Today was one of those frustrating days you get sometimes while travelling.
It started well. Another great breakfast and then we took a stroll to a nearby temple. Unfortunately it was closed but we were rewarded by the sight of a Mongoose scurrying across the path in front of us. Many people consider seeing a Mongoose as a sign of good luck so we were pretty happy.
We then walked on to another temple by the sea-shore which also happened to be closed. (Easy life being a Temple Priest here!)
On the way back another two Mongoose (Mongeese, Mongii….. not sure of the plural form) were spotted. Now revelling in our good luck and contemplating buying lottery tickets we headed back to the beach for a swim.
After a good lunch we headed north towards Gokarna on the National Highway 17. Coconut trees gave way to Cashew Nut Trees as we headed further North.
Cashew Trees were brought to the region by the Portuguese in the mid 1500’s and are grown for both the Cashew Nut and the Cashew Apple. The juice from the apple is extracted, fermented and turned into the alcoholic drink called Fenny which is very popular in Goa. Definitely an acquired taste but if you are used to drinking Petrol then you may find it to your liking.
Cashew Nuts drying in the sun
Gokarna is a famous Hindu Pilgrimage Town and is also famous for it’s beaches, perhaps the most famous being Om Beach which is shaped like the Om Symbol.
We reached by late afternoon and headed for the guesthouse we had found online. However finding it to be less than suitable we decided to look for something else. Although clean, it was not mosquito proof and access with luggage was difficult to say the least, involving as it did, a jungle trek followed by an abseil down a cliff (OK maybe a slight exaggeration).
We continued down to the beach to look for another guest house. Seeing a tanned Westerner with flippers in his hands emerging from the surf we approached him and asked whether he knew of any good places to stay. He named the place we had just turned down and then chuckled and admitted that he owned it! Changing the subject quickly we asked him to recommend somewhere to eat and then headed across the beach to the beach-shack restaurant that he pointed out.
Entering the sand-floored shack and waking the waiters sleeping on cushions at the back, we sat down and ordered some snacks and pondered our options. 45 mins later the food finally arrived and after one mouthful we realised that it would have been better if it hadn’t arrived at all! Deciding that the Westerner’s taste in food was worse than his taste in accommodation we abandoned our plates for the second time this trip and headed back up the cliff to our car in search of something edible and a place to spend the night.
After a quick check on Tripadvisor in an Internet Cafe we headed for another highly recommended place. Upon seeing the room we realised that we were again let down by Tripadvisor ( come on reviewers, are you blind!!??), but by this time it was dark, we were grumpy and tired so we took it and reassured ourselves it was only for one night.
We went to the Hotel restaurant and ordered a terrible dinner which we again abandoned in disgust and cursing the luck of the Mongooses, hit the sack, exhausted, hungry, and not entirely enamoured of Gokarna.
Hopefully tomorrow would be a better day. It couldn’t get any worse………..
But as you will soon see, it would get much worse!!