We had planned to stay in Armabol beach in Jamaica’s beach lodge Cabo Wabo, who I met for the first time in Spiti . As we were visiting right at the end of tourist season, he was in process of winding down his operations for the season, but still was of great help. He arranged for a driver who met us on Madgaon railway station to take us to Arambol.
Even he was there before train arrived. Everything working better than just being on time !
Distance from Madgaon to our destination Arambol is about 67 km but driving there took nearly 2 hours. The roads and even highways in Goa are narrow and we were able to touch 60 kmph speed only for a few seconds in some small stretches. The Goan towns are just like other small towns elsewhere in India with a mix of old and new. Greenery and new constructions in competition all around. But the old houses are very beautiful, have a lot of greenery and plants and people seemingly prefer natural growth of plants instead of trimmed gardens with grass and flowers. I liked it a lot.
We reached Arambol in about 2 hours and were greeted by Jamaica, his wife and little daughter who had just turned 6 months old. We sat in his shack’s restaurant and enjoyed view of the sea and nearly empty beach. It was my first time on a beach but I waited for a while before going further. The train and road journey were a bit tiring and we wanted to wait for sun to go down and have something to eat. We had a drink of Teem, which I haven’t seen for a very long time anywhere else. After lunch , we went to our beach shack for a change of clothes and a short nap.
Armabol is a small fishing village in north Goa and is not as commercialised as many other places are. Most residents of the village make their living by fishing and earnings from tourism. A few have opened up fairly well stocked small shops, but nothing too fancy. People who own land near beach, rent it out to people like Jamaica who operate beach shacks, restaurants etc. from October till March. Rest of year is too hot or rainy for most tourists. A larger number of tourists come from Russia, but this season was a lean one due to conditions there.
After a bit of rest we changed our clothes, grabbed the camera and ran out of the cottage to the sea. There were a few people, a majority foreigners doing their beach things like enjoying a swim, running, making sand castles etc. A few were para-sailing too. The sand was hot, water warm and the weather was beautiful with white clouds, sun on horizon and only the sound of wind and surf. I don’t know how to swim and was carrying a camera , so couldn’t go much further. When you are standing in the water, waves going back take away sand from feet and feeling it for the first time was trippy and enjoyable.
First marine life that I noticed were small white crabs trying to hide in sand. Picked up a few and had fun scaring wifey with them. Don’t worry, I just put them on my palm to take a closer look and put them back in to the sea without any harm. Later on, we took a walk along the shore towards north. While taking pictures, I managed to get a bit of sand behind shutter button, making it stuck and the camera inoperable for a few days. Had to use the smaller point and shoot thing for most of the trip from that point onwards. After coming back from the walk, I put the camera back in shack and joined Jamaica and family on the beach. This time, we went a bit deeper and the waves were fairly strong which lifted us off our feet quite a few times.
Dinner was cooked by the skeletal staff which was there to help Jamaica with winding down operations and take care of a few guests still living there. Me and Jamaica sat down for a while and talked about business and what could we do in Goa for rest of the days. There was only one guest left in a beach hut and she seemed a bit reluctant to leave. Can’t say that I didn’t understand why. The place was too good. We were fairly tired and went off to sleep right after. After all is said and done, I enjoyed sea almost as much I enjoy mountains. Great day.