Chapter 2: Holiday in Goa
19th February 2015. 12:30 PM. I was feeling hellish, hungry, and hungover. After the drinking and puking session the night before, it was time to head over to IBW. Even though I was to ride over a 100 km during the day, I decided to do it in my chaddi and T-shirt. I remember the last time I went there, I entered the venue straight after the ride. The next 5 hours were spent dragging my luggage and full riding gear all though the dust and the puke and the spit and the shit.
Yes, I don’t always follow what I preach.
It’s quite surprising IBW doesn’t provide any place to keep a rider’s stuff, especially considering the fact that people would pay out of their ass to NOT haul their jacket and bags from the beer counter to the toilet all day long. It’s almost like IBW doesn’t want people showing up in riding gear, probably because it’ll make all the Harley people look like assholes.
Anyways, I started from Gavin’s house late in the afternoon, and immediately got lost in the bylanes of Benaulim. I always find it funny when local Goans tell you to take the left from the next main intersection, because when you do reach this mythical “main” intersection, it looks neither main, nor an intersection.
After a lot of U turns and GPS confusion and asking around, I finally got onto the road the leads to Madgao circle. There was a Y junction there, and I turned my head left to see if I could proceed. When I turned my head back to right, I couldn’t see shit.
My left contact lens had come out of my eye.
Some of you may know that I wear RGP contact lenses, without which I can’t see anything that isn’t rubbing against my nose. The thing with these little bastards is that they sometimes just randomly leave my eye and go around on a casual walk around my face. Such cases have happened many times to me, and I’ve been extremely lucky to have always found the lens without dying.
My right eye is scarred, the left one is the good one. I do always carry backup lenses, but there’s no way in hell I could’ve kept riding my bike with only the vision from the right eye.
Fuck, this is bad.
I could feel the lens on my cheek, just below the eye. The last time this happened, the lens drifted inside the helmet lining and it took me an hour to find it. I didn’t want that to happen again.
I needed help, someone who could provide me a flat surface to remove my helmet on. The only thing around that I could see was a sugarcane juice dude. I rode the next 50 odd meters with my head perfectly still, like there was an antique China vase sitting on top of it. I reached the stall, there were a few kids and some other people sitting around.
Parked my bike, slowly got off, slowly pushed my head inside the stall, slowly opened the visor, slowly removed the goggles, and I saw the lens stuck inside the plastic frame of my shades. Holy shit that was close! I looked up, laughing, and everybody around was staring at me like I was playing with my genitalia on a public road.
Now that I could breathe again, explained to the stall owner what the fuck was going on. He was quite amused, and so was a little kid sipping juice next to me. With one hand I held onto the goggles, keeping them stable and straight, with the other I took off my helmet. All I had to do now was to put the lens back inside my eye.
That’s when a strong gust of wind hit me from behind.
RGP lenses are small, much smaller than the ones you usually get in the market. You can easily make it fly just by blowing at it lightly, gale force winds were definitely not something I wanted around me at that time.
The stall guy was very helpful. I asked him to clean a small area near the glasses and he did so swiftly. I tried picking up the lens with my right hand, but it was too dry and just kept dancing around. Asked the dude if he had some water, and he pointed to a whole can right under me.
Put a few drops of water on my right index finger, picked up the lens, used my body to shield against the wind, and jammed it in again.
I looked up, the world was back in view again! Thanked the juice fellow, got back on my bike and rode on. I wanted to buy some of his sugarcane sugarness just as a sign of my appreciation, but after last night’s events I really couldn’t try my luck with roadside shit.
A tale of epic stupidity:
I am really keen on changing my motorcycle, quite tired of the 390 and the way it controls me now. There have been many such instances where I got into dangerous situations simply because of the bike. It’s just too finicky, too rough, too sure of itself. My near-accident this time around however, was possibly the closest I’ve ever been to crashing.
My chain was making weird noises, and was so loose it looked like a cow’s vagina. I tried fixing it on my own, but the bloody screws just wouldn’t budge. I knew there was a KTM service center somewhere near Panaji, so I thought I’ll ride till there and then check what the address is. After 30 kms of Goa traffic, I reached the edge of Panaji city and checked the KTM website to see what the location was. It said Margoa, and I had no idea where that was.
There were a few policemen ahead, and I asked them for help. Turns out Margoa is Margao, the place from where I just came. If I wanted to go to an ASC, I would’ve to go back 30 kms. I was not in the mood.
Went ahead and found a shitty little repair shop near Mapusa. He took a good 20 minutes to fix the bike up, and then I was ready to go again. I was on the right side of the road, and had to cross over to the other side to keep moving towards Vagator. I was on that road in Mapusa that’s lined by beautiful coconut trees on both sides. What I did there wasn’t all that beautiful.
There was traffic coming in from both sides. I saw there was a small gap in the people coming from right, and noticed that there was a slow-moving truck and a Zen Estilo coming in from the left. I needed to cross over, and then get into my lane before the divider started. It was a very tight space to push into, but I don’t know what came over me, I went for it.
As you can see from the diagram, I cut into the left lane, and then tried my best to go as fast as possible to avoid hitting anyone coming from behind. The problem was that as I was accelerating, I saw a Verna coming from front. To give him some gap, I drifted a bit to the left. Then I noticed that the divider was quite close, so I drifted into the left some more.
I looked into the left mirror, and saw the Estilo’s right headlight almost touching my elbow.
It was completely my fault. The place where I barged into the traffic was a highway, so cars were doing pretty decent speeds. When I started my move, the truck driver in front of the Estilo slowed down for some reason. This caused the Estilo guy to go right to overtake him, which meant that he found me on collision course right in front of him.
He came upto my left and lifted his arm in the air. I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but I think he said:
“Dude! I almost hit you! What the fuck were you doing?”.
I instantly knew it was my mistake, so I raised my hand in an attempt to apologize. I am extremely thankful to that guy for the fact that he gave my life a little importance, even though I sure as hell didn’t. He could’ve very easily scraped my bike, sending me straight into the divider, and all the while taking no damage to his machine.
I slowed down and stopped on the left side. If the Estilo guy had stopped, I would’ve profusely apologized to him. Hell, if he had asked me to gargle his balls and swallow his load, I would’ve done that too. It was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done, and I have no idea why I did it. I would like to blame my bike, but then it was me who twisted the throttle.
Fear of the dark:
I had too many people to meet at IBW, so it got quite late while returning. I started from Vagator around 10 in the night, and made it to Margao circle around 11. The housekeeper had given me an easy formula in the day to go towards North Goa.
Left. Left. Right. Left. Right
Now that I’d reached the same spot where my lens had popped out in morning, I had to reverse those directions and make it back to bed. I didn’t want to trouble Gavin or the housekeeper, but when do things ever happen the way they are supposed to?
Going by the above mentioned formula, the first turn I had to take was a left. I reached that junction, and saw that it was not a normal 4 way intersection, but a disfigured 5 way. There were 2 lefts that I could take, which one should I?
Eenie meenie miney mo..
I wonder where my bike should go..
Randomly took a turn, went ahead, and found myself looking at a dead end. It was late, and there were very few people around. Found an ice cream guy, who asked me to go back and then take left. Okay Siree!
I reached another dead-end.
There was a restaurant called Mickey’s, and there were 2 guards sitting in front of it. One guy was young, other was old. Seeing that I was completely fucked, I called up the housekeeper, who was sound asleep. I told him I’m at Mickey’s, and he said he had no idea where that was.
Gave the phone to the young guard, who gave it to the old guard. The housekeeper told the old guard where I wanted to go, and then started 15 minutes of detailed directions that would’ve shamed even Google Maps.
You go straight from here.
You’ll see a T junction.
If you go right, you’ll go to Colva.
You go left.
After the left if you take the first left, you’ll go to the beach.
Don’t go there.
Cross that left and you’ll reach an intersection.
If you go straight, you’ll reach Navelim.
If you go right, you’ll reach Margao.
Take left and then go straight.
After that you’ll find a Y junction..
I kept nodding to him, put on my helmet, got on my bike, pushed the starter, and then just rolled away. I think he kept giving directions for the next hour or so. Probably the universe was listening to him.
After another few minutes of bouncing around, I finally found a dude walking and asked him or directions. While he was telling me that, another guy on an Activa showed up.
Where do you want to go?
Benaulim Petrol Pump.
And he just bolted! I didn’t understand if he wanted me to follow him, or he just dumped me, or he was running away from me. I tried to catch up with him, but on those tiny Goa roads he was pushing 85 on his Activa! It was impossible for me to stay with him, and I felt really weird, like I was a child molester and he was a 8-year-old boy. At one point I was really convinced he was trying to escape from me, but then he suddenly slowed down and gave me a signal.
You see this road?
Go straight on it. No lefts. No rights.
After about 2 kms you’ll see the Benaulim petrol pump on your left.
And that’s how I made it back home. If you think the adventure was over, wait!
I still didn’t have dinner.
I was starving, hadn’t eaten anything solid since morning. I remembered the place where Gavin had taken me last night, and thought will go there and eat some shit. Reached the place, and there was some stupid party going on.
Some giant family had taken over the entire area, laughing loudly, talking loudly, and singing loudly. There was a screen and some speakers at front. The screen was playing some lyrics, and somebody was singing. It was like a karaoke session, but an eerily weird one.
I thought I’ll just take a seat, the songs will end sooner or later.
1 song. 2 songs. 3 songs. 4 songs.
I got up and asked the hotel people if I could take my food to the beach. They said yes, but then never really brought me any food. So after about 20 minutes, I ran away and tried to find another place to eat some shit.
There was a restaurant just next to this one, but it was full of foreigners. I didn’t really want to spend a bomb on dinner, and didn’t want to eat anything fancy. So after roaming around on the sand for an hour, I was on the road again, trying to find a place to eat.
And then I lost my way again.
I have no idea how it happened this time. The road was pretty straight forward, a fucking child would’ve remembered it. I suddenly found myself surrounded by unknown territory, but I kept going on. After about 3 kms of riding, I didn’t see any place for dinner. So I backtracked, found my bearing again, and then got to a place that was open.
Had a lousy dinner, most of which I had to throw away, and then got back on the bike.
And then I lost my way again.
For a guy who travels a lot, I really have a very bad sense of direction. I had to take a right, but for some reason I just kept going straight. After a few kilometers realized my mistake, and then finally got back to the guest house around 1.
Maybe it was because of night, maybe it’s the Goa roads that suck, or maybe it’s me who’s a lame sissy, but I had good fun showing up in places at ungodly hours and surprising people with my queries. Next day again I lost my way a few times, but definitely didn’t break yesterday’s record.
After 2 blissful days spent in utter luxury, it was time to take the unemployment ride onto Bangalore. That was an interesting journey too, the story of which I’ll share in the next chapter!