My 5: Goa, India.

Benaulim Beach Goa India April 2004

1. Benaulim Beach, April 2004. It’s a minor miracle that this My 5 has even come to pass. When I trawled back through my archives to see what I had from my long ago ten-day stay in Goa I discovered a forgotten folder that contained just seven photos! And not particularly good photos at that. In any case my stubbornness shone through and after much tinkering (and a big thank you to the photo editing app Prisma) I’ve just about managed to cobble this piece together. When Allan and I arrived in Goa we were determined to base ourselves as far away from the party zones as we could. Happily the drowsy beach town of Benaulim did just the trick: we napped, ate, swam and napped some more through a four-night stay. It was also here that I first read the brilliant Donna Tartt novel The Secret History to a backdrop of flapping seagull wings and crashing waves.

Domnick's Bar Benaulim Beach Goa India April 2004

2. Domnick’s Bar, April 2004. Benaulim Beach did have one bar that also served as a nightclub… of sorts. One night Allan and I went for a few drinks and it ended up becoming a highly amusing evening. This shot shows a local boy who was Benaulim’s self-appointed king of the dance floor. He just went CRAZY when he saw us and seemed determined to challenge everyone to a dance-off, despite the fact that we had zero interest in bopping along to the likes of YMCA and I Will Survive. I love this shot, I can still remember Allan laughing so hard he was just about doubled over.

School kids Panjim Goa India April 2004

3. Panjim Primary School, April 2004. In the end there was only so much lazing around I could do. So I decided to take a day trip to Panjim, Goa’s pretty Portuguese-flavored capital (It’s since been renamed Panaji). Among my memories there was the cheesy boat cruise I took with my newfound travel buddy Lisa and the main street we stayed on which, that same year, served as the car chase sequence in the opening scenes of The Bourne Supremacy. The sweet kids pictured here meanwhile came running down their school steps to greet us and ask where we were from. I can’t help but stare at this photo and wonder what became of them all.

Jolly Jolly Roma Guesthouse Vagator Goa India April 2004

4. Jolly Jolly Roma Guesthouse, April 2004. In Panjim Lisa and I also met an Englishman called Phil and we quickly hit it off. Exchanging travel stories and singing the theme tune to Top Cat, the three of us decided to travel out to Vagator together to visit the famous night market. It was a little out of the way, so we booked a night in this quiet, red and white guesthouse with its leafy courtyard.

Vagator Night Market Goa India April 2004

5. Vagator Night Market, April 2004. This was my first Asian night market and I remember being totally bowled over by the sheer scale of it. At some point the three of us got separated between the tangled rows of market stalls, food tents and barbecue stations. When I eventually stumbled upon Phil he was flopped out at a seafood joint, his feet up on a chair, a beer in his hand… that mad doctor grin plastered across his face.

For more on my time in Goa, have a read through my short stories Butch Cassidy & The Cashew Kid, Lisa & Phil and Forty Eight Hours. All three tales are taken from my series Incidents in India.

You can also check out more My 5s from that long ago trip to India.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001, so why not check out my huge library of My 5s from over 30 countries.

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Freelance travel writer, voice over and English teacher from London. Former music and film journalist, interviewer of the stars. Passionate about travel, film, music, football, Indian food.

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