I have now been in Goa for the third and final night. This will be the last night of my first solo backpacking trip after 3 weeks of traveling through India. I hope you do enjoy my Diary as a Solo Female Traveller in Goa laid out from morning to night in 3 days.
Anjuna Beach is better than Baga Beach
Yesterday, I took a taxi to Anjuna Beach which is much better than Baga. There is a younger backpacker crowd as well as hippies in their 50’s and 60’s who had left their free-spirited souls back in the 1960’s and have come back to revisit Goa. They were the true hippies back in the Beatles Era, who visited India for the first time in 1968. As curious musicians, young rebels, and spiritual seekers who ventured with a Guru to India in search of enlightenment. Many songs from the 60’s which we are still enamored with today were lyrics written during this era.
These original hippies discovered Goa back when they backpacked through the East and are now back for a reunion. 50-60 year olds partying on the beaches, seeming even more liberal than the millenials. Raving with electronic music, on various psychedelic drugs, tatted up, dyed hair, sporting tie-dyed shirts dug up from the attic with skinny bodies, overly tanned rubber skin.
I settled at Sunset Bar & Hotel for 900 rupees (a bit expensive at $23 a night) but I had 2 heavy bags with me and my exhaustion wouldn’t allow me to venture farther off the beaten tourist path for a cheaper deal. The local merchants here are more aggressive than any country I’ve experienced, especially the women selling at the stalls. I wouldn’t be surprised if Anjuna Beach is a matriarchal society. At every stall, they’re screaming, “COME LOOK AT MY STORE!” “Come back! You promised!” My temper and patience level have dropped tremendously at the end of my India trip although I still had a fond appreciation of their effort.
Getting Use to Traveling in India
I have grown attached to roaming cows and the occasional goat. I have somewhat gotten use to the day to day life that is India. Of course it still is from the traveler’s point of view, but I am ready for some rejuvenation at home.
Making Friends while Traveling Alone
I enjoyed a late lunch at San Francisco’s Cafe, a beachfront restaurant in Anjuna. I have overall enjoyed my experience of solo female traveling even with the annoyances that comes with it. But sometimes you do get lonely but the good thing is how easy it is to make friends. I befriended a Norwegian girl named Freddy (short for Fredirica) sitting close by, reading the book ‘Shantaram‘ which soon became my new obsession. I approached her and asked if she had been here a while and where the nightlife was. She shed as mile on her face as it seemed that she was seeking some company too. Freddy immediately opened up to me and introduced herself. She was traveling with a friend for 2 months through Southeast Asia and invited me out with them. Everyone I’ve met have traveled at minimum 1 month up to 9 years (no Americans of course)! Oh how I envy them.
I shopped around after lunch and now have a bag full of clothes/scarves/bags to bring home. In the evening, I met up with the Norwegian gals back at my hotel for some beers outside the bar. Freddy and I went to Baga Beach (a better nightlife than in Anjuna Beach).
Experiencing Goa’s Night Life in Baga Beach
We found a restaurant with lawn chairs/tables packed across the sandy beach with people, and found ourselves joining a table with a heavy set local Indian girl, that we suspected is a prostitute. She was a blast. The beach bar was mostly packed with an older crowd and believe it or not, it was Bingo night! After Bingo night, the music started playing as older women gone wild went up and danced as Freddy and I drafted up stories of their lives. That’s always fun.
Beach Bars in Goa & Night Performances
Then there was a performance on the beach. The famous tropical fire ring with a young boy first hopping through 1 ring.. and then 2, then 3. The crowd applauses. Another show follows with a man holding a stick, a heavy basket on his head walking through a rope high up in the sand. Very talented individuals and an impressive performance for a random night out in Goa!
At around 10, we went to the much raved about Tito’s Club. It wasn’t very packed at that time, although known in Lonely Planet as Goa’s most famous club. People watching was worth more than a good crowd though as it was all locals. The Goan people are incredibly liberal compared to the rest of India. Though they may be slightly religious by default as Hindus but not in the traditional, conservative way. Many local Goans, due to the influence of Travelers have succumbed into the sex, drugs & rock-n-roll scene that the backpackers of the 60s may have brought and left behind. I have some of the dance moves and awkwardness filmed. There was one petite Indian man that was hilariously funny with his dance moves. He was very entertaining and creative as he lured us into dancing in a circle with him. He was with a local girl, which we made up as a cousin that he’s being arranged with.
After some Mojitos, we were ready to hop to the next bar (like in Swingers). On to Morries next door! The vibe was more of a hookah/lounge scene with more young backpackers and a comfortably cozy place so we invited ourselves to sit with this young, welcoming and attractive Israeli guy. His story he tells us is that he works for the Israel Embassy, in which a year ago while working in India had met a Bollywood model. They recently started dating, came to meet her but it didn’t work out. He seemed down and in the dumps, quiet, mellow, but it seemed it lightened that mood when we sat and acted silly with our new friend.
We had some more mojitos at Morries and then hopped on to the next bar with a name something along the lines of Cock n Bull bar. Apparently I unconsciously managed to make this guy think that I was upset at him for something he said, which was untrue. It must have been a misunderstanding due to his drunkenness (which happens quite often in untamed Goa) and that lead to him showing up 20 minutes later with 3 beers for us to say sorry. Sure, I’ll take it!
We were bored with the night so we headed back to Anjuna to see if Paradiso Club was happening. The time was around 2 or 3 am by then and the club was closed. But it was time for late-night snack and luckily, there was a lady with a food cart outside Paradiso. She made us each an egg sandwich with cheese, raw onions and some spices I cannot remember. This instantaneously became, at the moment at least, my new favorite drunk food next to bacon wrapped hot dogs outside of LA clubs!
Taking a Local Bus to Manipal, the local Goan Town
On my 2nd morning in Goa, on a Wednesday, I woke the girls up around 9:30 am. We went to Manipal by public bus at just 8 rupees a person (about 20 cents) which was just as you would expect it: incredibly packed, smelly and uncomfortable but was nonetheless an experience to be had. We went to the local town for errands.
- Errand 1: To mail a package to locals that a friend named Catalina had met while in medical school in Goa.
- Errand 2: To pull out more money from the ATM.
We decided we couldn’t handle the public bus again so we took a taxi. Went to a restaurant (all beach front, in hut like joints) by our hotel rooms. I had a Red Snapper fish which was pretty tasty but too many bones. The seafood in Goa is inexpensive, fresh and so delicious. I could eat it everyday.
Afterwards we went to the famous Wednesday Mapusa Flea Market. The flea market, like any others, occupied a large raw land which reminded me of Coachella or what I’d imagine Woodstock to be. I didn’t get anything since its the similar items I’ve been seeing everyday from local vendors. For the rest of the afternoon, we laid on the beach during sunset and started the drinking with a beer around 5. And then a quesadilla.
We went to Curlies Bar afterwards for about an hour which was highly recommended by 3 different people. The bar was right on the beach with about 10 wide steps from the restaurant to the beach where travelers lounged. The older hippies of course already high off something watching the sunset with their unique, colorful dance moves.
Gazing at the sunset and dancing to the waves crashing and music in the background was definitely the highlight of my day. We showered after and headed to Nine Bar which was said to be something one must experience in Goa. We were there for about 45 minutes. Basically a rave with hard core trance music, many on hard-core drugs with a crowd mixed with locals and travelers.
Old Indian Woman Tries to Sell us Drugs
At this kind of place, anything can happen. An old traditional Indian lady (who looked like the nurturing, innocent grandma), came up to us and asked us if we wanted Marijuana. I was a bit in shock as my mental stereotype of old Indian women were shattered. But it’s clear that she needed the money to support herself and potentially her family. Yes, anything goes in Goa.
The beach at Anjuna was nothing special, but it was the party packed scene which made it unique. After Nine Bar, we went to another club that played a mix of hip hop and trance. I was getting restless from the partying, so I left shortly after as it was just a stumble away from my hotel.
Moving on to Palolem Beach in Goa
In the morning, I wanted to experience something different than Anjuna and took a taxi to where I am now, Palolem Beach. I like it better than Anjuna as it’s less crowded with a prettier beach enclosed by the ocean. The crowd is lot classier although filled as much with young hippies and backpackers and I must mention a much better looking scene of young men. My eyes really appreciated the difference of a nicer beach with good looking men.
I had some Kingfish at a restaurant on the cliff and about 6$ for a great meal. Started shopping and inquired about taking a boat to Butterfly Beach to see Dolphins. The local called his friend who runs a boat that goes every morning and he came quickly. I don’t remember his name but a real chill nice local. He said tomorrow morning at 8 am would be better to spot dolphins. So I shopped some more and inquired about my very last Ayurvedic massage, because as you can see, I’m addicted. That same guy directed me to this little hut that his friend owns. I did an 80 minute Ayurvedic full body massage for 14$. It wasn’t as good of a massage as the one in Thekkady (which is unforgettable) but not bad. It was in a little hut, smaller than my living room with 3 beds, separated by cloth in between.
Ayurvedia Massage in Goa and Clingy Local Men
When I got out, that local man had waited for me to finish. Many of these locals think that western girls are easy. How do you blame them when our media portrays it that way, and there are Western women who come and sleep with locals. Especially compared to Indian women, Westerners (both men and women) tend to be more vocally and physically open about their sexuality. I asked him where I can shop more and he offered to take me on his scooter bike (everyone has one, even the travelers rent one for about 5$ a day). It was a bit sketchy but I took a chance. He took me on his bike through the village to the main shopping strip on the other side of beach. He tried to invite himself to dinner with me but I had fabricated a story that I was meeting with 3 friends. He asked why I was asking about the boat alone then, I said they had already gone.
After some shopping, I stopped by this restaurant/bar (they are all like that) for some food around 4 pm. 3 English men invited me to sit with them. The craziest, funnest guys I’ve met so far on this trip was the older hippie gentleman (possibly in his 50’s) who is obsessed with Penguins. I’m meeting them after this blog at the same place for booze. His occupation is Golf back in England but has been in Palolem Beach for 4 months. Just right there and not moving anywhere. Totally a hippie with penguin tattoos circled around his arms. The other young attractive guy is an actor in England. And the third British guy is in the music industry (both in their late 20’s to 30’s). Absolutely hilarious, having vodka and tonic and dancing away.
I had a chicken curry which I requested death spicy, “indian spicy” as I looked the waiter in the eye but the dish delivered wasn’t that spicy. I’m not sure if they don’t believe that I truly want it intoxicatingly spicy, or if my spicy tolerance has gone over the edge where nothing satisfies me. I think my next journey could be traveling through India in search of the spiciest food. Stay tuned.
I just showered and freshened up, it’s around 8 pm. My last night!! Oh I’m so excited to be back. Not that I don’t want to tour India some more on this trip, but 3 weeks is awkward timing to travel through India. You don’t quite situate in one area but you are away from home for what seems like a long time, as you get use to the way of life in India.
Tomorrow morning, on my last day, I will take the boat ride and get some Henna to have India linger with me longer even after I’m home. Thankfully, I have a taxi ride that the English boys scheduled for me at 11:30 am. Farewell India, I’ll be back in several years for at least 3 month of traveling to a year. Maybe I’ll even become one of the local hippies I write about with scooters, become a vegetarian who’s incredibly skinny, sell local crafts and consistently have henna throughout my body.
Oh and my standard of living here seems to be getting even more rugged. On my last night here, I thought I’d get a nicer hotel, but instead at the first hut I saw, Rainbow Bar & hotel, I settled. It’s literally a hut built by bamboos, covered by cloth that would be destroyed with a stronger wind. There are 2 community bathrooms and showers in the back that is shared among guests. I have been brushing my teeth out of shower faucet water. Only during my first 2 nights did I have hot water (which I don’t mind cuz its so humid here).
I am really surprised that I have not gotten sick, since it is suppose to be a fact that everyone gets sick with food poisoning when visiting India. I think that I eat so much junk in the US that my body is immune to it. Good or bad? I don’t know but I’m grateful I didn’t get sick.
Alright, off to some King Fisher and I’m sure vodka eventually with the English whacky boys who have “taken over this bar” for the week and promise to make it a hit tonight.
Dolphin Spotting at 8am
I will land home at 11:30 am Saturday, straight to lots of Chinese food, pedicure, target and laundry (running the soap at least 2 times).