Hello friends and family!
Wow! We are definitely behind in our posts but it kind of seems appropriate for where we are. The only thing in India that you can count on is the power outages. We’ll have a few days with internet connection and no desire to write then we won’t have internet for a week and kicking ourselves that we’re so far behind. Oh well, such is India. Never, ever, take anything for granted. In order to keep everything nice and neat we’ll pick up where we left off…Goa! Joe and Josef (pronounced “Yosef”) were becoming daily eating and hanging out buddies so we coordinated a taxi to take us around for the day.
We started out in Old Goa, which was a Portugese settlement. Saint Francis helped build churches and establish Christianity in the state. Even though it was a Christian area it was still distinctly Indian.
We spent the first part of the day checking out the beautiful churches and the tomb of Saint Francis.
This church had a life-size nativity scene but one of the statues was a Germanesque figure dressed in lederhosen? Huh?!
We stopped for a nice photo before heading to the crazy beaches of Anjuna.
Northern Goa is known for a little more of a party vibe which is supposedly “The real Goa" according to some people. The four of us were interested in seeing “The real Goa.” It is also known for its yoga but we didn't partake.
Well folks, here you have it! Just imagine technoish music pumping from the beach shack restaurants to complete the whole image.
That's a man wearing a thong (budgie smuggler) juggling balls while another man videos the entire scene with a camera circa 1980. Also, does anyone know what the two girls in the background are doing?
Luckily, the police strolled by with large guns. They must have struck some fear in ol’ juggly balls since he stopped his nonsense for the duration of the night. If it weren’t for those policemen, we may have never regained our appetites to eat our dinners.
With the images of Anjuna fading from our memories, we made the 50 km drive back to our quiet beach paradise in Cavelossim. We all agreed that Cavelossim was exactly what we were looking for rather than the crazy party scene. To each their own and we were thankful for that!
The next day we relaxed and enjoyed a day in the sun and splashed our way through the waves in the water. We walked for miles and miles along the deserted beach. We were even able to take this cheesy picture. However cheesy it may be, you must admit that it is kind of a cute picture.
Josh showed those waves who was boss!
As we mentioned before, cows are revered as sacred animals and are free to roam as they wish throughout India. This guy had the same idea as us. He was cruising along seaside for a spectacular array of sunset colors.
Now that the cow had posed, Leanne had to get in on some sunset action too.
The next day was the music festival day…the whole reason we happened upon Cavelossim Beach. We made the 5 km walk down the beach to where the concert would take place.
Once we discovered the venue we noticed something was missing. The band we came to see wasn't on the schedule!? This was very disappointing since we were looking forward to seeing them for quite some time. After we shook off the hurt and anger we were forced to tell ourselves once again, "It's about what you're doing not what you're not doing." Blah! It still hurts but the positive side is that we got to see three of the biggest Indie Rock bands in India.
We were able to get up close and personal with the bands.
Another one of our favorite sayings that we made up while on the road is that traveling is: 50% who you're with, 25% where you are and 25% weather. We are constantly revamping the actual math on that equation but it goes something like that. We met so many fun and wonderful people at the festival that this was one of those 50% who you're with type nights.
Here's a picture of our Russian friends. They had the same self camera stick that we have. Ours is an XShot and they had some Russian brand that we can’t pronounce. Although we couldn’t speak to each other because of the language barrier, we managed to get some great smiles and laughs together!
Yeah, selfy sticks!
We took pictures with our respective selfy sticks.
The festival was setup for an anticipated crowd of 5, 000 people. Unfortunately, the festival was a big flop and only about 300 people showed up the night we were there.
This is Josh's attempt at making fun of the small crowd. It was so hard to hear the music or get front row views…said no one at the festival that night.
Meet Dave, our buddy from Holland. He was so impressed that we had been on the road for over 10 months at that time. We joked that this was not at all what Josh looked like back home. He wanted to see a picture of the previous Josh. When he looked at Josh’s driver's license picture he started tearing up and said he was moved by how great Josh looks now. We are not kidding when we said he started crying. Maybe it was the alcohol talking but Dave was so happy for us and our quest.
More friends and good times!
Side note: Matthew, obviously the other guy in this picture, is the founder/director of Khushi Hona Orphan Project. Go like them on Facebook by clicking on the link below!!
Uh oh! Somebody had a little too much to drink.
The next day we rented bikes and rode along one of the top five longest beaches in the world (at least this is what we were told).
Look at this handsome beast! The owner was more than happy to show him off for us.
Sometimes when you choose the road less traveled you stumble upon moments like this.
We were stuck at the beach for two more days since it was high season and we couldn't get a ticket on the train. This was a great place to be "Stuck."
This guy isn't upset about staying a little longer.
Even though we are thousands of miles away from our family and friends, no matter where we are in the world, we find comfort in knowing that we are all watching the same sun set.
Of course we had to get in a couple of motorbike days since we were stuck in Goa.
It was so strange but every time we passed this guy he recognized our voices and looked up as if to nod hello. We are 100% convinced that he knew it was us. We said goodbye to our handsome buddy, the wild peacocks, and the beautiful church that greeted us on Christmas morning before heading on our way.
When it was all said and done we had spent 10 days in Cavelossim. Originally, we were planning on staying for only three days. It felt like peeling your butt off a sticky chair on a hot summer afternoon but it was time to go. We were on our way to meet our Irish friends, Neil and Fiona, in Kerala. We were already 4 days late and an extremely long train ride away from meeting them. You may recall Neil and Fiona from our trip to Thailand. We originally met them on Hong (or Dong) Island and met up again in Koh Lanta. We boarded the train close to midnight for what was supposed to be a 15-hour journey.
Turns out it was actually 20 hours!
View of our cozy cabin. At one point there were 15 people crowded into this tiny space. That's just part of the Indian culture though.
After 20 long hours to Thiruvananthapurum (yeah, good luck pronouncing that one) and a 15 km ride to Kovalam we were at our destination...Lighthouse Beach!
Man, it was so good to see these two. It had been a very, very long time since we had seen any friends that we had met previously. We were so happy. We've really grown fond of these two. We were the four amigos for the next four days. We even color coordinated for a photo! Go Ireland!!
Here are some scenes of Kovalam that we captured while riding around on Neil's rented motorbike that he so kindly let us borrow for a day.
Chicken delivery man. He actually saw that we were trying to take a picture of him and pulled over for us.
Trash by the sea. This is one of the saddest parts of India but it's everywhere. Hopefully someday they'll get it together.
We went on a double-date at the movies before Fiona made her way back to Ireland. We tried to see Life of Pi because the author of the book wrote it using the local zoo as inspiration. It was cancelled so we ended up seeing Dabang 2, a Bollywood movie, instead. It was actually really entertaining! We didn't understand a word but it was about a super cop who danced and sang so the language barrier was a non-issue. We snapped a couple of pictures before Fiona headed home. We have plans to meet up again so it wasn't a sad goodbye to Fiona but an until our next visit goodbye.
Neil stayed in India so we'll talk more about that in our next post.
Neil took one of the shop owners' family out for dinner since they had never been to a restaurant and invited us along. What a nice guy! The next day they made us a huge pot of Kheer, a rice based dessert, to show their appreciation. It was delicious.
We then headed to Varkala Beach, a cliff-top beach town. We planned to bask in the sun for a few more days before making our way up north to colder weather.
The seafood was freshly caught each day!
We were fortunate enough to meet yet another friendly Irish couple, Antoinette and David. We spent several nights sharing stories, laughs and great seafood meals together.
Only in southern India can you find a man selling chai on the beach when it's 90 degrees out!
Of course, Josh was one of the few that actually purchased hot chai on the hot beach. He never passes up a good chai opportunity. Now that's one handsome, long-haired man!
Neil told us that he had seen mongoose around Varkala during his last visit there. We decided to spent an entire day walking along the coast for as far we could and look who we spotted during our walk. They are such interesting creatures and really skiddish.
We walked for over 4 hours down the beach. It was hot, hot, hot!
After a few weeks lounging around in the sun, sand and sea, it was time to part ways with the beach life and head for the tea hills in Munnar.
Gorgeous tea plantations abound!
Josh was on a personal quest to find that perfect cup of chai. This little shack was definitely in the running.
Free entertainment for the night - traditional Kerala dancing and music.
Yep, you guessed it, we rented a motorbike but this time it was actually a motorcycle. It really wasn't that different than any other bikes he had ridden but the clutch and shifting worked a little different.
There are groups of bachelors all over Munnar. We're not sure what they're doing exactly but they seem to be having a good time. This group wanted Josh to come along with them but a picture had to do. The guy on the end was taking a picture of Leanne taking a picture of them. Hilarious.
Riding around through the tea plantations of Kerala was unbelievable and the days disappeared in a blink of the eye.
We even stopped to try some local honey. They were packaged in old water bottles. At least he recycled!
We hated to leave the relaxing atmosphere of Munnar but India is a big country and the only way to see it is to be on the move. We stopped for a couple of nights in Kochi because we were waiting for our flight to Delhi in two days. Kochi is an old fishing village and Portuguese colony that was later occupied by the British. To be honest, we really didn't find much to do in this town.
Oh no, Gagnam Style is everywhere! Even though it is now a thing of the past back home, we have been reminded of it everywhere we travel.
Jew town is one of the major attractions in Kochi. It houses the oldest synagogue in India and many tailored clothes.
After spending the last month in the warmth of India's southern coastlines it was time to push outside of the comfort zone once again. We were headed to Delhi to visit the "Golden Triangle" and Varanasi. We'll have more on that the next time!
As always, thanks for following!!
Leanne & Josh