The Great Escape

Rediscovering life in Palawan Philippines

Photos from the Shoebox: Vagator Beach Goa 1990

If you had a 35mm camera you probably have a shoebox full of pictures that you never got around to sorting and putting in an album. In this series “Photos from the Shoebox” I take them out of the closest and shine light on them once more.

One of my best friends and I decided to take an epic journey through South Asia. This is what you did back then when you were young. You took a few months off to discover the world and yourself. We took this crazy bus from Kathmandu to Goa where we got separated and I ended up living on the beach for 3 days with Milan, the driver, his ‘sidekick’ and his dog Pango. These excerpts from my travel diary show how a wide-eyed 22-year-old observed the world in 1990.

We finally made it to Goa!

December 20……We finally made it to Goa! It’s quarter to five and I’m sitting in a restaurant in Vagator Beach waiting for seafood Milan ordered amid a bunch of German freaks who haven’t escaped the 60’s. It’s really quite interesting……

Our German Bus to Goa and my 'hotel room.'

……The rest of the bus except for the Japanese girl and I got off in Calangute. The beach is nice – not crowded at all. Guys wear sarongs and some of the girls go topless. The local men just go around gawking at everyone. The sea or ocean? is beautiful, especially at sunset…..

Ramdas Swami's Dummy (No not me!)

…..There’s a dummy that sits in the corner and a sign that says ‘No Drugs Please’ but of course that’s ignored. It’s really a small and quiet place with few luxuries including a toilet or running water but that’s better I think – communing with nature….

We share the beach with the cows.

December 21…..It’s 7:30 in the morning and I’m sitting here overlooking the beach. Only a few people are up. The local women are busy cleaning their restaurants. Everything is so peaceful and quiet…..There’s not much to do here besides swim, walk, eat, drink and sleep….

Ramdas Swami Bar and Restaurant

…..The name of the restaurant is Ramdas Swami Bar and Restaurant serving Indian tandoori, Chinese and continental sea food. Last night was crazy. We started drinking Feni then Milan borrowed Ramdas’ scooter and we went to Anjuna…..This old guy Baba served us the Feni and he joined us for a few drinks. He’s quite the character…..

View of Vagator Beach from Chapora Fort

…..I’m back now from riding a motorcycle that Milan borrowed from a friend. Was it ever fun…..We rode to Chapora and walked up to the fort. The views were beautiful and the breezes were so refreshing…..We can’t find a bike to rent…..

Milan the crazy Nepalese driver.

….. Milan told me about his time in jail and how they tortured him so that they would get a confession signed….December 22…..I couldn’t believe the amount of Indians (who were of course fully attired from head to toe and carrying cameras) on the beach but then I remembered it was Saturday – a holiday…..Tomorrow I meet Janice, just when I’m starting to get into the swing of things but I’m glad to be moving on.


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3 thoughts on “Photos from the Shoebox: Vagator Beach Goa 1990

  1. I was also in Vagator in winter 1990/91, Ramdas´ restaurant was my favourite place (beside Bluebird) and I stayed in a hut just next to the restaurant, at Salvatore´s place. I have lots of similar photos, and one is still hanging in my living room: Ramdas´ little daughter, sitting on the floor eating dal – I still love it 🙂

  2. Ramdas on said:

    I know it well, I ran the restaurant for Ramdas in 82/83. I also know Milan very well, and stayed at his house in Kathmandu. These photos bring back many old memories, I hope to be back there in mid October this year, (2013).

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