I am hearing a lot of interesting noises again – birds that hoop, hiccup and some other that squeak like a gate needing oil. I’m sure some of the noises are made by monkeys howling too.
Breakfast was chilli packet soup with Bombay mix crunch on top, served with the usual cotton wool fluffy white doughy rolls that mother would be proud of.
I met Adam in Paj, where the women were hanging up silver fish on racks to dry whilst the crows looked on hungrily. Adam tells me he went to Goa in 1971, and remembers Woodstock well. A crowd of younger lads listen in to our conversation and mimic his laughter, rather cruelly I thought, but Adam takes no notice. Adam treasures post cards from Dutch and German travellers he has hosted in the past – all looking very faded and one I spotted was dated 1999. I will have to send him some new ones for his collection. One of the minxes that was taking the Michael, also zeroed my bicycle computer – so doing some quick calculations I estimate I’ve done 10miles or so today.
I decide to stop for lunch at Murud beach, despite it being off my route slightly, as I’d been told it was a ‘good’ one. It wasn’t particularly. There were a few stalls set up to serve snacks – and the accompanying rubbish strewn around. There was a large crowd of young lads having a lark, strutting like young cockerels and showing off to each other. Then there was a gang of dogs behaving much like the boys. And cars. Not at all the quiet idyll I’d been looking forward to. I felt like going for a swim so stuck my t-shirt over my swimming costume to avoid the audience. After I’d been for a swim, a man approached to tell me that this wasn’t a good place for me to swim, because these were the ‘wrong sort of people’ who were ‘talking about me’ (in a derogatory fashion, I presume). Well – the warning came a little bit too late as I was already getting ready to leave, and I wasn’t that bothered because I couldn’t understand what they were saying anyway.
Onwards and upwards. I was pushing Rowenna up the incline to Dapoli when I met Darren! The first cycle tourist I’ve met in ages, and he was from Ireland. He spurred me on to greater efforts and we got to Dapoli in no time.
Transpires he’s been following in my wake for the last few days – always just missing me. Both Sushan in Harihareshwar and the guy in Murud had told him I’d passed this way. It was great to compare notes about the Indian experience with another European. Darren is a 31yr old Engineer who’d resigned his job to have a great adventure – like me, he hadn’t really done much cycling before – but, unlike me, he’d been cycling around India for the past 3 months – and travelled in the North in Kashmir and around Rajasthan and the holy cities of Vishipress before heading down to Goa. He’d thrown his bicycle on a couple of buses – which was useful information to know. He also wanted to cycle to Myanmar and had been in communication with someone at the embassy. It all looked to be going smoothly until he heard that he had to have an ‘overland permit’ which looked impossible to get – hence the change of plans and journey south. I had decided not to try and get to Myanmar from India at all – and was going to approach from Thailand instead.
WE had supper together and got rooms at the Top of the Town Hotel – I fear I talked too much! There was wifi too – slow, but there – so a little blogging done.