The next day, we decided to explore the less frequented beaches up north and sought some help from our friendly landlords. After a power packed lunch at Britto’s Restaurant & Bar , Baga, we headed on what was easily my best evening of the trip. Britto’s deserves a genuine mention for the wonderful place they have carved out on the beach. Usually jam-packed at peak hours, the food was amazing, the bar is small and exquisite and the ambiance is as friendly as you’d expect in Goa. The place also houses some of the best desserts you’ll find in a restaurant in Goa and an in-house tattoo salon for the inexplicable urges several travelers experience to get inked while travelling in Goa.
The plan for the day was to cover Arambol, Mandrem and Morjim beaches. Arambol, also known as Harmal at 23 kms drive from Baga was the furthest away. The drive to Arambol is a thorough beauty. Cutting through picturesque, rural Goa, occasional mountainous terrain and narrow one lane roads was a genuine experience especially under overcast skies. As my renowned misfortune would have it, my scooty lost the oil-tank nut-bolt at some point during the drive, which caused my engine to overheat and shut down. Fortunately it decided to die right in front of a garage (beginner’s luck maybe?), which meant all it took was a 30 minute wait and INR 275 to get it fixed and running like a bau5 again.
Arambol is a genuine beauty. White sands, sparse crowd, bluish black water and a setting sun makes the perfect setting for any of you romantic couples out there. Pushed for time, we couldn’t spend much time at Mandrem or Morjim, but both beaches are just as beautiful if not more.
We returned to Baga after running out of fuel once and filling petrol sold in plastic bottles at general stores. A quick shower and we were on our way to one of my favorite places in Goa – St. Anthony’s Shack & Karaoke Club . There are plenty of karaoke clubs all over Goa – one on every day of the week, but St. Anthony’s by far is one of the best karaoke hubs I have ever been to. Extremely receptive patrons, really well organized karaoke (in my 4 visits to this place, not once have I noticed them guys struggling with the equipment or the software). The organizers themselves are brilliant singers and at some point during the night, they will launch into a medley of Goan folk music – and then you will be be wishing the night never ends. We brought in my friend’s birthday at the shack, the waiters were kind enough to arrange for a small cake from a neighborhood bakery since they do not serve dessert on the menu. After singing my trademark U2 song and dedicating it to the birthday boy, we decided to call it a night and retired for the day.