Travel: Beach Bummage 

I have nothing of consequence to note. Haha. As much as I love the backpacking culture of seeing and experiencing as much as possible within a limited timeframe I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it is EXHAUSTING. Traipsing around Central and Southern India with a friend that was native born-and-raised in Bombay has been uniquely authentic, but I am due for some serious R&R!

image

The exciting think about today is that a group of us from the hostel spent the evening exploring the Arpora Night Market. For me, it was very remniscient of Taiwan’s night markets, with stalls offering anything you could possibly want, in addition to the quintessential souvenirs.

image

The market sprawls over a large outdoor are and is only active and open during the main tourist season. Divided into a Lower, Central, and Upper Field, it is difficult not to get lost and overwhelmed by the crowds.

We browsed everything from traditional handicrafts to huge assortments of spices and teas. There were booths after booths brimming with Kashmiri carpets, Pashmina scarves, silver jewelry, and unique art creations. You name it and you can find it! There is also a food court centered around a stage that hosts an array of live music from Rock to Indian Classical.

image

I was both overwhelmed and in awe. It is impossible to miss the fervor in the air, and although similar to previous night markets I experienced as a child, the Arpora Night Market had its own distinctive character. It offered the diversity of a global experience without overshadowing the unmistakeable hints of a typical Indian Bazaar.

 

Advertisements

Travel: Vagator

This morning with a heavy heart I had to bid Nick adieu. But before he disappeared into the wind, he helped me secure a rigshaw to ferry me away to a hostel for the remainder of my time in Goa. Nick then hopped into a Taxi headed to the airport.

imageIt’s somewhat surprising that we are such good friends, with very similar travel philosophies, despite our colored past. You see, once upon a time, many years ago, we dated each other, and, as with many high school relationships, it ended dramatically and emotionally, igniting a rift in our social circles. But, as is typical with age and college, our friendship evolved and adapted to the adults we were becoming. Even today I still find some irony in our story. Nick is one of a handful of friends that sees the world and travels in similar fashion to myself.

image

But enough about our history! I am now on my own, savoring the rest of my days on Vagator Beach. Unfortunately, with the New Year’s traffic it took me over an hour to get to my new crash pad.By the time I had checked in and dropped off my luggage I was hot, sweaty, and tired. I used the lounge area to catch up on some blog posts, and after recooperating some energy, made the 10-minute walk to check out the beach before calling it a day.

image

 

Travel: New Years

Last night while walking amongst the crowds on the beach and celebrating the holiday, my butt got grabbed twice. The first time I thought it was an accident, but the second time I couldn’t help myself from turning around and shoving the guy behind me. Nick, ever a great guy friend, backed me up and the group of males backed off. It took me awhile to shake it off and go back to enjoying the celebratory atmosphere.

img_0215-1

img_0212-1

image

 

 

 

 

This morning, Nick and I slept in. We started off our morning with lunch consisting of traditional Goan Fish Curry and Fried Prawns. It was so tasty! After, we meandered on to the local beach and rented cots for the day to spend a lazy afternoon. We enjoyed quick massages from a peddler, and certainly couldn’t skip our daily tradition of Chai and Biscuits.

With a twinge of sadness we watched the sun dip below the horizon. This was to be Nick and I’s last night together as he was flying out in the morning to spend some time with his extended family in India. We celebrated our eye-opening Indian Adventure together by sharing one last dinner.

image

Travel: Winds of Mykonos

Windsurf

I had really hoped to get some Wind-Surfing practice in while on Mykonos; the nickname for this popular destination is Island of the Winds.   Unfortunately, none of my friends had any prior experience, not to mention the ridiculous pricing due to tourism being the primary foundation of their economy.

I was fortunate enough to take a class while I was finishing my Graduate Degree at Stanford University. Its only one of the many reasons that I love California, a state that is North enough for me to catch some powder in the winter in Tahoe and south enough for me to enjoy the beaches of LA.

2013-06-06 08.03.05

As we savored the sunshine and the privacy of the beaches, my friends and I decided to ‘throw caution to the wind’ and embrace the sexual openness of europe. Therefore we opted to go topless to balance our tan-lines. I definitely found it to be a strange experience, since I have never even gone skinny dipping before!

2013-06-08 09.44.23A lot of the beaches have small local restaurants that lay out lawn chairs for the beach-goers. The downside is that this means that very little sand-space is left available for individuals that choose not to opt for their food-service.

 

2013-06-08 09.37.17

Since our new friends and us were feeling ready for a snack, we embraced this. One of my more courageous friends decided to try the Octopus; after all, when one is in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea :P. I was just super excited to finally get a chance to savor Grecian Baklava. ^_^

2013-06-08 11.27.40

We stopped for some more photo-shoots on our way back to the beach-side hostel. The sun was just starting to set, and the shadows cast by the failing light just emphasized the natural beauty surrounding us.

C and I hopped on the ATV to treat ourselves to some gourmet seafood. Then we met up with the rest of our friends to experience the nightlife of Mykonos. It is classified as one of the 10 best party islands around the world! (I have to say though, it still didn’t live up to my Jersey Origins.)

 

2013-06-08 14.06.542013-06-08 13.59.59

 

 

 

 

Travel:Three Beautiful Days on Mykonos.

2013-06-07 07.13.15

Since I met up with friends from the US of A, my originally planned schedule was modified, and unfortunately this meant foregoing some of my days that were originally planned for Athens. On the bright side, we got to enjoy some lazy, hazy days under the Grecian sun on the beautiful island of Mykonos.

Approximately an 8-hour boat ride from the Athens port, who would have thought that the Greek Islands are so far from the mainland and from each other?!

2013-06-07 07.09.01

Nicknamed the “Island of the Winds,” it has a total area of 85.5 square kilometers and has an elevation of 341 metres at its highest point. Mykonos’ origins date from 3000 BC, as archeological findings suggest the presence of the Neolithic tribe Kares. However, the first real settlers,  the Ionians, did not arrive until the early 11th century. 

Historically, the island was a pawn on the board of the Mediterranean Sea.

2013-06-08 11.38.12

Originally under the reign of the Roman Empire, Mykonos became part of the Byzantine Empire until the 12th century. It then became occupied by the Ghizi overlord in 1205 with the fall of Constantinople  during the Fourth Crusade. By the end of the 13th century, the island was ravaged by the Catalans, and then finally given to the Venetians in 1390.

Fast-forward to 1537, when Mykonos was attacked by Hayreddin Barbarossa, an infamous admiral of Suleiman the Magnificent, resulting in occupation by the Ottoman fleet. The island remained under the leadership of the Kapudan Pasha until the 18th century when the Greek Revolution against the Turks broke out in 1821.

2013-06-09 02.35.16

Mykonos was central during this insurgence, led by the national heroine Mando Mavrogenous, an aristocrat who, guided by the Enlightenment, sacrificed her family’s fortune for the Greek Cause. Greece officially became an independent state in 1830.

2013-06-06 11.16.31

 

We finally arrived on the gorgeous island of Mykonos in the early afternoon. Grabbed some bites, and caught some Vitamin D on a gorgeous beach amidst a beautiful view of vibrant blue water.