Bharath Darshan- Day 3: AG Office/Goa Shipyard/ Baga Beach

Today was yet another fantastic day. Goa keeps surprising me everytime I visit her. In the morning, we had our scheduled visit to the AG Office in Goa. Goa AG Office is perhaps the smallest AG Office in the country, whatwith Goa being the smallest state in the country.

We met Mr. Ashuthosh Joshi who was very cordial and amiable in our interaction with us. He shared with us his experiences as an officer trainee, his varied experiences in different roles in and out of the department, and even mentioned how his batch was the one which made sure that Officer Trainees could go back to the academy before they proceed to their respective OJTs.

Previously it used to be such that each officer trainee would pack up his stuff from Yarrows, which would correspond to roughly 7 bags and then proceed for Bharath Darshan. His batch had a strength of 27 ( of which 24 remain) and therefore this meant 189 bags which was infeasible. Hence it was agreed that they wouldn’t have to carry all their bags for the entire duration of¬† the trip.

He was also intrigued when we mentioned that most of the OTs in our batch had held a job previously. He was even more surprised when he saw six doctors amongst us (We were not. We were by now accustomed to this reaction) After the chit chat, we presented the customary mementos and left AG, Goa by 11 AM. Our next destination was a visit to the Goa Shipyard Limited.

Goa Shipyard Limited

Goa Shipyard, located on the banks of River Zuari, is one of India’s best performing Shipyard. Owned by Government of India and Mazagaon Docks, it is India’s largest exporter of ships by number. The Shipyard produces ships for Indian Navy, Coast Guard and even other countries like Mauritius, Shri Lanka etc.

@ Goa Shipyard Limited

GSL is located in the Vasco Da Gama Area of Goa, which is a large township. In addition to this the shipyard is also located at an environmentally vulnerable area. This makes it difficult for the existing infrastructure to be upgraded. Thus, even though the expertise to develop even aircraft carriers and submarines exist, the shipyard chokes with the lack of infrastructure. A modernisation process is underway at the company.

A completely paperless company, GSL is also a mini ratna company. When I asked the director the question whether GSL would also go for public issue in the future, I was greeted with a broad smile.

We were taken to the Steel Preparation Shop, Ship Lifting Control Room and shown the facilities. The Supervisor at the Steel Preparation Shop gave us a brief on the process that goes on there like the priming, rolling and cutting of steel. At the lifting area, we were shown one of the techniques that was used to lift the ship and place it into the building area.

Following the Shipyard visit, we were to resume with more fun activities ( not that shipyard wasn’t fun.) In the small gap that I got between lunch and getting ready to proceed to Baga, I plunged into our hotel pool for about half an hour.

Baga Beach, Calangute

If the south Goa beaches are synonymous with peace and serenity, North Goa beaches throb with life. Baga beach is very crowded with may be thousands thronging the beach in any typical day during the season. We were put up at Cosmos hotel, and after having some snacks decided to proceed to try out water sports. Our office had arranged for 2 water sports that we could undertake officially.

Now for every water sport, there are two rates. For example, if I were to get a ticket for jet skiing, I would be told that I can ride the jet skii for a 100 metre into the sea and come back, or negotiate a rate with the pillion ( who is one of the organisers) to proceed for 600 more metres. Even though it is a pure rip off, many of us decided that it would be worth trying out these things atleast once. However, do bargain with the guides like anything. We made the mistake of not bargaining during the first time.

Jet SKiing
Jet SKiing

I went for the jet skii and the banana boat. Both were first time experiences for me at Goa. Jet Skii, rides like a bike and my pillion did show me how to do some stunts. However, the highlight was the banana boat, which is tugged to a machine boat and then taken into the sea. On the way, it is toppled and then you can swim for some time in the sea. I loved the whole experience. It was too much fun trying to swim in the open sea.

I feel Goa is the perfect place for a couple or anyone who wishes to unwind. Its truly the land of beaches, booze, bikes and bakeries.

Tomorrow

We proceed to Bangalore next, from where my batch will proceed to Hampi by tomorrow night train. I will be proceeding to Delhi, following the Official activity at Bangalore. I have a medical test scheduled by the DoPT as part of my Civil Service Exam, 2016. Following this, I will be joining the batch at Hyderabad, on 1st morning. Hampi being a place I have visited before, I try to console myself saying that I will not be missing anything. Truth be told, it will never be the same as visiting it with my batchmates.

 

Bharath Darshan- Day 2: Palolem Beach

Today our schedule was completely dedicated to just one thing. Visit to Palolem Beach. Palolem Beach, located in South Goa, is almost the southermost point in Goa. Go just 10 kilometre further south and you will reach Karnataka. I had come to Palolem in 2012 with Lekshmy, during which time it was very underdeveloped and was afar from the crowd and rush typical of many Goan beaches. Even though the crowd is still not too much today, it was not recognisable to me as the same old one.

From Angels Resort, where we stay in Goa, to Palolem was a two hour drive. During the entire length of this journey we engaged in Dumb Charades. We reached Palolem at around 12. We had booked 2 rooms at a beachfront resort and our lunch was also scheduled there. After having lunch, one by one, we slowly proceeded seaward.

My new waterproof camera was put to test during this time. We were able to click a lot of in-water pictures, which otherwise would not have been possible. We stayed in the water until atleast 2:30 after which the lunch was served.

At 4 PM we proceeded for watching dolphins in the sea, in 3 local boats. At Palolem, you can see two islands jutting out of the beach into the sea. These islands known as Monkey Island and Honeymoon Island can be accessed via boat ( and by land also, I think). Our dolphin spotting needed two-three round in circles in the sea following which we were able to spot a huge dolphin emerge from the water. Another very interesting visual was that of huge packs of seagulls in the sea.

Once we spotted the dolphins, our boatspeople slowly turned towards the islands. We circled the monkey island where I could see a very serene beach. There were only a few local people on that beach. A perfect spot for lovers, I should add. Moving forward, we saw the Honeymoon island, which also had a rocky beach. We alighted there for sometime and then proceeded back to our resort.

We waited in the easy chairs outside the resort to see the beautiful sunset and soon proceeded towards our stay at North Goa. Today was better than yesterday, where the cruise in Mandovi ruined it for us. This opinion was shared by most of us. I was reminded of the “duration neglect” and “peak enjoyment” principles that Daniel Kahneman talks about in his book “Thinking Fast and Slow” as far as our perception of yesterday’s experience goes.A good day got a bad name, just because it ended badly.

The beaches in Goa, when compared to Kerala are comparitively more rocky. Peppered with granitic rocks, there are considerable amount of cliffs along the Goan coast. Besides, the beaches are not straight as you would see in most beaches of Kerala. Palolem is a relatively calm beach with not so strong waves, and is comparable with Kovalam in Kerala. Kovalam, however has a better cliff which is topped by a beautiful lighthouse. And compared to the shacks that you find near the beach in Palolem, in Kerala you have even a five star property that is beach facing.

Another noticeable thing about Palolem beach is that it is a drive-in beach. Kerala has only one drive in beach, which is Muzhuppilangaadu. I do not know if there are other drive in beaches in Goa, but Palolem definitely is one. Though, there seems to be some restrictions in taking the vehicle into the beach for safety reasons. I saw only a jeep coming into the jeep, which I suspect belonged to one of the locals.

Overall, Day 2 of the Bharath Darshan was a very enjoyable experience. Tomorrow we visit the Accountant General, Goa and then proceed to Goan Shipyard and then to Baga and Calangute beaches. Looking forward to an even more eventful day to top off the Goan leg of our journey.

Bharath Darshan: Day 1: Goa

Our End of the Phase I Bharath Darshan study tour kickstarted yesterday. We left our academy at 9 pm by our academy bus, which chugged along and managed to reach Delhi Airport at 7 AM. Since our first desitination was Goa, and our flight was not scheduled until 11 AM, some of us proceeded towards the Lounge. ( Yes, many of us had actually applied for credit cards just so that complementary lounge access could be used during the Bharath Darshan. As far as I was concerned, I had complementary lounge access on my credit card ever since I took my Credit Card 7 years ago.

The flight boarding happened in time. However, there was a slight delay in the take off, and the captain towards the end of the flight would go to lengths to explain this delay as having been caused by the Air Traffic Control in Delhi Airport. I sunk myself into the latest Rolf Dobelli book that I had purchased for the entire duration of the flight.

@ Delhi Airport
@ Delhi Airport

We reached Goa at 1:30 pm sharp. Our office in Goa was cordinating our stay and arrangements in Goa, and were outside the airport expecting us. We were handed out the itinerary that we would be following for the next 3 days during our stay in Goa. This was my first time in the Dabolim international Airport, Goa which is one of the numerous army airports operating in the country. (Bangalore used to be one. Pune still is one)

Once all of us was out of the airport, we were taken to the Bogmallo beach resort to have our lunch. The Oval shaped beach and the surroundings are well captured in the environment of the resort making it a very good place to hang out. We had buffet dinner and then played around by swinging in hammocks that were kept outside by the sea side. Once we were done with this, we proceeded to the Old Church  ( of St. Francis) in Old Goa.

The Old Church, located in Old Goa is one of the oldest basilicas in India. I found an odd connection with the Church. The school in which I studied in, St. Josephs, was founded by the Jesuit fathers belonging to the Society of Jesus, which was founded by none other than St. Francis of Assissi’s best friend, Ignatious Loyola. Because of this connection, I have read numerous stories of St. Francis of Assissi in the monthly religious magazine that was circulated in our schoold, Snehasena. Nevertheless, being a place that I had not visited during my previous visits to Goa, the Old Church interested me.

Museum next to the Basilica
Museum next to the Basilica

Once we were through with the Old Church, we proceeded to Mandovi river, where we were supposed to board the River cruise. I should say that I was expecting this to be much fun because during my college trip to Goa, I had been to one of these.There used to be a bar and a dance floor in these cruises. However, this time, I found out that much has changed and the dance floor has been replaced by a stage program. The cruise was altogether a forgettable experience and waste of time. We came back to Angel Resorts, where we are staying at around 9:30 PM. Tomorrow is again jam packed with much exciting events and I am looking forward to each and every one of them.

PS: Something that truly disappointed me today was that the swimming pool was closed by the time we reached back at the hotel.