Information: The Konkan Kanya Express travels between Mumbai and Margao (Madgaon) station in Goa. The train leaves Mumbai CST station daily at 22:50 and takes 12 hours. It’s often late. 3AC tickets cost INR800, INR1200 at Christmas time.

I’m sitting at the end of the outside platforms at CST, Mumbai, waiting for the overnight express train to Goa. It’s scheduled to leave at 22:50. The information board tells me it will now depart at 00:20. Time to sit, wait and write.

Every year hundreds of visitors to India spend the Christmas and New Year period around the sun drenched and beautiful beaches of Goa in southern India. This former Portuguese enclave has a more relaxed attitude that the rest of India. Over the last 20 years a party and general traveler scene developed around the beaches of Goa. The pinnacle for these travelers is the 3 week period around Christmas and new year.

The hundreds, possible thousands, of visitors will relax, drink, smoke and dance at the all night parties. Prices, as well as visitor numbers, explode during the holiday period. Young, and old, visitors from Europe, Israel, USA, Australia and elsewhere fill every possible bed in India’s smallest (and wealthiest) state.

I had no idea it was such an event. During my 6 week visit to India I thought it would be nice to spend the last few weeks by the beach, especially as it will be Christmas time, and Goa is mainly Christian.

It wasn’t until I was in India that I realised it was such a pilgrimage for backpackers and travelers. This means I will find it harder to find accommodation, but it should be a fun time. I can always head south to Patnem beach, the most southerly and one of the quietest beaches, if it gets too much.

The train still hasn’t arrived. My adventure to Goa started yesterday, with the hassle of buying a train ticket. On my way here today, after agreeing a price with the taxi driver, he tries to avoid giving me my change. When I ask he says he doesn’t have any. Doesn’t have any change? Taxi drivers rely on having change, it is their currency. I find the right money and pay him, without giving my normal thank you. The hassle of India have got to me a little over the last few days. But don’t get me wrong. A couple of hassles amongst endless delights is fine by me.

So, I’m waiting for the train, at the platform which strangely smells of fish. I guess it hasn’t rained in a while. I’ve been bitten by mosquitoes, and just saw a mouse crawling on someones bag. I hope Goa is as good as I hope.

Posted by theDar

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