It’s awkward saying hello to your partner who you’ve not seen for nearly four months when you’re queer in India, they’ve criminalised gays and lesbians here so we could only greet each other with sort of an awkward hug which sucks when all you want to do is snog someone’s face off. I had no idea how Tarrant, my girlfriend, was going to deal with India during her three week visit. She’s not one for crowds and I didn’t know how she was going to cope with the constant staring and the fact she’d have to redefine her concept of personal space for a while. Beggars here don’t just ask you for money, they repeatedly tap you on the arms and legs if you say no to try and annoy you into parting with your money. Sellers are in your face, rickshaw drivers are in your face, everybody is in your face and it’s crowded and it’s noisy and it took me long enough to get used to it and she was only here on holiday so we did what any foreigner would do when faced with a short holiday in India and headed straight to Goa by sleeper bus as soon as she landed in Mumbai.
Anyway. First stop was Anjuna on account of it being conveniently located in the north of Goa. We jumped off the sleeper bus at Mapusa, caught a local bus to Anjuna and located Evershine Guesthouse which would be our home for the next four nights then headed to the beach to check out the bars. Not that I’m any manner of party animal, I consider 2am a late night these days, but Anjuna was put on this earth for people to get drunk on the beach whilst listening to music that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in clubs in the early 2000’s at volumes that would upset your ear drums if you hadn’t just consumed several large Romanov vodkas and had already started slurring your speech and drooling a bit. Seriously Anjuna, you’re so ten years ago. And I fucking love you for it!
It’s the kind of place where sellers offer you everything from bags and sarongs to marijuana and cocaine, and I have to be forcibly lead away from the big, hippy throw overs with the purple Oms and the incense holders with the little elephants on them, especially when I’m slightly tipsy. We spent our first night making our way down the beachfront and it was messy. Seriously. I have drunk selfies taken before 7pm that I don’t even remember taking, but it’s been so long since I got properly drunk and it was so good just to be able to hang out with Tarrant again I think we could be forgiven our excesses. I don’t think we made it too far past sunset before stumbling back to Evershine clutching half a bottle of vodka, a bottle of Thums Up and two plastic cups, all of which we totally got ripped off for, but you can’t argue when you can barely form words hey.
The following day we had big plans to rent a death trap on two wheels. Big plans. We were going to scoot around north Goa checking out beaches and stuff but as dehydrated as the cells that made up what currently passed as my brain were, they still managed to utter, “Are you fucking insane?” They had a valid point, I probably couldn’t even walk in a straight line right now, never mind maneuvere a scooter around potholes, cows, goats, tourists and vehicles driven by people with no concept of indicating or giving way. We decided to walk to Calangute instead on account of the fact I’d read it could be done over the headland. It was around midday when my basic motor functions had kicked in enough to manage to get dressed and we told the lady who runs the guest house of our plans. She looked at us like we’d just told her we were planning to fly to Mars on a pink sarong pulled by six magical flying elephants. It wasn’t the distance that worried her, it was the heat. Hmm. Yeah. Another valid point, we seriously hadn’t thought this one through ay. She suggested we take the bus like most normal folks do then walk back later on if we still had our little hearts set on it. Off we went, potentially dying of heat stroke averted, and ended up strolling along the beach from Calangute to Baga, marvelling at the novelty of cows chilling on the beach as Indian tourists marvelled at the novelty of white chicks walking down the beach and gave Tarrant her very first Indian “one photo, please” moment.
But it was a nice, chilled day though. Just what my liver needed and yes, we totally fucked off the idea of walking back in favour of having dinner in Calangute, but here’s the thing; you know you’re knocking on a bit when you’re looking for somewhere to eat and rule out anywhere where the music is at a volume your mother wouldn’t approve of. It’s finally happened. Yeah, we uttered those words: “No, not here, it’s too loud, we won’t be able to have a conversation.” We might as well invest in a nice pair of slippers to wear whilst we watch Midsomer Murders and talk about the price of bread of an evening ay. Calangute and Anjuna aren’t the kind of places where you go if you want a nice, peaceful feed whilst watching the sun go down though. It’s where you go if you want club music inserting forcibly into your earholes as you munch your curry and sip the Kingfisher that your internal organs have finally decided to permit you to consume.
We managed to find a place that chose suitably cheesy 80’s to cause maximum damage to its patrons’ eardrums which is a much less painful way to sustain short term hearing loss than club music circa 2004 and finished our day off with a nice, civilised(ish) dinner, head bobbing to electro as the fiery sky ball sank over the horizon and left little semi circles of light on my retinas because apparently, I will never, ever learn to not look directly into the setting sun.
And in other news, I totes got attacked by a dog again! When me and Tarrant were having a pre-bus beer in Mumbai I needed to use the toilet and I had to be escorted out the back of the bar by a man with a stick to the ladies on account of the dogs. One of them still managed to get its chops round my hand though, I managed to get my hand away before it clamped down properly but yeah. Talk about extreme urination. I’ve never needed a body guard just to go for a piss before. If you have any manner of plans to come to India guys, please, have your rabies shots. Bitey dogs are very bitey.
Anjuna, Goa, India
Stayed at: Evershine Guesthouse