India Diaries: Day 1 – Goa first impressions

  1. Holy moly!
  2. Breathe
  3. Aaaand Go…

I survived my first day solo in India…I was afraid, I was awkward, I was triumphant. I insisted on saving some money and catching a bus from Dabolim Airport in Goa, waiting around 2 hours for sunrise and the first buses of the day, constantly hassled with taxi and motorbike offers. I left my sweet smile on that plane, and replaced it with a permanent stern shake of the head. If you know me at all, you’ll know I’m definitely not the stern type, so my face is exhausted. 6 weeks of this may leave me in need of some comedic relief and a botox appointment.

I took one look at the bus that was going to take me into town, and decided on a taxi. Relieved that I’d hung around until sunrise, I tried to soak in every bit of scenery that zipped by as the taxi driver raced, hooted, hooted some more, overtook on blind corners, drank his juice and spoke on the phone. The country before my eyes was like a South African informal settlement cross palm tree beach from Survivor cross Portuguese architectural jungle.

After arriving at a guest house at Calangute beach, I caught a few z’s and then headed for a walk through the main street and onto the beach. 3pm sun and I’m sunburnt. I could get used to this. I got lost on the way home because I forgot to look for some landmarks, but somehow found my way back in time for a swim in the guest house’s gorgeous pool and a cheesy garlic naan.

Calangute is definitely not the touristy paradise I expected, and because it’s not high season yet, the temporary beach huts and restaurant/bars that probably give this place more of a touristy scene are only starting to be put up.

I did however have an absolutely amazing eye-opening day, and I know for sure this is going to be an incredible adventure.

Day one lessons for solo female travel in India:

#1 Leave your sweet smile at home.

#2 A prepaid taxi from Dabolim airport to Calangute beach will cost you 900 rupees.

# 3 Don’t compromise on safety to save money.

#4 Don’t get in a taxi that has no seatbelts.

#5 Don’t stay in a mixed hostel dorm (I changed my booking to a single room).

#6 Don’t worry, be happy.