Girl Gone Goa

Travel, sex, magic, and cycling in an Indian state

About October 14, 2008

Girl Gone Goa: Ulrike Bemvinda Rodrigues

Live and cycle in Goa, India

In 2008 I decided to live in Goa for half a year, ride a one-speed Indian bicycle, and chronicle my journey as a single woman of Goan descent. I wrote more than 60 stories, and then returned to Goa in 2014 to write a book. I photographed more than 100 Goa Moments in that four-month visit.

Click Stories to browse the story index.  You can view  the Goa Moments and read all the posts at once. You can also check the popular stories in the sidebar for thoughts such as It Runs in The Family. And take a look at the Photos with images of people and places in Goa.

About me

My name is Ulrike Bemvinda Rodrigues and I joke that I’m a typical Canadian—my mother is from Austria, my father is a Goan whose family emigrated from Portuguese-occupied India to British-occupied Burma (now Myanmar). They met and married in England, I was born in Germany, and we moved to Canada when I was six.

Bemvinda is my middle name, my grandmother’s name and a way of saying “welcome” in Portuguese. I didn’t know that when I read the word “bemvindo” at the top of a menu a few years ago—I thought it meant “all you can eat” or “dinner special.”

Until just a few years ago, I also didn’t know that Goa—the place my father’s family comes from—was a Portuguese state in India until 1961. It never occurred to me that my last name, Rodrigues, isn’t a traditional Indian name. Or that being raised Roman Catholic isn’t a traditional Indian religion.

Ulrike is 2nd from leftThis blog is about me learning all that first hand: from October 2008 to April 2009 I lived, cycled and wrote in Goa for six months. I discovered and blogged what Goa means to people who live there. I met neighbours, relatives, expats and visitors. I bought and rode an Indian one-speed cycle and pedalled aimlessly.

I’ve also written about riding a 100cc Symba Honda Cub motorcycle 2000 kilometres around British Columbiariding the rails with a folding bicycle in western Canada; and the journey of suicide.

I write about two-wheeled and independent travel because more girls and women need to hear that it is okay to be curious and adventurous.



10 Responses to “About”

  1. Luis Dias Says:

    Hi Ulrike,

    Stumbled upon your blog. You really write well, and have a great sense of humour.

    We’ve recently returned from the UK, to (re)settle here. I’ve brought back a bike, but as it needs some basic work, I’ve not begun pedalling here. Everyone here tells me I’d be crazy to try, so it’s good to hear of your experiences.

    Keep those posts coming!

    Merry Christmas and All the Best for the New Year!

    Luis Dias

  2. amruta patil Says:

    Vivacious blog, beautiful pictures. i grew up where you now live – your stories make me miss home some.

  3. Lin Says:

    Hye there,
    I just wanted to know if your grandmother came from Moira village as I know one. Good luck in your venture and may you have a nice time.

  4. UR Says:

    My grandmother, Bemvinda D’Souza, lived in Nachinola with brothers Angelo (Anju) and Jerry.

  5. Gioya Fennelly Says:

    I guess we are cousins of sorts. I am Jerry’s daughter and live in New York.

  6. UR Says:

    This from Aloysius (my father’s cousin and Bemvinda’s nephew):

    “The only D’Souza family that I remember from my days at St Xavier’s School, Moira are Laura, big house on the right on the main Mapuca – Aldona Road. She married Joe D’Souza (who was a teacher at St Xaviers), whose house was on this main road just near the bridge coming from Mapuca entering Moira.

    We stayed just opposite in Lobo’s house — now demolished and a new multi storeyed building has come up in its place. (Mrs Lobo’s maiden name was Nazareth from Nachinola behind our church — her children’s names were Grace, Patrick and Aloo. Their cousin, Antonio Nazareth, runs the restaurant ANDRON in Nachinola.)”

  7. tallulah Says:

    Hi Ulrike,
    Enjoyed reading your cycling escapades in Goa! You do have a great sense of humour…about time you wrote a book!
    warm regards,

  8. Travis Kleinfeld Says:

    I adore those bikes, too. The Hercules and the Atlases and all of those other ones of like design. While I was traveling in India, I began to search for parts as I have a similar styled bike and wanted some add-ons. The search brought me to the ends of towns and cities. But what I began to also develop was a burning desire to acquire one or more of those old, well used (Herculean) bikes. Battling Gardia sapped my ambitions tho’ and I went home empty handed and stomached. Wa-wa. I still pine for those bikes…

  9. hi Bemvinda,

    Nice to read about you… You sound very adventurous to me.. and your blog / writing articles is a good job which is an art in it self.

    Happy blogging

  10. Maria Says:

    Fantastic blog. I’m inspired to pick up my rusty old cycle and rediscover Goa!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s