We’re currently in Vagator or more precisely, Little Vagator having spent 5 nights in Anjuna after leaving Mandrem. It’s been a little while since the last post as frankly, compared to where we’ve been before, we haven’t really been up to much apart from lounging on the beach, catching some (sometimes too many) rays and enjoying some nice food for the last week or so…..
But back to Mandrem, on our last but one night there Sharlie came down with a violent case of food poisoning – an all nighter- I was already suffering from a cold and a chesty cough (no, not man flu) so our last day in Anjuna was spent in our room feeling sorry for ourselves, I was especially disappointed as I had to shave my carefully cultivated beard off due to snottage!
Mandrem notes: when looking for the only ATM in the village I got lost, apparently the guys I asked for directions don’t know their left from right and I ended up walking 2 kms in the wrong direction in the searing heat, luckily a local lad, Nerry, took pity on me and gave me a ride on his motorbike which was a first for me! He dropped me at the top of the road to our place, he didn’t ask for any money but I gave him some coz he’d saved me a loooong hot walk. On the short walk back to our room I was offered a lift by a local shop keeper on his scooter – he took me all of 300 yards as he wouldn’t take no for an answer!
We felt a little better the next day which was lucky as we had to check out , we decided to head for Anjuna a little south of Mandrem, a taxi ride later and we arrive, much like our introduction to Mandrem we didn’t have anywhere booked or anything in mind so we wandered along the main town road a little before someone asked if we were looking for a room, one of the things we’re trying to get better at is not automatically saying “no” to things so we said “yes” and minutes later we had a nice room in a quiet area for 600rps per night, not bad. The room was pretty good and had a decent bathroom, a fan and plenty of space, it’s called Four Seasons Guest House if you’re interested.
We’d decided that if we were still feeling unwell when in Anjuna we’d do something about it so after checking in I asked the owner if he knew where we could get some medicine, there was a pharmacy in nearby Vagator and after hearing that (shockingly) we didn’t have a scooter (neither of us have ridden them before and to be honest I’m worried I’d kill myself on one) he offered to take me there on the back of his – which was fun and pills were purchased for less than £2!
Anjuna is a nice town, we spent 5 nights there which was probably just enough, the beach is rocky at the north end – near where we stayed – and much sandier at the south, a pleasant walk of about 15 mins along the shore. On my first visit to the beach Sharlie had to save me from having my ears scraped out by the local ear “doctors”, as I walked down the steps onto the sand a man approached me and told me I had soap in my ear and tried to stick an implement in there! Luckily wise old Sharlie knew this ploy, they scrape out the wax from your ears, tell you how dirty you were then demand payment, lucky for me I had a minder and she more or less pushed him away – my hero!
We spent most days on a sun lounger alternating between catching some sun and dipping ourselves in the invigoratingly rough Arabian Sea – bliss!
A couple of nights we ate at a local place called Guru’s, it had live music most nights including the most entertaining we saw Monday’s open stage night starring Ping Pong! Ping Pong is I think either Dutch or German and he hosted the night and kicked things off with some poetry read to his bongo beats – was certainly entertaining! It was good fun and there was a nice atmosphere there, plus they had free wifi – bonus! I had my first Goan speciality food there, fish curry rice and it was delicious, mackerel in a spicy coconut y sauce – lovely.
The pills had started working by then by the way and apart from some stomach aches we were a lot better.
Wednesday in Anjuna is host to the famous flea market so we duly paid a visit bright and early to grab some bargains, Sharlie got some nice stuff including an ankle bracelet, some bangles, 2 sarongs (only 100 rps for the 2!) and a big Ganesh blanket (170), it was good to wander around the stall although after a while it did all look the same and it go tiring dealing with the stall holders who all want you to buy their stuff.
That’s more or less Anjuna in a nutshell, it sounds like we didn’t do much and to be fair we didn’t but it was nice to just chill out and relax – one thing that got annoying is that we were offered drugs multiple times on a nightly basis, when you’re walking home in the dark the last thing you want (depending on your stance on drugs of course) is someone jumping out the shadows offering you all sorts of narcotics (Ambreen the torch is coming in very handy thank you so much!) that aside we had a nice time in Anjuna, it was busier than Mandrem but not crazy busy – just right!
Our original plan on leaving Anjuna was to head to Baga, Sharlie had stayed there a few years previously and had good memories of the place so we decided to scout it out the day before we were due to leave with a view to finding somewhere to stay so we’d know where we were headed, we got a tuck tuck there, it’s only a couple of miles from Anjuna, and we were deposited on the main street by the beach entrance, straight away Sharlie could see a lot had changed since she was there last as the streets were wider, the shops bigger and the signs –Russian! Undeterred we headed for the beach, when we walked onto the sands it’s fair to say I was gobsmacked at how busy it was, there were hundreds of sun loungers stretching as far as the eye could see and offshore the water was full of banana inflatables (do they have a name ?) jetskis and boats pulling paragliders, after coming from the relative tranquillity further north it was a bit of a shock.
We walked down the beach a little hounded along the way by hawkers offering sunloungers, massages, water sports (the sea kind!) and various foodstuffs before seeking refuge in a bar for breakfast, I think at that point we’d already decided we didn’t want to stay there, Sharlie was particularly unhappy as she had such good memories of the place but perhaps it’s true that you shouldn’t go back. Don’t get me wrong I can see how many, many people have a great time in Baga, it’s just not for us.
Plan B was Vagator, so after probably less than an hour in Baga we grabbed a taxi and headed back up north. Vagator’s only about 1km from Anjuna and if it wasn’t for the heat we could have walked so it didn’t take long to get there, we were dropped near Ozren Beach, we walked over to its close neighbour Little Vagator beach which is lovely, very sheltered with a sandy beach and a few restaurants with loungers and no jetskis! After a steep climb back up to the road we found a place with room, the Sunita Guesthouse, our room has the usual rock hard mattress but has a fan, mozzie net and hot water all for 600rps per night, it has really cool restaurant too with a very comfy cushioned area where we spent most of last night drinking gin and breezers – not mixed I hasten to add although that may nice!
We’ve spent the last 2 days lazing on the beach and splashing around like loons in the big waves- excellent fun. As we speak I write this sitting in our teeny outside space with a huge g and t on the go as we found out today a 750ml bottle costs only 160 rps – just over £2! We’re both a little sunburned, Sharlie has a little part on her thigh I call Neopolitan as there’s a white bit a red bit and a brown bit! But we’re both very happy, enjoying life and looking forward to the next place on our journey which is as yet undecided!