Anjuna (via Mapusa)
To train(we got our tickets 2 days ago - it was the fastest ever train ticket purchase, we only needed 45 min for the wait & buy!) by tuk tuk(auto rickshaw), lv 9:30 on the dot...thru countryside, agric. Not having looked closely at our ticket we erroneously thot we would arrive in Goa at/by 6 pm that day. WRONG! If we had just paid attention to the map even we'd realize it was NEXT DAY at 6 pm! Had some mental adjustments to make...overnite on train for me was a bit cold since the lower bunk I was in next to the window which kept jarring open every half hour kept me from sleeping much. Bon & Mari on upper two bunks did better but morning came at 5 am when 'chai' guy came thru shouting his arrival. My head was quite pounding by then.
Now we are in mtnous area S. of Mumbai alongside the coast going thru many and very long tunnels. There is a group of 98 Catholic school kids on board from Mumbai that is into the same habit of yelling/whistling thru the tunnels, hmmm. I was quite exhausted pulling into the Thivim station in the dark...we hiked into town for the bus to Mapusa and then to Anjuna(tuk tuks & taxi drivers claiming there wasn't one and offering us a trip for 'just' 300 r.). By bus it cost us 7 r. & 8 r. to get to Manali Guest House which was full but down the road a bit and a kid invited us to ck his house out, Valentina Guest House(call ahead 2274130, ask for Santos Fernandes) - 300 r. dbl. - not great but clean, a fan, and cheap.
To LP recom Martha's Brkfst Home on the way to the Wed flea market - nice environment but very pricey(green tea 40 r./cup!). Bon & I off to the flea mkt Mari to her message...Bon found her new sunglasses(old favorite ones finally just broke after piecing them together for last several weeks), a bandana, & pants to replace the ones she's been patching for 2 months! Major successes, ha! We asked vendors about business since many of the aisles were almost empty and Bon was the 'first sale' twice(mkt opened at 8 and this was past 10), they all said business has been bad this season(this is the heighth of tourist season here). Being in the market over 3 hours we only saw a couple of times when bargaining ended in a sale and dozens when no sale resulted. Perhaps a sign of prices are too high or customers lack $$ or expectations on both sides are too high??!! I think the 'meltdown' reality has not yet hit here.
Today at dinner we finally heard news about the attack in Mumbai! A couple Bon met on the beach yesterday who are staying in a more upscale place were walking by the restaurant and Bon hailed them. They let us know a skeleton outline of what happened so I decided I should at least attempt to put something into the journal to let others know we are no where near the place!
Unfortunately, this kind of thing is going to increase the pressure on govts to clamp down more on the 99.9% of the population which has nothing to do with these attacks. This is what the terrorists want, to paralyse the system especially when it pertains to the economies of the west. It might be very effective as we saw in 9/11 attack and surely we are seeing the collapse of the Pakistani economy(weak to begin with) due to the inordinate amt. of attention and $$ necessary to 'fight' terrorism. The authoritarian means to try to contain this evil is creating a different kind of evil w/in the govts which are faced w/ the decisions to develop some counter measures. What allows these terror groups to prosper, however, continues to grow and spread and that is the conditions of poverty, inequality, and ignorance which pervade most of the countries where it chooses to establish itself. To my way of seeing it it's much like using atomic weapons to halt a bank robbery!
In the long run the terrorists will succeed because they are infused w/ an idealistic belief which is easy to teach to the poor & ignorant masses which have little to hope for in the way of a life which is presented to them via the media(TV, movies, internet). And the educated who climb on board this terrorist train see the possibility of becoming 'somebody' or at the very least a martyr and an afterlife w/ greater potential for reward than here on earth!
The West does not see or understand how attractive this dream/myth is and since govts are not spending $$ on education to the degree necessary, it is easy for the radical elements to establish 'schools' where 80% of their 'learning' is about this myth and how important it is to oppose any & all who threaten their myth/dream. If you are seeing Islam each time I write myth/dream try to replace it w/ the image of the other radical myths/dreams - far Christian rightwing, Jewish fundamentalism, Hindu radicalism, LDS, any religion which purports to be 'the answer' above all others and the scenario is the same. Keep outside ideas from penetrating the 'wall' or tunnel vision and you have a much greater chance to maintain your hold/control over 'your people'!
Sorry I have gotten carried away...my point being, there is and should be a distinct separation between the secular and the faithbased communities. When they become entwined, w/ religious beliefs entering into the equation as we see happening then the result as I see it will be the chaos and conflict and the only reaction which secular govt can put into play is authoritarian control destroying the possibility of freedom for everyone(other than the very wealthy who buy it!).
Started the day w/ a trip to the beach/a walk on it really from Baga to Calangute. Then we went to a dentist after a trip to the Portuguese Aguada fort near Calangute which was built in 1512 on a cliff nearby. It had a series of chambers/holding tanks which accomodated up to 236,2000 gal of fresh water and a docking area for ships to receive water & goods below the fort. Also, a big lighthouse which operated up until 1976.
The dentist(in Calangute) is going to cap one of my teeth which cracked in S. Afr. - $120 US, the same for two of Mari's and Bon is thinking about it...cleaning is free w/ a cap, ha! Such a deal.
To the internet after brkfst spending almost the whole day there...Bon got info on airline tickets but was unable to buy them online from Sri Lanka Air. Major frustration w/ bank as well...the same old problem, she can't get into the account. Must have something to do w/ the banks' upgraded security and the internet site we're at!!
Check out of Valentina's and head to dentist for 10 am appt. It takes 3 hours for all 3 of us to get out: my cap prep, Mari's repl cap & new cap prep, & Bon's 3 from replacement caps/bridge. After this Bon chks at a tour company and we finally get tickets for Sri Lanka lv the 17th and return the 30th(since our present India visas expire the 20th having gotten them in Durban 5 1/2 mos ago - different from all other countries we've visited in that the duration of the visa is from date of issue not date you enter the country). Costs us a $600 dollar bill but no other way to get Indian visa other than fly to Katmandu!
To Colva...see next entry date:
Left Calangute via bus about 5 to Margao but missed the stop at the bus station, not realizing the bus was going all the way into city center! Being now 7:30 and dark but seeing no tuk tuks we became a bit annoyed that it would require us to hire a taxi to go the 8 km to Colva(coastal town). Asking around the gas station we didn't see a bus drive in until a fellow pointed to it and said"That is going to Colva!" It turned out to be the last bus lvg at 8 pm and it just happened to be getting gas - this was not it's regular bus stand which was a ways away! What luck. By 8:30 we'd gotten to Hotel Lucky Star - too pricey and only one room, no sgls. As we left a kindly fellow directed us to Sam's Guest House & Crow's Nest(restaurant) where we got a room w/ mattress on the floor for 450 r. ($3 US ea)/ nite!