It was a complete impromptu decision for my family to go on a Goa vacation while we were vacationing at Bangalore (Bengaluru). The year was 1988 and those were the days with no internet, no cable television and very limited telephone connectivity. The plan was impromptu but with the lack of proper information meant that it was heavily dependent on information from friends about the various options. We planned to travel by train but the main problem was that there was no direct connectivity from Bangalore to Goa and we had to change train somewhere in between.
A prospect of bathing in the sea was always a good idea to me and I was looking forward to it. We boarded a train in the evening and were supposed to reach our first halt from where we would catch another train. By the time the train reached this place it was past midnight and we hurriedly got down from the train. Surprisingly our co-passengers who were also travelling to Goa did not even bother to get up just peeped from their bunk to see us scramble all our luggage’s to get down.
Our connecting train would leave in another ten minutes so we almost ran towards the ticket counter to inquire about the platform from which our next train would depart. Once we reached the ticket counter we got to know our platform and were also told that the train had already arrived and would depart shortly so we would have to hurry. Without wasting any time we ran to the platform to board our compartment.
In the 80’s train travel was an adventure in itself especially the train stations. Most of these stations were the good old days where nothing had changed much over the decades. Limited lights, no announcements over loudspeakers, paints almost faded with time etc. In the dark, we somehow managed to locate our coach once we entered we were in for a shock we had boarded the very train we had got down from a few minutes earlier. At this moment our co-passenger finally got up and remarked “Why on earth did you guys get down if you had to board the same train? This train goes all the way to Goa and it’s just that the train name and number changes from this station as coaches from other destination get merged here.”
It was a good adventure that you can say how our Goa adventure had begun. I was honestly quite young then but remember some incidents quite vividly from that trip. First of all the sea was something which I was seeing for the very first time. I have been to several trips to Puri which was next to the Bay of Bengal but the Arabian Sea was something really different. I still remember that on the first day we bathed in the sea for nearly three hours till sundown. And after that, it was food fest to the next level. Giant lobsters, crabs, coconut pudding, and grilled fish the list went on and on. In the 80’s Goa was not the popular destination of choice for the Indian middle class thus the crowd were very less and most of the beach resorts which were a bit far away were almost surrounded by virgin beaches and coconut trees.
We hired a car from our hotel for a tour around Goa and we were provided with the classic Premier Padmini which was the Indian version of Fiat 1100. We visited churches, beaches and forts around the town. Once the sun came down it was back to fun and fiesta. During the 80’s surprisingly the Hippies were still in Goa, often I would see foreigners with long hair and colourful outfit. Most of them were living in Goa for years and were regular to these night outs at the small restaurants that dotted the beach side.
One particular incident which I remember vividly was an elderly English couple who had come to the hotel reception where we were staying to inquire about their missing daughter. It still remember those words “I am searching for my daughter who goes by the name Hanna, H-A-N-N-A, the last that we had heard was that she was in Goa around six months back and most probably had stayed in this hotel. She is a Hippie you know, you have any information about her?”
Apparently, those were the decades where American and European Hippies would flock to Goa to enjoy life, as they say since from rest of the world Hippie culture was disappearing whereas in Goa it was still there.
You might be wondering as to why I am writing about a family trip which I had taken in the 80’s well to cut the story short I just received an invitation to come to Goa to attend a conference and would be staying at a place called Baywatch Resort Goa which surprisingly has similar view of the sea when I had visited this place three decades back. Though this pace has a pool I would comfortably spend hours bathing in the sea instead.
I somehow can’t stop deciding in my head what all I would order for lunch and dinner. Will try to locate the place where we had originally stayed and click photos in the same places where we had clicked. Just the only difference would be that I would not be hiring a car instead would be hiring a scooty and driving around town with just my camera and the other big difference would be that it would be the year 2017 and not 1988.