August 2008: Gordon Brown was fumbling around the prime minister’s office, the English football team were halfway through their four-year hiatus from tournament football, and I was enjoying that lovely little window between graduating and getting a proper job. So I decided to travel to Goa, oblivious to the fact it was the height of the monsoon. On arrival in the sleepy little fishing village/seasonal resort town of Benaulim I realised why it was so quiet, save for the relentless thudding of golf ball-sized drops of rain. The beach resembled coastal Norfolk after a period of chronic global warming, complete with packs of stray dogs. There wasn’t an orgy enthusiast-populated tepee in sight. It was massively disappointing.
It’s taken nearly six years to return, but here I am again in Benaulim. I’m alone, there’s no power and my stomach is spinning right round baby right round, but before I tell you more about the wonderful time I’m having, let me take you on a journey. A journey to north Goa, a land of hippies old and young, drugs hard and soft and Russians unfriendly and unfriendly. Oh, and where I have spent the past few days. Or rather tried to.
To make myself feel better I hired a moped - no questions asked - and scootered on down to the crowded beach, where I was approached by approximately 20 drug dealers in quick succession. This impeded my ability to find a little patch of seaside sanctuary, a task that was challenging enough given the plethora of drunk Russian men in impossibly-tight swimming trunks. Fuck this, I muttered to a tag-along stray, before heading back to the guesthouse, sleeping, waking up, and catching a taxi to Panjim, the state capital.