Turned out to be a day of mostly driving. Left Ratnagiri in the morning, with the intention of reaching Gokarna. I would eventually stop at Karwar.
But first an anecdote: I went to a fuel station to get my car tyres pumped up. This is a free service but I tipped the attendant Rs. 10. He asked me to wait; he went to his cabin, and came to return Rs. 5. Why? He thought ten was too much. WOW! I smiled and asked him to keep it – he had made my day.
My first stop was Malwan in the Sindhudurg district. Reached after a five hour drive – again beautiful no doubt.
Got to see the imposing Sindhudurg Fort from the beaches in Malwan – wanted to and should have taken the boat across for a closer look but the heat was getting to me for a change.
Drove around the area, with its multiple beaches – mostly untouched with clear water lapping at them. Bliss if you are looking for solitude.
And then I was off – after a while crossed into Goa. And was booked by traffic cops for putting on my seat belt after I spotted them. If I had not tried to put it on, I could have sailed like all others.
People go to Goa for its beaches and shacks and to party and get high – I just felt good with an espresso and cake. And drove on.
As aside: I suddenly braked on a busy road intersection, confused where to go. A biker almost crashed into me but, instead of letting out expletives, grinned and carried on. Goa is a happy place.
A little down the road, someone braked likewise in front of me. I scowled in full fury – and then checked myself remembering the biker. Should learn to take it easy myself!
It was getting dark by the time I left Goa – and driving through the forested hill roads was a setting straight out of a horror flick.
The road was dark, lit occasionally with headlights of vehicles. It was very silent. The moon was almost full but it was spooky nonetheless. Imagine when the rains are lashing this road, there is no moon and you are alone. Give your imagination a free run.
At the Karnataka border, the cops asked if I was carrying any liquor. I don’t drink, I said with a proud grin. Taxes on liquor in Goa are much lower than in Karnataka and the authorities want to stop any cheaper imports lest they lose revenues.
But the cops were perplexed – my car was full of stuff, I was alone, driving from faraway Delhi – something had to be amiss. Three cops questioned me separately before finally waving me on!
As I reached Karwar, I came upon a decent hotel – might as well spend the night here and look around the place in the morning. Before carrying on to Gokarna.
Ajay Jain is currently on the Great Arabian Sea Drive, starting from Delhi and following the coastline all the way from Gujarat down to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Follow all updates on:
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