Just back from a wonderful drive to Vagator beach!
We started off after lunch and made our way toward Mapusa and onward to Vagator, following our map. Again, winding roads lush with greenery and flanked by paddy fields…a Goan hallmark 🙂 We were headed to the Chapora Fort, that hubby had never been to and that I had vague recollections of from a school trip, aeons ago!
The fort sits on top of the Chapora hill and offers gorgeous views of the Arabian Sea, but although we got there, we didn’t walk the last 10 mins up to it. It was raining and the steep rocky path up to the summit, was dangerously slippery. We didn’t want to risk it with Ishaan in tow, and so that part of the trip will have to wait for dry, sunny day. We did see some wonderful birds though, blue-bellied with russet wings and lots of butterflies. Ishaan was thrilled to see a black and white spotted mongrel and was very eager to touch it! Not something I encouraged, much as I love dogs!
Just as we were ready to leave, we saw a girl, a foreigner, come walking down from the fort and we asked whether she would like a lift back down the steep slope. She acquiesced and we set off down the hill. I thought she was very brave to have gone on up to the Fort alone, given it’s isolated location! I wouldn’t have ventured there on my own and I’m a local! As we got talking, we discovered she was on a 2-month visit to India from Germany, and had already visited Rajasthan, Delhi and Bombay. She was now working her way down south – next stop – the Backwaters in Kerala. She seemed relieved that we spoke understandable, unaccented English and we decided to go to Vagator beach together and help her find a place to grab a bite on the way. It was siesta-hour, so naturally every restaurant was closed :P, and we decided to hit the beach first.
Vagator beach can be viewed from atop a craggy overhang and I had a sense of deja vu, like this was Tiracol all over again, that ‘end of the world’, remote, windswept, faraway feeling! There was a chilly breeze and a light drizzle. High tide had reduced the beach below to a slim strip of sand, the sea was rough and fishing eagles circled at eye-level looking for a meal! It was wild, wonderful and magical – there was ‘Atmosphere’ and then some, if you get what I mean! There were only a few Indian tourists, some of whom came up to our friend and requested a picture, to which she graciously assented! I found it strange, but apparently this happened to her quite often! I guess to millions of small-town Indians, seeing a foreigner and getting their picture taken, is still an exotic experience, much sought after and fondly cherished. As hubby points out to me, annoyingly at times (only ‘coz he’s right you understand ;-)), I’m hardly representative of the average Indian, with my privileged upbringing and urban lifestyle complete with frequent jaunts abroad! It’s easy for people like me to forget that the majority of Indians still live in her villages and although rapid progress is fast eroding their innocence in some ways, in others, they are still naive. Sometimes touchingly so. When she later shared that some Indian families she had requested for pictures, had asked for money in return, however – that just made me sad 😦
We sat there for a while, strangers, newly bonded by our shared experience and soaked in the ‘atmosphere’, while a couple of vendors approached our friend with beaded jewelery. They ignored us completely of course 😉 It was a memorable half hour 🙂 All to soon, the strengthening downpour signaled it was time to leave. On the way back we dropped our friend off at The Mango Tree, a bar, which seemed like a hangout for foreigners and where she would hopefully find friends and a bite to eat, after first exchanging e-mails and Facebook ids, so I could mail her the pics we took. With much waving and wishing her a safe journey ahead, we parted ways, certainly for us with fond memories of a chance encounter and I hope for her too 🙂
Another memorable addition to the Priolcar family archives!!