eliot & drew bike through india for 3 months, trying to inconspicuously do some good in the world.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

More Goan Daytripping

Awake and looking for more adventures around Panaji (pronounced, inexplicably as "Panjim"), we rode 5-6km to a ferry crossing and took a boat over to Chorgao island. there, our tourist office map informed us, was  bird sanctuary. it turned out to be, in eliot's estimation, "a mosquito sanctuary" but the fresh air, bizarre mangrove formations and a few herons actually made it almost worth the 50Rs they asked for entrance.

we took the ferry back and covered the remaining 10km or so to Old Goa, site of some Big Catholic Church and some Other Big Catholic Church. we opted for one, snapped some photos, looked at paintings of old Portuguese dictators and decided to skip the Other in favor of some food which was less-than-fresh. stomachs full (of what, i cannot say) we biked back to Panaji, read, packed and had two last beers - turborg and a kingfisher i believe - before hitting the sack. tomorrow would be a long one.

we awoke early, and i felt like crap. more accurately i felt like i couldn't crap, but i'll spare you the details. suffice it to say the short 15km or so to the train station was grueling for me - it was early, i was tired, i felt bad and i had nothing but a 14 hour train ride in "sleeper class" to look forward to. the picture painted of sleeper class by the guide books is bleak to say the least. the term "cattle car" leaps to mind. the words "grim", "noxious" and "unbearable" are close behind.

we jumped a train from Panaji to Margao with some confusion with the porters about the bicycles. a few bills and about a thousand pieces of paper saw the bikes safely onto the train. everything in india works on bureaucracy and none of it is in the least bit efficient. rampant, rank inefficiency is the name of the game here. you often have to speak with a man to get a form to requisition the paper work to get a meeting with the guy who can fill out the form to get you into the office of the guy who you end up paying 100Rs. to look the other way. it works, eventually.

anyway, we had 3 hours to kill at the Margao train station - Margao itself is nothing to see. we bought some american comic books (spiderman, batman animated series reworks, and (best of all!) old reprints of conan the barbarian from marvel). we read, snacked and had no less than 15 cups of tea. the train station restaurant was less poor than expected.

in time, we boarded the train to bangalore. little did we know what we were in for.

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