Oct 4th, 2009 Sunday: ‘Back to pavilion’ is not the perfect title in every sense for this post. It’s apt in a way as we planned to get back from Goa, but it is not, as we could not. Why? Read on!
After a full fun [previous] day of rain, beaches and a nice dinner with beer, fish and chicken, we slept after 2 am and had to wake up as early as 7 am. We had planned to start early keeping in mind the time it took on the way up. Our objective was to be in Hyderabad by Monday morning, so that a few can catch up with regular work day. But we wanted to cover at least one more place in Goa, the Dil Chahta Hai fort, err.. the Aguada fort. For sure, there will be another visit to Goa, but not sure when. Why not visit the place so as to have no regrets later?
So we started off, with a Samosa and tea as breakfast. Aguada fort was good, overlooking the Anjuna beach. We didn’t get to the beach this time, just looked at it from atop the fort. Yeah, some obviously used zoom lenses to ‘scan’ through the beach but that was it. We wandered around for a while and clicked few pictures including the ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ shot. The first picture is what we composed and the second one is from the movie. Pretty neat, haan? Take my word, we’ll do it lot better next time!
Done with the fort, we wanted to spend minimum time anywhere except on road. We already knew the route we travelled on the way up was all blocked in some location or the other and therefore had to dynamically change our way asking directions and gathering local information as we moved. We had to stop for lunch anyway in Panjim in Domino’s for about an hour. The route map below starts from Panjim- so am not including the path we traveled from our hotel to Panjim, to fort Aguada and back to Panjim, which was about 60-70 kms easily.
Route looks pretty simple on the map, a little long but almost perfect. Traversing that route was not very easy. Couple of hours into the journey, adventures began. First few were encounters rather adventures; the police, check-post and legal issues.
At the borders of Goa, there was a check-post. We were stopped for a check, not sure if it was security check or liquor check. On top of that the fact that our vehicle’s insurance had expired was still true. We were done in a couple of minutes and we breathed easy. We knew that mostly only the check-posts on borders were strict and we just crossed one. But our knowledge was only an assumption. Less than 500 mts, we had another one. We learned the former was ‘bye-bye’ check-post for Goa, while the later one was ‘welcome’ check-post to Karnataka. I don’t remember exactly why, but we slipped a Rs 500 note to the duty policeman and entered the state.
Then came another check-post I guess that was for Maharastra. As per our itinerary, we planned to ‘roam’ AP, Karnataka and Goa only. Due to all the floods, we had to enter Maharastra, which was not on the permitted list for the vehicle. After a heated argument between everyone, Rs 1500 did the trick. To take a permit then apparently costs almost Rs 8000, which we frankly didn’t have. These check-posts and dynamic route was the main reason we didn’t even carry liquor, though it is available at cheaper prices in Goa. Com’on, who would come back from Goa without a bottle of wine? We did.
Back on road after the encounters was again an adventure. I guess it was the Western Ghats; we had to drive through a steep ghat road for about an hour, at one time through the cloud, not kidding! Though we had numerous small refreshing waterfalls on either sides of the road, the visibility ahead was about 10-15 mts. The day light was gone so we had to stop ‘Rummy’ as well in the back seat. Confirming the route, inquiring about the road conditions ahead, we cruised endlessly into the night. I was tracking our location in Google Maps once in a while when the mobile signal was strong enough, but other than that we were lost for quite sometime.
I was up until we had dinner in a beer bar somewhere near Kohlapur and dozed off. I packed myself in a jacket, used a backpack as a pillow and tried to sleep in the back seat, while Navigator and co-navigator were doing research on the road conditions, digging up all stories under the sky to keep the driver awake and motivated, while the driver Anwar bhai was hitting hard to get us home as soon as he can.
As per my understanding, the red point on the map was our location by midnight. I thought I would complete the trip travelogue with this post, but as you can see in the map, Hyderabad is still far away and that makes me sleepy even now. Yaaawn!!