Royal Enfield Rider Mania – it is a sort of a pilgrimage for Enfield enthusiasts from all over the country. Even while entering Goa, the sheer frequency of Enfields around made it pretty evident that something extraordinary was going on. The air was thick with sounds of all kinds, from old-school CI thumps, the refined whirring of the newer models, and a general cacophony from all possible kinds of aftermarket exhausts.
The Jungle Hostel was just about a 15-min walk away from the Hilltop Motel, the venue of RiderMania. We decided to let Serenity rest for a while and walked to the venue. And was it a sight! Literally, thousands of enfields stacked up beside each other in the parking lot, and a steady stream of more making their way in.
Since we had already completed the registration formalities at Bangalore, we just had to show our RiderMania wristbands to the beefed up security personnel at the gates, and we were ushered in.
Just after entering, we visited the enclosure containing the modified Enfields – RM has a special competition where prominent motorcycle customizers from all over the country showcase their best creations. And without doubt, most of them were absolute lookers! The bulky Wolverine and the muscular Stallone – these were definitely the highlights of the show.
Once inside, we met up with the other members of IBR-Bangalore, who had arrived here the previous day. Strolled around the venue for a while, checking out all the stalls. Found a lot of tempting options – chose to have a Greek lamb wrap which cost a whopping 350 bucks! But the saving grace was that it was delicious.
The most visited stall was obviously the beverage corner – beer was cheap, even by Goa standards, and was literally flowing like water!
Apart from that, there were various stalls for motorcycle accessories and apparel – mobile holders/charger, performance exhausts, custom designed helmets, motorcycle touring luggage – almost everything you could think of was there!
Indian Ocean, one of India’s oldest and most popular rock bands were the headliners for the night, and we enjoyed an hour of soulful, foot-tapping music on the green grass. Especially their live rendition of Kandisa was mindblowing!
Tired from the 600+ km journey, we decided to separate from the remaining group who were gearing up for the next performers. We went ahead in search of a proper place to have dinner without paying exorbitant prices – came upon a small Chinese eatery nearby. Entertained ourselves with a funny Jackie Chan starrer on HBO while waiting for the food, which turned out to be bland and tasteless. Finished it up nonetheless, and returned back to the hostel. People were enjoying with a BBQ party, sitting around on the porch and chatting with each other. We were too tired to take part in the pleasantries and just went straight to bed.
R was up early next morning, and was deeply immersed in a book in the common room. I got up at around 0800,and saw 4-5 unknown guys snoring away to glory in the remaining beds of the dorm!! Meh!
Freshened up, and R pointed out a notice on the bathroom door beseeching us to ‘not do drugs’ – apparently the authorities regularly conduct surprise checks for this. We had breakfast at the hostel – a healthy meal of bread, butter, jam, eggs and samosas! And believe me, those were some of the best samosas I’ve ever had! The raspberry tea was surprisingly refreshing – gave a good start to the day.
Also, we met one of the new guys who had arrived there in the morning – he turned out to be one of the speakers invited to RM for his long distance ride. He was from Hampi, another tourist destination in Karnataka, and had apparently completed a six month Europe Trip on his Enfield! the common space was a big airy hall with a lot of doors, filled with cushions on the floor where you could sit and enjoy your meal. The tables were strewn with books. card games and jenga bricks. We also discovered that somebody had written down a full set of drinking game rules on the jenga bricks – so obviously they had been put to some good use!
A bit shaken up about the notice, R suggested that we roll into Atlanta Resort to roll in privacy ( Atlanta Resort was where the rest of the IBR crowd had put up, and yes, they had proper rooms ). So we reached there, called up AK and almost forced ourselves into their room. There, while R blabbered away with his friends, I rolled the fastest I have ever before and came up with three perfect specimens – one of which we put to test then and there. The effects were expectedly good, and as expected, we were elated. The three of us left the resort to find somewhere we could score some decent burgers. AK had to stop for some cash, and asked us to carry on. We had originally planned for some place that had been suggested by Hampi, but found a good place called Burger factory en route to Vagator. Zomato credited it with the best burgers in town, and we ordered two humongously big burgers – a chicken and bacon cheddar one and a blueberry bacon burger. They were decent, and also very big.
As usual, R had to finish up almost a third of my burger also – and having satiated our munchies we headed back. R wanted to head back to the venue, but I was feeling as lethargic as hell, especially after all that stuffing. At that point of time, with the scorching sun beating down upon us, I wanted nothing more than to get a peaceful nap – and I made that point pretty clear. So we headed back to the hostel, and within a few minutes, both of us were blissfully napping. Also, we planned to pull an all nighter – so sleep was definitely needed.
Woke up about a couple of hours later – headed to the venue finally. The evening festivities were just starting, and the Reggae Rajahs played an entertaining set.
Karsh Kale was supposed to be coming up in another 30 minutes, so we decided to go out and hot one of the beaches. Ozran was the nearest one, around five minutes away from the RM venue. But the only way to reach the beach was to take a set of very uneven and irregular stairs carved out of the hillside – definitely too trippy ( pun-intended ) for me. So we postponed that adventure for the next day and set off to Baga.
Among the popular beaches in Goa, Baga is the one which I enjoy the most. The beach was all lit up with small shack-restaurants. Most of them had arranged small, candle-lit tables with deck chairs facing the sea, in front of them. Each shack had its own choice of music – starting from EDM to Marathi to Bollywood.
We chose one of the quieter and less crowded shacks and took a seat facing the sea. Kalamari is something both of us prefer in such situations, so that was ordered without a second thought. Kings and greenery and kalamari – with the cool wind rushing in from the sea – with the chaotic cacophony of music behind us – it kind of lifts you to a different plane of consciousness. We lounged around for as long as we could – but unfortunately our cash reserves were dangerously low, and we had to finish up. Before leaving, I had to use the loo in the shack – I found that they kept it locked at all times unless someone needed to use it. Under those circumstances, the whole thing seemed to be pretty amusing to me!!
Contacted the rest of the IBR crowd, met up with them at Curlies. Lazed around for a while by the beach, and then decided to head back to hostel. So much for pulling an all-nighter! As usual, the hostel was still full of people socializing and chilling in the common area. We found out a table in the corner which was empty, pulled one out from the stash and ended the day on a ‘high’ note.