Namaste India

The next morning we took a taxi to take us to North Goa, this part is supposed to be a lively area full of restaurants and bars. Our hotel was right in the main area and this time really walking distance to the beach. We went to see Calangute beach, one of the biggest and more crowded beaches in North Goa. So far we haven’t been impressed with the beaches here in India, they are full of stray dogs, people trying to sell you stuff that won’t leave even after repeatedly telling them “No”, creepy guys staring at you, nobody is in a swimming suit because its India,  and basically the color of the ocean is brown.

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We didn’t find much to do there so we took a taxi to Baga Beach, another one of the big and crowded ones. The same story goes here, but at least we were able to find a nice beachfront restaurant to have a nice meal and a hookah enjoying the sunset!  We tried what is supposedly traditional Goan food and the diarrhea had coconut in it so that was a nice change of flavor.

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We walked a little on the main st full of nice shops, bars and restaurants. We can see that during high season it must be really fun to be here, it has an Acapulco vibe.

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The next morning we had a really really nice fancy massage. This is the most we have ever paid for a massage and it was really good. The massage was the Ayurveda type and included a steam bath at the end for relaxation. One of the masseurs had 6 fingers in each hand, that was a little weird.

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After the massage we went to Anjuna Beach. This beach is world famous for its trance parties held on the beach during the tourist season. Also this is the inspiration for Eitan’s favorite electronic music artist “Above and Beyond” which label is actually called Anjuna beats. During off season there is nothing going on here as we expected except for many stray dogs wandering the beach.

The taxi dropped us off at the Anjuna Rock Beach, which we didnt know existed so we were very confused how you can have a Trance party on top a very slippery rock! But after asking they directed us to the real beach.

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We were hungry but we came a long way to see this beach so at least we sat down for a beer.

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The beach souvenir sellers surround you in groups of 3 and 4 and they do NOT leave you alone until you buy, very annoying. If you don’t buy immediately, they just sit in front of you, looking at you, for as long as it is needed until you buy something from them. Luckily by sitting inside the restaurant they couldn’t do this to us but we watched tourists on the beach get sucked into this uncomfortable situation.

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For dinner we had Parsi food. The Parsis are followers in India of the Iranian prophet Zoroaster. The Parsis, whose name means “Persians”, are descended from Persian Zoroastrians who emigrated to India to avoid religious persecution by the Muslims. The couple running the restaurant were probably on the top 3 of nicest people we met in India (and they are not really Indians, go figure). They explained every delicious dish, we tried some lamb with crispy potatoes on top, a delicious rice with chicken curry and Parsi Salad.

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Today there is no bonus pic, this last section will be the bonus read instead. Enjoy:

So that was it for India, we are finally leaving and will continue north to Nepal and Tibet. Sorry for being very obnoxious for a second, but we are seasoned travelers, India was my 65th county visited so far and I can be certain that hands down, India was the least enjoyable place I’ve been so far (close to Antigua and Barbuda). So these blog posts are coming from comparison to other places and we were 100% honest, never hiding the truth even if it meant that some people will be insulted. This is just how we saw India. 5 weeks of backpacking India is not enough to see everything, but it is enough to see its core. We saw a good chunk of the tourist and local places that are worth a visit according to the guide books, trip advisor, internet India forums and people’s recommendations. The sights were excellent, some of the best we have ever seen, but we don’t want or need to come back here.  For Sarah it was a very weird feeling for her because she is always sad to leave a place on vacation because that means the trip is getting closer to being over and she never knows if she will return, but this was the first time ever she was quite ready to move on.

If you have been reading the blog, you will notice we have absolutely loved all destinations until we came here, we are usually very positive travelers but somehow India got into our nerves. We met others who do not feel the same as us so again this is just how we both felt and were 100%. So now, if you are still crazy enough to visit this place, here is how we recommend you do it:

Maximum 3 weeks, and I mean it. Traveling here is exhausting, will remove your will to live and will make you lose hope in mankind. 3 weeks is all you need to visit the must see sights and a few other places if planned correctly. The least the better, if you only want to see the Taj, just do a hit and run.

Do NOT travel independently. Hire a good expensive tour operator that includes a driver and a guide 24/7. If you do not travel independently you will probably not experience the negative side of what we had as independent travelers. If you are asking: “but if I’m always with a guide I will not be able to interact with the locals and blah blah blah….” exactly!! That is the whole point, you don’t want to.  And you can always read our blog again as a refresher of what you are missing…

Skip Delhi. Considered by the United Nations as the shithole of the world, spending time here will give you brain cancer and will get you closer to becoming a serial killer. JUST DON’T GO HERE. If you can fly into Mumbai instead for twice the price it is still worth it, three times the price? Also worth it.

Stay in 4 or 5 star hotels. Hotels here are not very expensive (compared to the western world). If you cannot afford them now, then save more money and visit later. Good hotels will give you the feeling of safety you will need every night. We did not have this as we were traveling on a budget.

Or maybe as another idea. Just skip India as a whole; there are many more amazing places you can visit instead. Give Sri Lanka or Nepal a try, there you certainly will be welcomed with a warm smile and an honest “Namaste”.

But if you do go we are very curious to hear about your experience as we know everyone gains different perspectives when traveling.

One thought on “Namaste India

  1. I was in Bombay in 1979 and in Delhi just before the PanAsian games…nothing got better in those 35years. Have been so worried for you both and am so relieved now that you are leaving. As blunt as you might have sounded at times, the reality was so much worse.

    Nepal touches hearts….you both have touched ours. I look forward to every post. Be well.

    Like

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