October 2nd, 2009 Friday: Though things didn’t go pretty well on day one, I still think we were better off in the given situation. While it wasn’t very comfortable to fold up and sleep in the car, at least we had a roof of the inspection bunglow portico for the car to save us from rain and dripping water. And, couple others who couldn’t catch a nap were exploring around the campus and discovered a rest room facility we could use in the morning! By the way, I was told it stopped raining around 1 or 2 in the night.
It was around 6 am by the time we started from there. We first got into the town to inquire and collect as much information as we could about the prevailing situation. We talked to a few RTC bus drivers to rely on the first hand information. One guy scared us when he took a back step, gave a skeptical look at the sides and tyres, finally nodding that we could ‘manage’ to cross the bridge we were supposed to take on the route out. It wasn’t happy news to hear that our main route as we planned was blocked and we had to take some other way to reach our next major milestone.
We started anyways, fingers crossed. Less than 10 minutes into the journey we came across a bridge much like the one we witnessed the day before. One good thing was day light which gave us time and scope to analyze the situation. I guess the picture below is the best way I can explain the scene. The picture adjacent shows the water flow under the bridge. Just to add, a tractor was washed away (above picture) hours before dawn which is still visible, stuck in trees nearby and apparently a two wheeler too, which was still being searched for. We got down for a while and saw few heavy vehicles cross without much difficulty, but were still wondering if a Qualis could do it. One look at the team for an indication whether we have to go ahead at that cost or turn back and head to Hyderabad was replied with a loud ‘Goa, baby’ cheer. Let be it. We followed an Indica that gave us more courage and crossed the bridge safe. We all were just hoping there wouldn’t be many such encounters in the long journey that lay ahead of us.
We kind of had the rough idea of how our journey would be till we reach the destination. So, except for a brunch near a dhaba, we didn’t even stop for lunch. The idea was to cover as much distance as possible in the day light. We picked something or the other to munch on and continued our journey while few were ‘show’ing Rummy for 201 game count in the back of the car. We covered a good deal of distance, thankful for not raining all day. It did start around 5 pm again but compared to the experience we had the previous day, we almost ignored that it was raining at all.
All was well until we reached Goa borders. The road was terrible for about 50 kms with mud logged pits and concrete diches all over. Due to heavy vehicle traffic like trucks and lorries, and the added bonus of flood rains, the situation got worse. It is unbelievable and unexpected road condition on the way to an international tourist destination. As we were almost there, we were patiently waiting to reach the hotel and stretch our body and mind satisfactorily. Why would it be an adventure if all went well? There was a twist awaiting already.
Apparently the insurance for the vehicle we hired has expired a few weeks ago and I learned later that Goa is very strict about everything legal except booze. Unaware of the expired policy, driver flashed all the documents at the check-post confidently and we were pulled over to take care of the formality. The policeman insisted that we pay insurance to get the clearance to get into the state. Contacting the insurance agent then to take care of that on a rainy night from 650 kms away from home is not easy. Anwar bhai (driver) invested about an hour calling the travel agency to produce some documentation over fax that resulted in vain. We were finally let go with an agreement that the policy will be taken care the first thing in the morning.
Time for dinner. Everyone who knew we were heading to Goa had the phrase ‘off season’ at least a few times used in their conversation. We realized it was not true only after reaching Goa. All hotels were full and we didn’t make a reservation either (considering it’s off season, and given the floods and heavy rains). Though I was tired and was taking intermittent naps, my buddies got down a dozen times to find a nice place to eat and another dozen times to find a place to stay.
Our dinner was at a Chinese fast food center, and our hotel was Colmar, near Colva beach. Ah, there is more to the hotel location. We learned about this hotel while still in Hyderabad, a week or so before the trip. It was recommended for its close proximity from the beach- hardly 2 minutes walk. Pricing is economical too and what more to dream of, than waking up early in the morning and sitting in the beach (right in front of the hotel) with a beer in hand? It’s Goa, baby! But our decision had to be assured then because of the weather conditions. A few calls to friends who have cousins in Navy placed in Goa brought in more surprises. One was out in the sea for a 4 day long stay- in case fishermen need rescue due to bad weather and predicted storm/ depression in Arabian sea. While that itself is an alarm, the other warned boldly not to stay anywhere near the coast- he explained ‘gail winds’ were blowing, which is a sure sign of danger. Little choice we had because of all the fully occupied hotels, and we got in to Colmar. On the sea coast with predicted ‘disturbance’ in the sea, after 1 in the night, we slipped into boxers and hit the bed.
Mission accomplished! Destination reached!!
The top picture: we came across the washed away bus somewhere along the route in Karnataka. We ran into similar accidents a few more times through out the trip.
(to be continued in next post)
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