We caught a taxi to the nearby village of Siolim, putting Arambol in the rearview mirror. There we enjoyed a fish thali and wandered across the street to admire the church, the only noteworthy site in town, we’d been told. We arrived just in time for a funeral, the first time we’d noticed a Christian presence in India. From there we headed to Anjuna for the evening, where we enjoyed a stroll along the waterfront esplanade which appeared to be constructed of gigantic concrete jacks and inhabited by thousands of crabs. Though also a touristy spot, Anjuna Beach had a slightly different flavor than Arambol. Its beach boasted bigger waves, much to David’s delight, and Indian tourists for a change. We treated ourselves to a couple of Kingfishers, the beer of choice in India, and enjoyed a tasty dinner at one of the tourist restaurants.
The next day we took a taxi to Panjim (also called Panaji), the capital city of Goa. On the recommendation of our taxi driver we ate one of the best meals we’ve ever had in India – in the bus station cafeteria. We never would have guessed from the appearance of the place that such a gastronomical delight was in store for us. We enjoyed the all-we-could-eat thalis and Gonzaga tasted his first samosa, obviously an exciting discovery.
When on a neighboring table Gonzaga spied a frothy green beverage, he indicated the universal “I’ll have one of whatever that is” to our waiter, and was surprised to discover what exactly a “pista falooda” is. A sweet beverage concocted of ice cream, milk, lots of green food coloring, chia or basil seeds, and vermicelli (yes, tiny noodles in a drink is as weird as you might think), then topped with raisins and chopped cashews, it was a bizarre dessert. Presumably there was some pistachio flavoring thrown in there too, as the name suggests. Gonzaga and Austin couldn’t really decide exactly how they felt about it but decided they probably wouldn’t need another one ever again.
We didn’t go to the bus station just for the food (though if we’re ever in Panjim again we certainly will) and got on an overnight bus to Hampi. This overnight bus was different from all the overnight buses we’d taken before and surprised us with its significantly smaller sleeping compartments. Gonzaga had difficulty squeezing into his teeny single berth and spent the entire night trying to find a comfortable way to fit all of his tall height into his short compartment. This proved impossible. We arrived 8 hours later in the total darkness to a town we knew nothing about, without a plan or place to stay. As we do.