|Lunch in the sun on Baga Beach. How many Indian tourists can you fit on Baga Beach? Sun-lounges on Anjuna Beach. Rough surf on Anjuna Beach. Local buses are the best way to get around. Sunset in Anjuna. Scooters lined up. Typical beach snap in Goa.|
We took an overnight sleeper bus - a bus with beds instead of seats - to Panajim, the capital city of Goa, and from there took a couple of local buses to Anjuna, a small town on the Goan coast. We'd taken a couple of overnight buses, but never a sleeper bus so it was a new experience for us. It's hands down the best overnight transport options in India - it's comfortable, cheap, and is decent enough to almost call a proper nights sleep. Unless the window won't stay closed, the roads are bumpy, and the driver thinks it's a good idea (it probably is on Indian roads) to honk all night - but that's another story. Try and take a sleeper bus if you're ever in India, just remember to bring a blanket to cover yourself with. Eye masks and earplugs would be a bonus but not totally essential - you do get used to the honking.
When we arrived in Anjuna we had a good look around (my travel buddy's advice and one of the best travel tips!) before finding a room for the night. We'd arrived on the morning of Holi - the colour throwing festival - and as we were heading into the town we'd seen locals and backpackers covered in brightly coloured powder. While we had our backpacks on noone bothered us, but as soon as we stepped onto the streets without then we were immediately greeted by some local boys - they gave us big hugs, sprinkled powder in my hair and smeared neon green powder on our cheeks. I could see a little girl at the guesthouse gate looking at me with pink powder in her little hand, too shy to do anything but watch. When I walked past I stopped, and crouched down to her level, Happy Holi she said as she cheekily threw the powder at my face.
We headed through town and along the beach to the flea market, held each Wednesday in Anjuna. While we didn't buy anything - Goa is ridiculously expensive in comparison with the rest of India - we spent a couple of hours wandering around, people watching, and grumbling at how expensive it was. After a couple of hours we were hungry, tried, and multi-coloured and decided to wander back to our guesthouse to have a quick shower and then head out for dinner. The orange powder sprinkled in my hair was not permanent - contrary to what my travel buddy had me believe!
There isn't a shortage of places to eat, drink, and relax in Anjuna - the streets and beach are packed with restaurants - all touting cool music, free wi-fi, and cheap drinks. I was a little disappointed by the food to be honest - it was all a bit bland, and typical of what you'd expect in a destination that being taken over by the tourist dollar.
Although I'd had a great day wandering around the flea market, that evening, when we'd finally found some time to sit down and relax, I found myself thinking that I was underwhelmed. I think my travel buddy had been thinking it a minute after we arrived. The great thing about backpacking and having no plans is that you can pack up your stuff, jump on a train and go. And we did. The next morning we booked a tatkal ticket (those tickets reserved for last minute travelers) to Mumbai. The city by the sea.