Today is our last day in Goa; I have mixed feelings about this. When we started on our trip I kept thinking if we didn’t like the rest of India we would just stay in Goa for 8 weeks but now we are ready to move on and I can’t believe it has gone so fast.
Having travelled around the north I have viewed Goa in a different light. It remains for us a fantastic holiday destination and I would recommend it to anyone but we have of course encountered touristy elements here that we didn’t see elsewhere.
As with any holiday I feel we have over eaten and drank too much and I am looking forward to eating a bit more healthily and spending less money doing it. I am sorry to be leaving; it has been great having the apartment and more space. On the other hand we seem to have become embroiled in some type of turf war over business, with the taxi drivers which is a pain and you soon realise if you stay anywhere for long, all the same little niggly problems you encounter at home arise, such as whose turn it is to do the washing up!
We are due to catch the night bus at 8pm to Mangalore. After our previous bus experience I have blocked this fact out until now, but I do know now at least, that although the buses are noisy they are reasonably comfortable. In some ways I feel like we have had a break from travelling for a few weeks and we are going back to it now. This leaves me feeling excited and slightly apprehensive, in fact a little like when we first left.
We spent the afternoon at Bambolin beach, it took us all morning to repack our rucksacks but I have ditched some stuff and left some clothes with Aruna who is going to take them to the orphanage at Saligao. So it does seem like we are travelling a little bit lighter.
After an early meal of baby kingfish, rice and salad and a speciality Goan dish of spicy sausages we head back to our apartment for the last time.
We say our goodbyes to Aruna and promise to email and then get in a taxi to the bus station. When we arrive the bus is late and it doesn’t bode well when the crappiest looking bus turns out to be ours. I suppose it serves me right for thinking after the last bus ride that it couldn’t get any worse as this one turns out to be way worse. The sleeping compartments are smaller, filthy and the only concession to any privacy is a pair of tatty too short curtains. I have brought some sleeping tablets with me for use in an emergency only and they are looking tempting at this point.
The bus also stinks and I lie in the darkness for a few hours alternately trying to imagine if we would fare better if the bus crashed to the left or to the right and fantasying about how I will describe the horrible smell that is completely turning my stomach. This doesn’t quite cut it, but the best I could come up with is a combination of diesel, wet leather, something dead, something dying and urine.
We stop briefly at midnight and I take half a sleeping tablet, I would hardly say it results in a good nights sleep but the next time I am fully conscious is 5am. I’m absolutely desperate for a pee and after enduring every rattle and bump of the bus for an hour I finally ask Simon to empty a water bottle and decide I will try and pee into that somehow. At this point the bus slams to a halt and I virtually throw myself down from my sleeper and run to the front. There is no alternative than to crouch by the side of the bus with another woman whose modesty is a bit more protected than mine as she has a skirt on and doesn’t flash her bum like me, but by this point I am totally past caring and would have peed in the middle of Trafalgar Square if need be.