Few cities inspire dozens of movies and songs about them like Goa. Seven years of waiting came to an end as the Soliton family of nearly 200 people started to this amazing city on the 21st November afternoon. Blasting “Goa” song on the bus’ loudspeakers and packing up sunscreens & hats we started our journey. Shoranur, Kerala came after four hours and we came a little closer to our dream city.
Sitting in the Railway station and having a simple dinner is an authentic Indian experience and Shoranur gave that to us. The train journey started as Solitons joined together chatting up, listening to “stories” and……. playing MAFIA. It was an amazing journey with lots of dance and hours of blackmail-worthy data collected on each Soliton. Night rolled into the day as we reached our destination from where we took a short bus ride to our resort. The journey matters as much as the destination – this could be understood if someone had witnessed the journey we Solitons had. A warm welcome awaited us in the ‘Paradise Village Beach Resort’ where we checked in and headed to the beach.
Sometimes, the sea can be heard first before we can see her (sorry Physics), but our resort’s private beach was calm with a gentle lull and was perfect to swim in. Immediately after reaching the resort, a lot of us couldn’t resist and swam around till we were tired. We had our Thanksgiving lunch and went to the beach again. Water games were fun & adventurous and left us hungry for dinner.
Dressed up for dinner, we had our meals with everyone. What’s an Indian get-together without dance and music? Dancing started as the dinner ended. For around two hours as we kept dancing, the circle got larger as more Solitons joined. The enthusiasm was so high that even a couple of tourists joined us in dancing to the Tamil beats. P.S. If someone’s suffering from insomnia, prescribe them this day’s activities. Sleep came easily as we looked forward to another day.
Who wouldn’t want a boating trip to an island that promised us dancing dolphins ??? Excited and energized by the good night’s sleep, everyone was ready for the upcoming day. A short bus ride brought us to the dock where we boarded for the trip. Wearing life jackets, we started in our boats towards Grande Island. The guide explained a couple of landmarks on the shore- Aguada fort and the Billionaire’s palace. The guide was an experienced person, evident from the way he lured seagulls using samosas.
As the boat moved farther from the shore, we saw the dolphins..! We anchored and a few of us dared to take a dip in the sea with the snorkeling kits. Floating on the surface as you look into the depths of the ocean; it makes you feel tiny and was a unique experience. Bonus: Some of us got to experience cuts from sharp corals and jellyfish stings. Then came fishing which tested our patience and we even caught a few small fish.
We played, swam, screamed and ran for a while before lunch. Soliton group photographs were taken, seashells collected and we hopped in (literally as there was no proper dock and we had to jump into the boats) for the return ride. Tired from all the swimming and running, most of us took a quick nap. Dozing off with salt water on your hair and skin to the gentle hum of the boat’s engine and the crashing of the waves- 10/10 would do it again. The day ended with a proper dinner and a nice warm campfire.
A trip to Goa would be incomplete without visiting it’s old churches, forts and strolling around. So, we stopped in to visit the famous ‘Basilica of Bom Jesus’. We had enough time to explore the church grounds, nearby museum, and the huge bazaar. Lazing around in the Goan sun and relaxing in the grass grounds of the basilica makes for many memories & much happiness :). Don’t forget the sunscreen – a lot of Solitons learnt it the hard way. Lunch at a Tamil hotel was great and we started to Madgaon Station- few creative Solitons suggested that the name “Mad-Gaon” would have been better. The return journey started as we said goodbye to Goa and started for Shoranur. “Go, Goa, Gone”. The mangrove forests, shorelines, and tunnels slowly passed by as the return journey started.
“Adieu for now, till our next Annual Thanksgiving Vacation 2019, to explore yet another beach”
The breakfast for the final day was arranged at Shornaur, where our train journey ended. Everyone felt much better after the great South Indian food and the pleasant atmosphere. The entire arrangement was a perfect end to a perfect trip. Finally, we reached Coimbatore on Sunday afternoon and said our goodbyes as we moved back to our homes.
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