The recent trip we made to Goa inspired me to start ‘Travelogue’ on my blog. Though not as a regular feature, I will pen down details of my memorable trips from now on. All the best to me, but before that, congratulations for completing the Goa trip successfully!
Day 1: Dampened spirits?
October 1st, 2009: All of us were in high spirits for the fun we could imagine in Goa, an international tourist destination and a vacation favorite for many. We were 8 in all starting from Hyderabad, including a professional hired driver for Toyota Qualis. One another friend would start from Banglore and join us directly in Goa. All packed and set, we said hi5 (Goa, baby!) to the tour we were planning for years and kicked off our journey around 12 noon.
The plan was actually to start a little early and reach the destination by midnight. Well, online itineraries we planned showed an estimate of about 12 hours and we were not much bothered by a couple of hours delay to start our journey. However, there was something else lingering in everyone’s mind – the weather conditions and the impact of heavy rains and floods in Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra and Karnataka. First news – we had to change the route as few roads and cities/ towns we would pass through were already cut off. Enjoy maddy!
Couple of hours into the journey and we stopped for lunch. We reviewed the situation, planned our route based on whatever news and information we could gather and set off to Goa. Well, of course after a lot of adventures in between. You will need to review this route map to start with. This is the path we traveled, not the one we planned. Not much deviation on the big picture with respect to route; but definitely a good deal on the experience.
It started to rain normally in the evening but then poured like anything after that, we don’t know till what time. It probably was the first time we got scared of rain, being in a four-wheeler. The navigator in the front seat had the best of experience compared to all the others. It was raining against us (the opposite direction of our movement) and it was too damn heavy. We experienced Star Wars for a moment- except those particles and meteors in space, it was huge, powerful water balls hitting the windshield. Cats and dogs is too lite a metaphor for what we witnessed. We can probably call it ligers and rhinos, no kidding. We had to switch off the movie ‘Manmadhudu’ and just look at the nerve gripping, nail biting scene around us.
We crossed Manvi and were heading towards that red dot in the map above. For about half an hour, not even a single vehicle could be spotted on the road, in either direction. That does indicate something is wrong. And, to top that not even a single person or business in sight to confirm we were in the right route. After about 30 minutes, a TATA Safari overtakes us and we breathed easily for a while. We were following the tail lights in front of us as blind indicator for road ahead. Well, nothing much was visible too in the dark surroundings and heavy rain. Our visibility otherwise too was less than 10-15 meters.
And then suddenly something happened. The Safari in front of us slowed down drastically, and so did we. Before we realized, we were in waters about 2-3 feet high. You can see the water level against the Safari in the picture below. The bottom of the spare wheel is almost touching the water. And then to our fate, we realized we were on a bridge or a culvert. Either situation is bad. If it’s a bridge, and the water is flowing 3 feet above the bridge level, that is enough force to wash off a Qualis. On the other hand, if it’s a culvert, well, there is no water flowing under the construction so all the pressure is on the top itself, where we were placed exactly then. Getting down to analyze the situation is not an option – if we put one foot down we will be washed away. Even opening the door in that situation is a an invitation to danger. Backing up or fiddling with gears is not an option to even think of. We have to just keep moving and that is exactly what we did. First the Safari and then we, got out of the water stream safe! But, that is an experience I would remember for a long time!
After such an encounter, we decided to stop in the next town Sindhanur, the red dot in the map above. We roamed all over the town for a hotel/ lodge without success. Apparently many were stuck in that town as it was surrounded by water and all roads cut off. We managed to have dinner in a tiffin center and were looking for a place to stay. We went to a fuel station for halt but we were evacuated within 10 minutes as water level on that side of the town was increasing and the place could be a mess anytime. We then searched for few places and halted at a government inspection bunglow, or that’s what we thought, for the night. Some of us took short naps in the vehicle itself, while the others were playing with cams and smoking, wandering around the campus, exploring.
A brilliant and energetic start to Goa has come to a dampened halt. Dampened in a literal way- our clothes and bodies more as a result of looking for a place to stay and our efforts to have dinner in heavy rain, NOT our spirits much!
Continue reading: Day 2: Mission accomplished.