–By Mackelroy Barreto, an avid mountaineer/trekker and a marketing professional with 15 years experience joining us on this exciting climb up the Himalayas.
Timely Trekkers.Untimely Coach.A tussle between Baffled Bianca and ‘I-am-so-cool-with-a-smile’ Coach Driver.
There’s a mob under the bridge. Some familiar faces. Some pretty, and some new.
There’s Pretty Dame In Black, standing tall. All by herself. No one’s poaching.
Selfie Sam, Ash-Tush, Earth Scientist, Monk and Mack (“same, same”) nuzzle pleasantries and (yawn) humor.
We gleefully give right information to a happy chap with clip-board, taking our details for a trek we aren’t going to. Bianca is amused about the same meeting-point space under the bridge, being cannibalized by other trek-organisers. One fish from the other trek wakes up from dream and hops off our moving coach. Bianca gulps another baffling morning.
It has only begun.
We roll. Earth Scientist offers seat to Pretty Dame In Black but fails to take The Monks’ bait of “…introducing her friend.” Stating, instead…”I don’t remember any of my friends’ names.” Din’t I say? Baffling morning!
Fireflies in front.The medics in the middle.The sundry in the back of the bus.
We are in the South. Aaron’s white jeep bursting with colorful trekkers. Bus is packed. Andrea is fast asleep.
The FIRST BOOM! Bus tyre-puncture No.1. Just another day of Baffling Morning.
Designer Dame shares stories with the Monk. Starting afresh in Goa, she has left behind the noxious make-up of the capital city. A horde of clowns practice stretched faces and take pictures of the two engrossed story-tellers.
We reach Cotigao. Bianca’s usual lecture for the wild, threatens litterers and drinkers n smokers. We set out, finding our way in the sheets of white rains.
Mr. Bean leads the pack. Big Boy G entertains the gang. Monk is missing.
Big Boy G slinks back, contemplates meditation before preaching as a guest lecturer to the Monk’s disciple.
We walk a flat straight through the forest. Lazy hills peeking with white falls, Misty clouds like soft cotton around the green rolling hills. Meadows in the middle. Trees surrounded by space, posing like maidens. Twisted vines like drapes on an emerald gown.
Calm-Talker Ash-Tush splashes water on Beanie-Man and Big Boy G gets told he’s Third Class Fellow. Hooligans – he calls the rest of the noise-making buddies. The Tush escapes with a clean record. Big Boy G is roundly blamed.
Bianca scolds the noisy party. Filipino Em gets serious and marches on quietly till the village. Guide joins. Uphill climb is simple, narrow and muddy. Tree roots jut. Vines jump. Sheets of rain pour. The forest is foggy…
Big Boy G roars inconsistencies. Curses, sputters and fumes when leeches wriggle on his toes but preaches calm, “…when attacked by leeches” to others. Brings down hanging vines throughout, playing a non-visible Tarzan.
Beanie-Man reinvents himself as the Pain In The Arse (PIA) – Vyn is emphatic that this term best describes him. He sharpens his social niceties with world’s most famous Sure-to-Fail opening gambit on Designer Dame In Black; “I have seen you somewhere before!” and proceeds to describe a metro station setting from within and outside – which could be any metro station from Russia or Burkina Faso. Fair maiden begs for rescue, monumental stories aside.
A new trekker – who’s new to a lot of rules and well-versed in NOT LISTENING to Bianca’s admonishment of anti-littering, opens a chocolate in the middle of the forest and lets the chocolate-wrapper cascade casually to Ash-Tush’s feet. A fresh firing for the fresh trekker. We won’t be seeing him again.
We are momentarily lost. It’s Vietnam out here, but we ain’tno gringos. A path is beaten through – we hear of the white falls. It’s slippin n sliddin all the way down. Fresh mud uprooted and no footholds. It’s a steep descent.
The waterfall finally. Not a pool or a spot to swim. You have to hang out on the rocks. Dunk your head and take a bath. It’s cold. Nigel and Bianca go to the top of the falls.
Filipino Em pulls out delicious Indian delicacies and flat bread. Hungry birds gather. ‘Nice n round’ Andrea produces beef rolls, devoured in seconds. Polished off with the wettest and darkest brownies.Bananas and tangerines. Cold falls nearby and warm food down the gullet.
We trudge back. Lots more sheets of rains. Narrow paths running full of brown and orange muddy waters.
The hooligans are held together with the humor and antics, stay back, trek back leisurely. Selfie Sam is busy with the group pics. Monk, Mack, Scientist and Designer Dame In Black start out at the front. Snakes and birds take the Earth Scientist’s interest.
Everyone is pleased with the trek, even Bianca smiles. We hop on the bus, change and head back. Customary stop for tea. Ciao Margao gang – until next time!
BOOM! Puncture No.2. Roll. Roll. Roll. BOOM! Puncture No.3. BAFFLING TREK, successfully wrapped up!