Installment #11 - November 26, 2000


Unlike most of our overnight train trips which have ended near dawn, the trip to Goa lasted until 10AM, giving us a chance to see some scenery from the train. We noticed a dramatic difference from the dry landscape of the north to the damp green of Goa.

We settled into our hotel in downtown Panaji—the capital of the state of Goa—and Rita rested while I worked on the Mumbai report. We signed up for an all-day tour the next day because we wanted to see the beaches, and the tour promised several. The highlight of our Goa visit was the couple of hours spent on the beach during this tour.   Otherwise, the time in Goa was used to rest, write, and do errands.

Rita and I walked to the produce market, and had fun buying fruit and checking out the other stuff, and I did my usual daily walks around town.

On Tuesday morning, we took the bus to Vasco da Gama to catch the first of a series of three trains that would take us to Mysore. Since we arrived at the station a little early, I set out to see if I could find a beach, and what I found was the fish pier. I watched fish being unloaded from boats and loaded into trucks, and the fishing boats being loaded with crushed ice.  One boat seemed a little short-handed as they attempted to pass baskets of crushed ice bucket-brigade style from the ice truck to the boat, so I joined the line and helped load ice for a few minutes. The sights and smells reminded me of the fish pier in Gloucester, Massachusetts, which I visited often growing up. I loved it. 

Our first train took us up into the mountains with one engine pulling and two pushing as we passed some beautiful mountain scenery.  The second train was an overnight run to Bangalore, where we spent three hours in the station before the final leg of our journey to Mysore.

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This rice field was seen from the train
as we approached Goa.  The scenery
changed dramatically as we traveled
south from Mumbai, becoming greener
and more tropical.
Also seen from the train, this Goa river
actually has water in it!  Most of the rivers
we have seen in the north are trickles
flowing in large river beds.
Our first beach of the trip, with lots of
tourists enjoying the sun and sand, including ...
... Rita ...
... and I.
At first, we thought this was a real person
buried in the sand.
We were told that this peaceful little beach
was a wild place in the 60's when hippies
pretty much took it over.  Beach rules against
drugs, nudity, etc. are now prominently displayed.
Located within Fort Aguada, this is reputed to be
the oldest lighthouse in Asia.  It was in use up to
the 70's, when a new one replaced it.
There is a Domino's Pizza in downtown Panaji
(capital of Goa) and they deliver—using a fleet
of Vespa motorscooters.
This guy (I assume it's a guy) is sleeping on a Panaji
sidewalk.  I took the picture to illustrate the way that
many sidewalk sleepers cover themselves completely. 
I don't know how they breathe.
The fishing pier was bustling with activity
when I visited.
This fishing boat is maneuvering to tie up
at the Vasco da Gama fish pier.
These guys loading boxes of iced fish onto
a truck stopped and posed for me.
We passed this waterfall, the name of which
translates as “Ocean of Milk” as our train climbed
from Vasco da Gama into the mountains.
We changed trains at Bangalore where this woman was
part of a crew cementing a train track at the station
platform.  Except for the cement mixer, the entire
procedure was manual.  Sand and crushed rock was
shoveled into baskets and hand carried (I should say
head carried) to the cement mixer, and the mixed
cement head carried to the track.  The work crew had
roughly equal numbers of men and women.


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