My last week in Goa was so lovely and quiet. I spent it at a yoga retreat called Ashiyana's, in a small little beach village called Mandrem. The beach was long and almost entirely deserted, it was so refreshing. My days consisted of 2 hours of yoga in the morning from 8 to 10, followed by an amazing breakfast. During the day I was still beach bumming and taking nice long walks with the sand in my toes. Id stroll back for yoga from 4 to 6, and then have a beautiful dinner. The food at this place was so clean and healthy and good for me ( I could even drink the filtered water STRAIGHT out of the tap)! After dinner there was chanting and meditation. I was asleep almost every night before 10pm. There was a a few nice things that went on, like the Saturday Nite Market in Arpora, where I healthily treated myself to a few lovely new peices. I also had a great Ayurvedic massage, ya know cause I was so stressed out an all, LOL. The place was recommended to me and I would easily recommend it to anyone looking for a rejuvenating and healthy boost for the body and soul.
My next stop was Hampi, in the next province of Karnataka. The journey itself was epic. The taxi to get from Mandrem to Mapusa (pronounced Mapsa) was 400 rupees and since I had being doing so well on the Goan local buses i knew i could handle. I had to be there at 6 to catch the overnight bus to Hampi so I left Ashiyana's by 4 giving plenty of time for the hour bus ride and then some. I navigated myslef to the main road away from the small village, being offered numerous taxi rides along the way. A few guys even tried to convince me the busses dont run Sundays but I know these guys and their cheeky ways so I trucked on. It was mid day scorthing heat, somewhere in the high 30s but i was determined. I got to the bus stop and managed to confirm with a locallady i was headed the right way for Mapusa. After half an hour (I guess they dont run as frequently it being Sunday) a rickety old bus pulls up with people hanging out of every door and window and the guy pretty much laughed at me and he hauled the one woman waiting at the aside of the road with me onto the bus and just shook his no. I was sooooooooooooooooo ANNOYED! Defeated and deflated I had to walk back tot he village, dripping in sweat and succomb to one of the snickering taxi drivers. Great start.
After lots of mucking about in Mapusa the bus finally filled with a handful of backpackers and only made its way to Panjim, further south to exchange busses and load us somehwere else. With absolutely no coherence, the Indian way, we eventually got on our way and made a few stops in random dark villages to pick up a few straglers until the bus was full. No joke, less than hour into the overnight journey, while most people had already passed out we broke down. I was sharing the tightest little double bunk with a lovely girl from Byron Bay (the 2nd person in my life that ACTUALLY comes from Byron!) and it wasnt until about 6 the next morning when we finally got up and mosied outside to start chatting with other passengers and figuringout what the hell was going on. Long story short, dead battery and no one around that spoke Hindi so we all were hot and tired and wondering when and how we would be rescued until after 10 in the morning when a new battery finally arrived. Almost 12 friggin' hours stuck on the side of a dusty dirt road with nothing other than a chai shop to tie us over. What a trip. Once the bus was fixed we got back on the road to continue the epic journey (though i should mention as soon as the bus started running, the driver and his lackie decided to sit and have their chai at the stall, we were all seething). Oh, and just to make the jouney even more fun, every toilet stop we hit, lacked actual toilets. In a 24 hour journey not ONE toilet, pop-a-squat was the only option. So many hours and so many stops later we slowly rolled into Hampi just as night was falling. The from there we banded together as a group, heckled with the rickshaw rivers as they swarmed us when we got off the bus and zipped through town to catch the last boat ferry over the river.
In complete darkness, we piled on the boat bags and all and FINALLY made it to a small little road full of guest houses, over 26 hours from my intial departure from relaxed and sleepy Ashyana's.
The best part of the journey was hooking up with my bed share partner from the bus, Marlee, and the 2 Ozzie girls she was travelling with. We banded together the way people do when they have shared a traumatic experience together! I ended spending my whole week in Hampi with the girls and it was so nice to have such good company. So even though the journey was exhausting and dirty and soooooooo long, I wouldnt have changed a thing, everything happens for a reason!