duration: 132h 17min
From the balmy heights of the Western Ghats around Mahabaleshwar we went down to the humid heat of the Konkan Coast. Dozens of streams from the mountains drain in the sea before forming a single river, therefore the topography along the coast is rugged with hills and vales.
Up and down we went for days - coasting to the shaded valley floors covered in thick jungle followed by sweaty climbs back up to the rocky and sun-baked plateaus, where the village people dry fish in stinky spreads and harvest hay for their cattle.
After a few days of this repeating up and down we decided to leave the small coastal routes in favor of the main road further inland to get quicker to Goa.
It was quite a culture shock when on the way to the first beach in Goa we passed by a blonde russian girl, only wearing thin strips of cloth around her waist and bust. More and more scantily dressed white tourists passed by - "Wow, this people really don't give a shit!", "What is this place?" where our thoughts.
After 7 months in asian countries where the dress-code is modest for both men and women and most of the body is covered, we had not been prepared for anything like that.
The tourists coming to Goa though are unaware/ignorant of the cultural difference and the local indian population appears to endure it with tolerance (When we asked what they think of it, it was answered with an uncomfortable smile and the words "This is Goa!").
Aside from our new prudish world view, we thoroughly enjoyed an extended holiday of 3 weeks on Goan beaches (Arambol, Ashwem, Palolem and Patnem) with westernized food and the comfort of not having to pack up and move on every day. I was so busy procrastinating that i didn't even find time to take cheesy holiday-pictures.
We attached another week in the ugly town of Murudeshwara/Karnataka, where i got a scuba license. Nethrani Island is 19km of Murudeshwara and purportedly the only place in India with water clear enough for diving.
I not only got my SCUBA license, i also learned that i'm prone to seasickness. After 2 days of training in the pool we went for deep-water dives around the island. There had been some heavy wind and the sea was rough with 3 meter waves on the first day. Like a cork our small wooden boat was lifted to the ridge of the waves, only to plunge down into the valley a second later.
Within minutes after leaving the beach i started to feel sick - and the transfer to the island was going to take another 1.5 hours.
I was struggling to keep my breakfast in, staring at the horizon to fight the vertigo and give my brain visual stability. But all my efforts to calm my confused sense of balance was pretty much in vain, i felt horrible and i just wanted it to quit. I soldiered through though and we finally arrived in the downwind side of the island where the water was calmer. But the sudden end of the violent motion of the boat was too much - with drastic force i retched up my breakfast of Masala Dosa and Sweet Lassi. Luckily i felt much better during the dives, thanks to the stable ground at the bottom of the sea. Coming back to the surface though caused another violent series of dry heaves (There was nothing left in my stomach at that point). During the theory-lessons of the courses our divemaster had explained that it was possible to puke through the second stage of the regulator (The piece that you put in your mouth to breath underwater), but i was glad i didn't have to try that in practice.
Taking some tablets and less violent waves improved the situation a bit on the second day, but i was still happy to get off the boat after successfully finishing the course. From then on i could no longer bear the smell of Dosa.