Friday, 21 September 2007

Not long left in Paradise...

Part of a festival on the beach, celebrating the Elephant deity Ganesh

Same again, but cool and blurry

More Ganesh

Arambol. My house is just around the corner of the cliff on the far left hand side.

Current social group comprised of (from top to bottom): Phil and Carly, who I used to be at university with and just happened to pass me in a restaurant. Surprised would be the word. And also a couple of cockneys, Adam and James.

My little bungalow. Does it get much better?

Mumbai University

Well, it's nearly all over. This Wednesday I fly home, back to England to rejoin the real world. But that still gives me time to make totally sure that everyone hates me by the time I get back, by telling you about Goa, India, the final location in what will be 10 months of backpacking.

And my god is it a good place to finish. I'm in a small beach town called Arambol in North Goa, on the west coast of India. It's a bona-fide paradise. We're at the tail end of the low-season for tourism here, the place doesn't start to get busy until October so there's a good number of people but it's not crowded at all. I've got an idyllic hut on the edge of a path that goes round a cliff between two beaches for the princely sum of about two pounds fifty a night. I think everyone realises they've struck backpacker gold too because everyone's so relaxed, happy and there's almost a community feel to the place.

All I can say is, if it stays like this, it will be bloody difficult to try and leave next week. There's even a trance rave in a waterpark that we're all going to tomorrow, you couldn't beat it with a really big stick. And another thing, every day that I've been in Arambol there's a steady increase in the amount of pretty girls wandering about. What's going on, am I being punished for having to put an end to the backpacker life? I had to come home at some point, what kind of cruel God would do this to a poor boy? Well Ganesh seems to be in charge around here so that's who I blame.

Before I got here it though, it all went a bit unnecessarily hardcore on the travelling front. I came into India from Nepal which was right over the other side from Goa, where I was aiming for. From Kathmandu to Mumbai went as follows: 12 hours on a bus which was delayed numerable times to Nepali border. 3 hours from border town, Sunauli to Gorakphur in India where I can get the train. Gorakhpur was not a good first impression of India, the station was more like a refugee camp. And my train was at 5am. I got there at 10pm. Slept on a bench in the train station. 37 hours on the train from Gorakhpur to Mumbai. All very silly, I think you'll agree. So, after a day and a half in Mumbai which is a nice enough place, I got a 14 hour train down to Goa and enlisted the help of (read: followed) an Indian family going the same way to Arambol. Trust me though, it's worth it!

So, see you all soon. I'll be the old git in the corner whinging about how much cheaper everything is in Asia. "Why, you can get a car and a house for about 35p in Nepal I tell you, it's all too expensive here bla bla bla...."

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