Hitting a Dead End in Goa

After a creepy day at the beach, and a delicious lunch, the plan was to check out the fort for sunset and then a club that did a Sunday trance party. While I’m not much of one for sunsets, and I generally do everything in my power to avoid going to sunsets with Mark and Aracely, watching the sunset over the fort was actually quite beautiful and serene.  Except the part where a group of Indian dudes followed me around, approaching me and asking if they could take a picture with me because “You are famous in my country,” to which I responded, “Who Asian people?” and posed for a bunch of pictures with them.  Awkward.  But I guess at least they asked first?

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After that it was back to our rooms for a quick nap before dinner.  As I lay on my bed three Indian dudes walked into the room with their bags.  Damnit!  There goes my plan of having a room to myself for the second night in a row.  Then I realized, “Oh shit, I’m sharing a room with 3 random dudes who all know each other and if they’re creepers, I’m here all alone.  Fuck!”  Trying to size up the situation, I said “hey,” to which they responded, “Hey, where are you from?”  Hey, wait a sec.  You’re all brown, but…what accent is that?

I told them I’m from New York City and asked where they were from.  England. Cool.  Bangalore but went to University of Ohio.  Awesome.  Alabama.  What the fuck?!  There are brown people in Alabama??

The guys sat down around the room, started rolling a cigarette and Bangalore broke out two bottles of rum and whiskey and offered them around.  I think I’m going to like this roommate situation.  Unless they were offering me alcohol laced with something…shit, maybe I didn’t think this through.

After hanging out a while, Alabama, Bangalore, Cely, Mark and I were getting hungry and we decided to go to dinner.  Though the restaurant was in walking distance, the guys said they would take us there on their scooters.  Someone would ride double with Mark and the other would ride triple with the girls.  Alabama stepped up and said he’d be fine riding triple so Cely and I hopped on the back of his scooter.  He gently backed out of the parking spot and headed toward the driveway which involved heading through a narrow gate up a hilly dirt road.  I asked him if he wanted us to just hop on at the top of the hill but he said not to worry.  As we came up to the gate he swerved wildly through it and then counter balanced by swerving in the other direction to avoid the wall.  In slow motion I felt the bike tipping over and the next thing I knew we were on the floor.  Except when I say in slow motion I literally mean in slow motion – we couldn’t have been going more than 5 miles an hour so when tipped over all three of us pretty much accepted that it was going to happen and fell gently on the floor.  No scratches or bruises.  Thank you Alabama machismo.

Cely and I walked to the top of the hill and it was decided that we would switch scooters.  We hopped on the back of Bangalore’s and headed to the restaurant.  As the bike headed uphill I mentioned I wanted to learn to ride a scooter before I went to Thailand because I felt like the list of things one needs to do in Thailand reads as follows:

  1. eat Pad Thai
  2. meet a ladyboy
  3. have a scooter accident

Seriously almost every story I’ve ever heard about Thailand involves at least one motorbike accident.  As I was relating this, Bangalore commented on the shittyness of the rental scooters in Goa, particularly since we were going uphill and the bike was struggling. Just as we crested the hill the bike died, the lights went off and we started rolling downhill in the dark.  This scooter ride was clearly not meant to happen.  As we came to a slow stop at the bottom of the hill a quarter mile later, Bangalore opened the seat, realized we were out of gas and cryptically called Alabama telling him to come to the bottom of the hill but gave him no reason as to why, simply stating, “I’ll tell you when you get here.”  Which could’ve meant anything from, “My bike broke down, pick me up some gas,” to “I killed them, bring a shovel so we can bury the bodies.”

A little while later Alabama showed up,we got some gas, and we were back on our way to dinner – which was okay, but not worth a scooter accident and a break down.

After dinner we made it back to the hostel uneventfully except for hiding Alabama’s keys which he had left in the ignition, and headed to the local bar for a few drinks.  Unfortunately, the lack of sleep had suddenly snuck up on me and I excused myself stating that I was only going to take a quick half-hour nap and that I’d be back and ready to go to a club afterwards.

An hour and a half later I woke up alone in my room, panicked and disoriented.    Did they try to wake me up and I just slept through it?  My heart was racing and I sat bolt upright, afraid that everyone had left without me.  Apparently I really wanted to go out.  I grabbed my bag, put on my shoes and opened the door.  There were 2 people sitting on the swing in the courtyard.  Was it Bangalore and Alabama?  I couldn’t see or think clearly.

“Do you need some help?”
“Did some Indian dudes and another dude and chick or something like that come by here before?”

They looked at me the way you would cautiously glance at a crackhead babbling to himself on a subway platform, told me no, and asked if I was sure I didn’t need some help.  Completely confused I locked the door and stumbled back uphill to the safety of the bar.

When I got to the bar, Bangalore, Cely and Mark were still there having a drink so I sat down and Bangalore immediately ordered me vodka tonic.  He had figured me out very quickly. I sat at the table in a daze staring at the television watching an infomercial with an intensity that would make you think my life depended on knowing exactly what the uses of spy pen are.  Which according to the commercial is catching your wife cheating, or secretly filming your partner in bed.  Because no one would find it odd if someone insisted on holding a pen in bed.

Alabama and a British dude came back.  They had gone to look for me back in the room and a couple sitting on a swing asked if they was looking for a really a confused Asian girl that was on heavy drugs.  Sweet, welcome to Goa!

The others had fortunately lost some enthusiasm for the club, which was a half hour tuktuk ride away and Mark and Aracely had called it a night, so we agreed to walk to a more local dance bar.  Which was all well and good, except the part where we also realized between the four of us we had a total of maybe $30 USD.  After ordering one round of mystery shots at the Russian bar, we found it in our pockets’ best interest to drink at the convenience store down the street and come back when we were drunk.

The store was literally everything every guide book has ever warned about in India.  There were dirty crates piled up in front and inside of the store.  A dim lightbulb buzzed in the middle of a room that had a few dirty looking tables and a random assortment of liquor strewn on one side of the counter.  Everything in the room was covered in dust, dirt or grime.  Bangalore walked up to the clerk and ordered us 2 gins, a vodka, a whiskey, 2 bottles of tonic and a bottle of coke.  The attendant grabbed some glasses that looked like they were just turned upside down to empty the previous contents, and poured the liquor into them.  I prayed the liquor sterilized the glasses.

Still short on cash we asked Bangalore how much the drinks would be and after looking at the bill for a second he told us it would be 150 rupees (~$3 USD).  Not too shabby.  We produced the money.

“No, that’s the total for all of the drinks.”

This is fucking awesome!

We took our incredibly expensive drinks outside and just chilled out front like the India version of those delinquents you see sitting on a street corner in front of a corner store drinking 40’s out of a brown paper bag.  As we sat in the street drinking (literally because we moved some plastic lawn chairs into the middle of the road) a car pulled up.

Car: Do you know where (club) is?
Bangalore: Of course, you just go straight down this road, take a right at the corner then go straight until you hit the dead end and then take another right
Car: Thanks! (drives off)

At which point Bangalore comes skipping back up to us giggling like a schoolgirl.

Us: What’s that all about?
Bangalore: (grinning ear to ear) I just gave them wrong directions!
Alabama: What the fuck Bangalore?  That’s fucked up!
Bangalore: The trick is to always tell them to go straight until the dead end.  It makes it sound true.

Fuck me.  I am never asking for directions in India.  But despite my slight horror at Bangalores abuse of tourists, there was a little evil part of me that was giggling at the mischievousness since I was on the giving not the receiving end. Apparently I wasn’t the only one because by the time the next car came down the road Bangalore had convinced Alabama that he should give this game a go.

Car: Hey do you know where (insert place here) is?
Bangalore: Sure…hey Alabama, do you want to take this one?
Alabama: (shakes head suppressing laughter)
Bangalore: Okay, go straight down this road until you hit the dead end…

By this point I had to walk away into a dark corner every time a car came by because I was laughing so hard.  Maybe meeting so many Germans over the course of this trip had taught me a true appreciation for schadenfreude.  As they, “Schadenfreude ist die beste freude”.  In fact we were all eagerly anticipating cars coming down the road hoping for another opportunity for Bangalore to send them to the “dead end.”  Unfortunately, the cheap drinks and the constant laughter was doing nothing for my bladder, so I asked the guys if they thought there was a bathroom in the store.  They all laughed in my face and the current person Bangalore was trying to give wrong directions to interjected that there wasn’t one in the store but he knew of “a nice 5 star hotel, all I had to do was go about 5km up the road until I hit the dead end”….What the fuck?!  Is this a national pass time?! Having to pee the woods = only time in my life I ever wish I was a dude.

Eventually tiring of the game which had kept us drinking in the street so late that the club had closed we decided to head back to the hostel.  Before bed we decided to share a cigarette and Bangalore passed out, waking up only to laugh in the middle of Alabama’s stories and then promptly pass out again.  We eventually made it to our respective rooms and I realized it was almost sunrise and I didn’t want to go to sleep before the sun came up since I was so close to earning a sunrise.  To keep me company, while Bangalore was passed out (still periodically waking up to laugh at Alabama’s stories and then fall back asleep), Alabama told me a bedtime story of the story of how Ganesh ended up with the head of an elephant.  Well I guess now I can check off “stay up till sunrise by getting a hot Indian dude from Alabama to tell me a bedtime story” off my bucket list.

The next morning we woke up bright and early to the knocking of the people who hadn’t spent the whole night up giving people wrong directions.  Half of us went to breakfast, and I went with my usual MO of sleep over sustenance.  After eating, Bangalore agreed to show us Little Vagator (side note: that sounds like a twitter handle for either a short cunning linguist or a little vagina with teeth) which was supposed to be a nice alternative to our previous beach of gawkers.  When Mark asked him where the beach was, Bangalore gave him general directions.

Fortunately, instead of telling us where to go, Bangalore and Alabama came with us so it was a bit easier to take his instructions seriously.  When we got to there, it ended up being quite nice with lots of westerners, bikinis, bars and cows.  Being exhausted I quickly sat down on a beach chair under an umbrella and relaxed while staring at the ocean.  My kind of day.

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