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The Home Stretch... Happy New Year!!!!

Goa, India

sunny 30 °C
View Last hurrah!!! on csomera1's travel map.

My expected ETA back to Chicago was actually December 22... and throughout the whole trip, was convinced otherwise that it was sometime after the New Year. Haven't been home for the holidays in the last 3 years... Goa now, the Philippines last year, and Argentina the year before. I really wanted to be home and celebrate in the snowy Chicago scene like any proper wintery holiday, go ice skating on Skate on State, and ring in the NY at the Drake again. But let's face it, the snow in Chicago turns a disgusting gray, it's too freaking cold to skate outdoors, and the Drake will always be there as it has for the last 100 years. So Ellen and I laid out all day, trying to get back the golden tans we had back in Thailand. We ate at Dylan's, a seaside restaurant and had an amazing paneer korma and manchurian vegetable dish. India LOVES Chinese food and have their own take on it... slightly spicier but delicious. Great dinner. We then went to Dancing Shivas. a beachside club to drink, listen to music, meet some peeps and have some good conversation. We ran to the beach a few minutes before midnight to watch the fireworks... and before we knew it, it was 2008. They didn't have a countdown so Ellen and I had our own. So funny... we officially realized it when it was 12:02AM.

Superstition has it that whatever you do on New Year's Day is what you do the rest of the year. Well, Ellen and I spent it on the beach all day. So does that mean I'll be lazying around all year? Hope not... made some New Year's resolutions, and have been really good about upholding them each year... running another marathon, doing the triathalon, yoga, meditating, doing more cultural things, cooking and reading more... blah blah. But our Goa schedule has been 9am breakfast, 10:30am tan front side, 12noon roll over and tan back, 2pm lunch and lay out some more until 4pm. Today, to reward ourselves for doing absolutely nothing we got an ayurvedic deep tissue massage. 90 minutes at Achu Massage Center. Mentholated tingling oils for your head. Then he rubbed every part of my body in a warm oil. I mean every part... had to tell him to miss a few spots, otherwise I think it would've been called foreplay instead of massage. Had to wear my wedding ring for that one, just so he would'nt get any funny ideas. But it was nice and deep. I didn't realize how tight all my muscles were, even on my arms... the brachioradialis, which we learned in school was the "beer drinking muscle" Hmmm... I could see why that one was soar. Haha.

I start my journey home on January 3. Fly from Goa to Mumbai. Either wait around for 10 hours at the airport, or haul my crap to a nearby hotel, risking the Mumbai traffic and the taxi drivers that rip you off, and checking in somewhere for a few hours. Don't want to waste the money, but Ellen said whatever I spend on a hotel I'll probably end up spending at the Duty Free at the airport. Then a 22 hour journey from Mumbai to Moscow to Toronto to Chicago.

But here are some Goa pics...

Palolem. Cute little beach on the southern end of Goa. Cows roam the streets. Pigs running around. Small Tibetan and Nepali stores around. Hawkers selling drums and sarongs on the beach. Lots of Westerners and hippies. Has a real down to earth feel about it. Palolem is supposedly the most beautiful beach in Goa. Looks pretty, with its coconut trees lining the beach and cute little bungalows nearby. But there are lots of dogs that do their deeds right on the sand. The Arabian sea's water is really warm but didn't go in it past my knees cuz it's pretty murky. And there are lots of Indian men walking around just to take a look at you in your bikini. Gross. So our solution... eat breakfast at a restaurant with a nice scene and good food, lay out on their beach chairs, get served cold drinks all day, don't go in the water. And enjoy! If this is the best beach in all of Goa, I wonder what the rest of them look like.

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This is our bungalow hotel room. We were going to splurge a little bit and stay at the 7 star Intercontinental Resort. A couple hundred bucks a night wouldn't have been so bad between us. It was New Year's, after all... but the rates of the Intercontinental went up from the usual 200 USD to a whopping $650/ nite. So, we stayed at Shawnel's Beach Resort. A 2 minute walk to the beach. Cute colorful little bungalows with AC and a TV. Friendly staff. The power goes out at night sometimes when you're taking a shower and you have to keep a candle lit nearby. But that's India for ya.

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Here are some New Years pics. Getting ready for the New Years... not exactly our best dress, but New Years in India on the beach... you can wear anything you want. The fireworks and Dancing Shivas, the club we hung out at.

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Holiday decorations at our guesthouse.

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Beach pictures

What we did for 3 days straight... laying out.

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Indian woman on beach in Palolem. I was sweating profusely in my bikini. But the locals are dressed from head to toe in layers of fabric without a bead of sweat on their brow.

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Bittersweet to go home. The day my ticket was booked, I panicked a little. Holy crap, my adventure will be coming to an end. I'm not really looking forward to consolidating my student loans and starting the 541298 year process of paying them off. I'm excited for my career, but not too excited to start the job hunt. (I did get suits tailor made in Vietnam, though, for that specific purpose.) Not looking forward to the dead of winter when I get back, especially when our Bears are losing so horribly. And I feel that I've changed so much but everything at home will be the same. Comforting in a way, but... I don't know, can't explain it. Honestly, I can't bear the topics about, "look at my new car or condo" or "this is what's going on at work" or "I did absolutely nothing while you were away." Not that I'm not interested. Afterall, "to each his own." But I can't summarize my 3 1/2 month journey in a similar way. But now that the end of my trip is near, I'm kinda excited. To lie in my own bed. To wear my warm flannel pajamas. To drink a decent cup of coffee. To get a haircut. To go to dinner at Iberico with everyone. To watch a Bears game. Ahhh...

Posted by csomera1 06:02 Archived in India Tagged backpacking

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