I sit here waiting to go down to Cochin in Kerala and looking back on the last 2 days in Goa can only be described as a surreal but worthwhile time.
I got into Goa about 3 hours late due to us being on the edge of a tropical storm. I didn't see any of it as I slept through it all but the flooded train tracks told the story for me. Therefore, I got into Baga for about midday. My reason for choosing Baga as my destination in Goa was because I read that it was the party capital of India - I wouldn't actually know that because I spent all of my drinking time in an old man English pub!!
I met 3 English lads who were staying at my hotel and on the first night I went our for food with them and they were telling me about this old pub where a load of ex-pats and people who come out here for 6mths at a time drink; the added bonus was that it was a Spurs pub and I could watch the match that was on that night (a nice 1:30am kick off).
So the lads took me to this pub where I met Craig the landlord, Barry the bookie who runs a book on all the games and in his spare time he also makes Scotch Eggs which he sells in the pub!!! There was Noel, who worships the sun and the women, he was about 60 but had a couple of birds at home in their late twenties (so he says). I met a few other blokes as well, they all live out here for the English winter and all they do is drink every day - not a bad life.
So I am watching the Spurs game with Barry and we are talking about this and that. He asks me where I am from and I explain originally that I am from Leicester but moved away for uni etc. He turns around and calls over a bloke and introduces me to him because he is from Leicester and of course we all know each other. It turns out that I did know him, and I used to know him very well indeed.
It took me a couple of minutes to realise who I was looking at but it was the dad of my best friend from birth up until about the age of 12 (although I need to mention that during the last couple of years of this period I did meet Stu 'The Pooh Bear' Hayden who would go onto to become one of my top homeboys and I still hang around with him today - love you pooh!).
Colin (my mate's dad) sat next to my dad at school and then they were drinking partners during their teens and early 20's. Myself and Ben (his son) were born a couple of months apart and were inseparable until we went to different secondary schools.
The reason that this was such a surreal experience is that unfortunately Ben died in his mid-20's in a car crash and I was unable to make the funeral (probably the only regret I carry around with me), so I had not seen Colin for about 20 years. Even more poigniant was being reminded that of the group of about 7 of us that went through nursery and primary school together and would hang out at Colin's house is that only 4 of us were still alive by our mid-20's too - something I am all too aware of.
So we had a good booze up and talked for hours about the 'old days'.
Yesterday I spent the day at the beach, not much to tell except that the water was lovely and warm.
In the evening I had the option of either going to a club and trying to pull some Russian birds (unlikely) or going for a roast dinner with Colin and his wife. I chose the latter, it was bloody lovely, and then they took me to play bingo at the 'local' that I had frequented the night before. It was really funny, they still use all of the 'legs eleven' bingo lingo. We then carried on boozing and watched more footy until the early hours.
Like most people there, Colin and his Mrs are out here for 4 mths at least - my aim is to be able to get myself a job that allows me to do this.
However, I couldn't get on the lash like they all do every day. Colin was drinking half pints of Brandy mixed with Port and I saw him have about 8 of them - that is hardcore, and that will be the pattern 7 days a week for the next 4mths - that would kill me, but fair play to him.
So that was Goa. Not the big party I had hoped for, but a really good two days none the less.