We headed to our final destination – Baga Beach. Thanks to SA’s encyclopedic knowledge about Goa, we knew that North Goa would definitely be more crowded and more happening than South Goa. It was unfortunately so crowded and happening that our rooms were gone before we could get to our hotel. Instead of two non A/C rooms priced at INR 800 each, we ended up with one AC room for INR 1750 and one non AC room for INR 900. The hotel was located close to a river and not bang on the beach. Plus the rooms were not particularly deserving of the money we were paying. Still, the holiday season was clearly catching on and we were lucky to get what we had. The guys, to make up for days of getting the best rooms, let us have the AC room. Given how much we were paying, PR and I were determined to use the AC even if we died of pneumonia in the effort.
All of us were quite tired by now. Throughout the trip we had relaxed a lot but not really slept. So with nothing to do till dinner, we crashed. When we woke up, it was nearing dark. Following our usual beach routine, we left for the beach to hunt out a good shack for dinner. After a while of walking about, we realised that we actually seemed to be headed toward’s a particular shack. And when we entered this shack, everyone present greeted SA effervescently, beginning with the Nepali manager. SA had spent time in Goa during the off-season and had clearly been a source of entertainment for them. Not only was the service good, but we also got great discounts. The place was not too crowded and you could a clear view of the stars if you cared to crane your neck in the right angle.
Being the last night of the trip, we had decided to do something that would mark our reentry into civilization with a bang. SA’s encyclopedic knowledge became the guiding light again. Post a nice break for desert, we headed to Club Cabana.
The place was set on a hilltop and had a laser on display that could be seen ten minutes away. It had three levels – a disc on one, a pool on another and a middle one which was some kind of an exclusive affair. The nicest thing about it was the fact that it was open-air and despite the huge turnout, gave everyone enough space not to tread on each others toes. This compared extremely favourably with discs in Mumbai and Chennai. The discs in these cities are usually enclosed rooms with too many people drinking and smoking at the same time and the ventilation struggling to circulate air - the kind of places that makes you wonder why historians crib so much about episodes involving lots of people locked up in the same room without a window et al. So we were all quite thrilled. Plus once you paid cover, you did not have to pay separately for the drinks (However given how cheap drinks are in Goa, one would have to get really really drunk to recover the cover charges). We tried dancing for a while, but the DJ refused to play anything other than some variation of hip-hop or trance or house music. Apparently the world had moved on but SA, PR and I were still stuck on rock and pop. The dance floor, strangley enough, had a combination of middle-aged white people and Delhi kids, rocking with enthusiasm. I was beginning to suspect that they had probably recovered the cover charges they had paid.
We eventually moved to the next level and plonked in one of the beds set on a cliff overlooking the city. The night was beginning to get slightly colder and we were a little drowsy. The Club was however was getting busier and busier. Even as we watched one of the middle-aged white lot decided that it was a perfect time go swimming and promptly jumped into the pool. Anyone who was has ever seen MTV must be familiar with a show where people dance pointlessly in very cool looking open-air clubs. Most of them look too high to be bothered about the fact that dancing all by yourself at the edge of a pool looks weird. I had always wondered if people were capable of such things even in real life. Apparently they were.
We chatted for a while, contemplated going back to the dance floor and then decided it was too much of a bother and just continued soaking in our role of anthropologists. Finally around 3.30 a.m. we decided to call it a day and headed back to the hotel. It had certainly been a long night and everyone went out like lights.
The last day of any trip is always a little sad. You don’t want the vacation to end but you know that in a couple of days you would probably get tired, so it was good to quit while you were ahead. Or atleast that’s what we told ourselves. Down and tired, SA and I set out to hire a car and pack some lunch. As we waited for lunch to get ready, we plonked ourselves on one of the tables by the beach and I ate a well-made caramel custard to commemorate the excellent tucking in we did throughout the trip. The beach was getting ready for yet another day - tourists were walking about, getting a tan or trying out water scooters. The restaurant owners were beginning to get ready for the noon time meals. Everyone was relaxed and happy. I sunk into the feeling for one last time and watched the west coast waves continue their calm, never-ending trip to the shore, delighting a new bunch of visitors. My holiday was over and so was my caramel custard, but I knew my memories would definitely linger for a while.