is pornography completely prohibited. Young Indian people have quite difficult life. There are very common socalled arranged marrigies. Till the young son isn´t financially self-sufficent, he couldn´t have marriage (with a girl from the same caste choosen by parents of course). We are talking about after 25 th year of life, and he should not have no woman. We have met many young men who described us as well. School classes and all social life is separated – the girls from the boys. So men have no girl untill 25 years or even later. Many, many indian boys were sad because of this system. This is reflected by the fact that these young men stare at every girl. Half of them comes and wants to take a picture of a girl in a bathing suit. Daily they come to me a lot and simply want my picture in a bathing suit. At first we were with some people like taking pictures, but now it is sending to go away. Yesterday one guy touched me a lot and he wanted to kiss me. They simply do not care.
19. 10.Chilling on the beach.
20. 10. Today´s morning we got up early and rode with buses to Sahakari Spice Plantation. It is near the town Ponda, 70 kms from Calangute. We paid a total of 200 rupees for bus journey there and back. When we got there, it was about half past nine in the morning. Sahakari is a charming family farm. We expected that there will be a field with rows of pepper and vanilla, but it looked completely different. It’s actually a huge fenced jungle, where the is resort for tourists (restaurants, toilets) and house owners and occasionally some fruit treatment facilities. All of the plants grow here naturally in the countryside and freely. When we arrived, we paid the entrance fee of 400 rupees per person (but this is including lunch buffet and bananas) and went inside. They welcomed us with local guides and welcome drink, which was a hot ginger-lime-cardamom tea. Then we went on a guided tour inside to the jungle. The guide showed us different plants and described their effects. We’ve seen a betel palms, nutmegs, coffee trees, cacao trees, pepper, vanilla, cardamon plant, laurel tree, cinnamon tree and cashew tree. Guide said that the banana is from the family of grasses and that one plant has fruits only once in a lifetime – then are plants harvested and put into compost or elephants eat them. There walked elephants in the jungle and there was a stream where were elephants having bath. It was beautiful. Then we went for a nutritious lunch and went for elephants ride. We had to pay this ride separately. Ride an elephant was charged 700 rupees per person, which is enough, but we wanted to have that experience. Ride lasted about 10-15 minutes and unfortunately a little Indian brat drove with us. He was very annoying all the way, he wants a tips from us and he repeated all the time. And still want to tip for poor service. The ride on an elephant could be really cool, but the little brat spoiled this adventure. Then we still have to go through the jungle, where it was completely charming.
21. 10.Chilling on the beach and a slow preparation for departure to Arambol, our next destination.
22. 10. In the morning we packed our few accesories and went to the bus. We had to walk to Calangute then to the town of Mapusa and from there to Arambol. Again, local people gave us an advise where to get off and where to change the bus, so we did not lose, nor didn´t get into the wrong bus. We drove by the local transportation about 20 kms. We drove it almost 2.5 hours. But the journey for both cost 100 rupees. When our bus blew in one of Arambol´s corner, we had to get to a beach and find some accommodation. The day before, we looked on the net and were searching reasonably priced room and we found one guest house there. So we went to look for him. Local people stopped us and said rum rum, which ment room offering. At the end, we found that guest house we were looking for and accomodated. Since the season starts on the 1st of November, the hotel is relatively empty. Still there were preparing for the season, guest house owner and his staff were repairing and painting and preparing for coming turistic season. The owner offered us a nice room with a kitchen and fridge for pre-season price of 500 rupees per night until 1st of Nov. when the season starts. So here we were longer, until early November. Restaurants and shops, and beach bars have been opened, so that was great. Arambol beach is a beautiful secluded beach. It is wide and there is perhaps the finest sand, what we saw. You can be 50 meters from the shore and the water level will be only at your knee level.
There’s plenty of life. In the palm trees on the beach live beautiful green parrots and we could see a flock of eagles with white chest. On the beach shore are lurking big crabs. When a wave comes and uncovers the sand from such small fleas, shrimps what are drilling into the sand. A person may also observe the fish, the sea is full of them. We bought watermelon, pineapple and avocado slightly smaller than a rugby ball to eat. Here’s the nicest place we’ve stayed. We have a beautiful home in the breathtaking scenery. What else could we wish for…
23. 10. Today we went to one side of the beach where were the cliffs. It was about 2.5 kilometers along the beach. The cliffs were wonderful, there were a lots clear valleys and coves where swam colorful fishes and crabs were also everywhere. There were different kinds and colorsof these animals, from tiny to large. We had lunch and over the midday heat we were laying beneath the awning and rested. At night we went for a walk on the beach.
Every night is on the beach some program. The musicians and artists and others meet here just for fun. They can play on their musical instrument and the other people are watching them and some of them join. Sometimes it’s nightly fireworks on the beach. There are also the sellers of corn with salt and lime, which is absolutely delicious.
24. 10. – 1. 11. We did trips to surroundings areas, we saw a bunch of forest monkeys, found a nice jacuzzi at the cliff where we went regularly. We saw a lot of rough dog fights. These fights are relatively common here, and it’s not pleasant. Every evening two Indian boys go for a walk with very big bull on the beach. This bull is as big as each of them from heel to top of te head.
Otherwise, most of the guests are Russians. But those here are very nice. And I was sick after I ate our beutiful avocado because it wasn´t probably fully mature. We went to buy a watermelon and bananas for breakfast and crackers. People already knew us in stores. We were eating regularly in to two restaurants – a Titus Place behind our accommodation and one restaurant nearby with a Russian owner. It was the only restaurant where they did Veg Thali, which is great Indian food, similar to our menus. It’s a platter with rice and two roti and paneer and with lentil daal (it is similar to our soups), usually two bowls with sauce, a bowl with yogurt, fresh vegetables and pickled mango. Its price is very favorable, mostly costs 100 rupees, and it’s pretty nutritious meal. In the evening we always went to the beach to enjoy the pleasant atmosphere of musicians and various jugglers and dancers.
2. 11.We left Arambol and went to Agonda. We wanted to see Palolem, which everyone here say it is very pretty place. It’s south Goa, so for us it is across all Goa state. We walked to the bus after nine, and on our way we met one bus and we have stopped it. There are no timetables. When you need to get somewhere, so just go to place where is a lot of people and when you see a bus, you yell a city where you want to go. When the bus goes there or is it on the way to your destination, you jump on the board while driving. After a while a collector come to you a chooses money. Also on the initials stops in the cities buses do not go according to schedule. They start only in case they are so full people there don´t have no place to stand. Bus driver also stops where you want.
After a five-hour bus ride with five transfers (Arambol – Mapusa – Panjim – Madgao – Canacona – Agonda) we were at the beach in Agonda, where we were headed. We previously looked at the internet for accommodation in the place and found a guest house with an affordable price. We asked local people twice for the Cupids Heaven Guest House and after several minutes we were there. It’s right next to the beautiful, clean and quiet beach. According to accommodation, it is probably best to identify a location and to arrive there on the spot and ask locals if they don´t know about some accomodation. Usually they offer something and on prices you can bargain well.
3. 11. We went for a walk on the cliffs. Along the way we walked through a fishing village where were a plenty of crab corpses. There were also a few clumps of old networks, pulled out of the sea, where the corpses of thousands of different species of crabs and sea urchins were. There was also a place where some stone was worshipped. It looked as if there was such a dilapidated house, which was larger than stone and there were wreaths of orange flowers and some incenses all around. Outside of the entrance were hung several bells, from the smallest to the largest. Also, the stone was topped with something formerly white (some ghee or milk). Such shrines are on every corner. Almost everything here is sacred – fountains, stone on tree. Behind the fishing village is a way through the cliffs. The cliffs are absolutely breathtaking. There are huge rocks rising out of the water, often with interesting contours. One great seemed like a mouse on the ball. Among the stones are deep pools where it is visible to the bottom, there is crystal clear water. We were jumping over the cliffs but it was difficult. We came to about a quarter of this journey, and then we gave up it because of the influx, and also because the path seemed dangerous enough. But long time we sat there and took pleasure in the amazing view. We came back and asked a local fisherman who had been there if there is a way through the jungle on Butterfly Beach, which is right behind the cliffs (the map). He pointed into the jungle and said that it is there. And so we went.
It was a real jungle. Around were crawling lianes from trees, butterflies flew around, on the trees were lizards and the way was barely noticeable. In the jungles were a lot of hibiscus flowers. They look like from the best growers. We chose one way and came to one beautiful place. From the jungle before we emerged at the plain stone where were a sea views in all directions. On the other side, we were seen hills covered with forest.
On the one of the hills were towering rocks, oneof them looked like a giant inverted teardrop and abut against on a stone table. It was a picture like from the Lion King cartoon. On the stone table roamed monkeys. We stayed there for quite a long time and enjoyed the beauty of nature. Then we decided to go ahead and walk to the Butterfly beach. We walked through the rain forest, but we did not like the way. It was beautiful there, but we had to wade through high grass and we were wearing only swimsuits. Also, it crackled around us everywhere and there was flying insects and so on. When we came to the next cliff, it started to drizzle. Because to meet with the torrential monsoon rains is not funn, we turned around and went back. Just as we emerged from the forest, drizzle stopped and the sun started shining.
4. 11.This day we made a trip to the Palolem beach. It’s a wonderful place. So we went there, we had to go by bus. It is about 8 km away from Agonda. We stood on the road, and when the bus drove, so we started to wave. Likewise, if you need to stop somewhere, you ask the driver to stop. Palolem beach is a small beach with many beach huts and tree houses. It is very comfortable and unique type of accomodation.
Housing is wonderful there, right by the sea in the palm trees. We had lunch there, our favorite Veg thaali, walked around a few shops, bought some gifts and went to bathe. We chose a place at the one end of Palolem beach, where was small beach sheltered with large rocks. Water there is very clean and there is a slow access to the sea. You can go 30 meters into the sea and the water is up to your breasts. And you can still see the bottom, you can see each grain of sand there. We spent a whole day, we enjoyed it there. And then, before dark, went home. It is not good to have a walk there after dark. There are a lot of stray animals, so it’s not much safely romantic walk. For example the stray dogs. During the day they are relatively cool, but at night they control their territories and bark at people and fight with other dogs. Or somewhere beside you emerge cow with long horns. Cows aren´t dangerous to humans, they behave calmly, the problem may occur when it’s dark and they are frightened of something. In this case the cow or the bull could attack human. We saw it.
5. 11.Chilling on the beach, talking with local people, small trips and slowly packing.
6. 11.Departure to Madgaon, and in the evening departure to Mumbai.
7. 11.We arrived to Mumbai at 1 am. It was still dark outside, we waited in the train station hall. It is not safely to walk through Mumbai in the dark. We were surprised, that many people live on the platforms, they regulary sleeps there a had their homes there. We met our friend Sandy. She took us to the right train and she waited on the platform till the train didn´t arrived. She was speaking about India very unpolitely. She told us she was born in UK, but her mother took her back to India. She was in Germany and in Canada. She hated India and she told she wanted to leave several times, but she doesn´t have enough money for this journey. She also told us that women in India are very sad creatures. Many of indian women commit suiside. Sandy saw previous day a suicide of some unhappy woman on her own eyes. This woman jumped from the roof of the platform (it was about 10 meters high) and Sandy saw all the woman´s intestines, livers, stomach. There was some rope and this rope halved this unhappy woman.
Sandy also showed us the place where was commited an assasination of Pakistans in year 2009. We were waiting right on that place. Many, many people were brutally assasinated and women were raped publicly and assasinated after that. There were about ten soldier with kalashes inside of magine-gun nest with heavy machine gun.
Then we drove through the city. There’s an incredible stench. Everywhere there are feces and garbage. The train from south Mumbai to the north goes over the famous slum Dharavi, the largest slum in India and supposedly one of the largestslums in the world. It is a continuous landfill in that somehow live several millions of people. I can imagine life like that. At eight o’clock we were at the bus stop Malad and called to Asif because he had to pick up us. Unfortunately his phone didn´t answer. We have tried to call him, but still no response. So we joined the Internet and looked for an alternative accommodation for the night before we go to the airport. We decided that we will give Asif a chance and waited till ten o´clock am. And indeed, a few minutes before ten o’clock Asif called us and guided ricksha driver where he lived.
It was about a half hour drive from the station. When we saw him there waiting for us, we relieved. He led us to the apartment where we were sleeping, and because he had a lot of work with his father in the shop, he let us to relax. We much appreciate it, because we didn´t have much sleep in the train. The apartment was actually one room with bathroom and carpet instead of a bed in a two storeyed house. The house was newly renovated. Except for the absence of bed, we loved it there. It is good to say that the whole neighborhood, where Asif lives, was the district of Muslims.
There were many muslim people, a Pakistani restaurants, Muslim shops. We agreed that we will relax, freshen and after work Asif come for us and we will go to his home for family dinner. I had gone there a veiled including completely covered head. We came with Asif to his favorite Pakistani restaurant. It was very inexpensive. Chana Masala stood there for 55 rupees, which was really lowest price, what we have paid for Chana Masala.
We ate here, the meal was delicious, bought food for the morning and even a box of chocolates for Asif´s mother, with whom we were supposed to meet in the evening. We washed up and went to sleep for a long time. Asif then came and took us to his home. We met up with his mother, brothers and sisters in law. Except one of his sister in law, they were all uneducated. It was very interesting to spend an evening with them in their natural habitat. By the way, he told us that bit further in another district last week Hindus massacred entire Muslim family because the Hindus thought that Muslims wanted to kill the bull. Life for Hindus has no value. For dinner we had daal, Asif´s favorite food. Daal is red lentil with chili. At night we went to sleep. We did not sleep, because next to the house was the mosque and there recitated from the radio every hour muslim prayers.
8. 11.When we woke up, we ate our dinner and waited for Asif. He had to come at 9 am, but he came at 1 pm. He was late, because he had to bring his niece to the hospital at night. She had a whooping cough. When we were waiting for Asif, still some unknown boys were going there to watch us. They always knocked the door, said in Hindi language that they are from Asif, took a picture of us, sat on a chair and watched us and then they left. We felt like animals in a Zoo. Unfortunatelly they could not speak English, so we couldn´t chat with them. It was embarrassing. Then Asif finally arrived and we drove the car to the Aksa beach. It has to be luxurious place in Mumbai where go jetsetters and celebrities partying. It was full of rubbish, Indian people bathed there in clothing and were scraping mussels from nearby reefs – in other words, it could be a beautiful place, but it wasn´t because of human stupidity. We went for lunch, we invited Asif and his buddy, whose car we drove. Along the way we also stopped at Asif´s store and bought some Ayurvedic products. Then we said goodbye, called a ricksha driver and went to the airport.
Total cost: about 43 000 CZK including ticketing, travel insurance, accommodation and meals for 2 people
Below we attach our documentary about India. Look how India is experinced by two people which have never been there before and decided to travel on their own and the same way as the local people do.