Following our escape from Mumbai, we decided to head south, where according to various parties it’s “less crazy.” We chose to come directly to Palolem Beach in southern Goa for a little chill time.
Goa is a small state on the west coast of India. Until only a few decades ago (60s maybe) it was a Portuguese colony. As a result, there are many old churches and probably the only sizable population of Catholics in the country. Goa is best known however for its beaches. Beaches filled with hippies and all night ravers. Just what Dave and I long for, right? Not exactly. But we owed it to the inspiration of this whole trip to pay a visit. (remember we blame Matt Damon.) Fortunately, we’ve sought out a more “isolated” Goan beach during the shoulder season. As a result, we’ve encountered fewer hippies, better deals and more peace and quiet.
For everything that Mumbai was for us, Goa seems to be the opposite. Example: In Mumbai, after three days of walking around the city, we never saw one roll of toilet paper – much to our dismay. The first shop we popped into in Palolem had a pyramid of toilet paper along with every single thing we could have wanted – some we didn’t even realize we wanted. A clear sign of a Western presence. The little shop overflowed with toilet paper, soap, half bottles of shampoo, sunscreen, and Dove face wipes (oh how I wanted one of those on the dirty, sticky train ride south!) among other things. The other obvious signs of tourist villa were the inflated prices of food and lodging and the vast array of food available. All restaurants have a variation of the same offering: Chinese, Mexican, Thai, Pizza, Continental (we’ve come to recognize this as Italian), Seafood and of course Indian. Most are fairly good. Unfortunately, they are also overpriced for India.
Since we arrived rather late on this first evening, we took what we could get. An overpriced, overly nice room (a whopping $9) on the main street. The up sides of this were (1) Dave was able to watch live EPL soccer games from the comfort of our bed, and (2) it allowed us to walk the beach in search of a good beach hut deal for the remainder of the week. We eventually bargained for a little shack on a quiet cove just off of the main beach. It’s not the Ritz, but it’s a good place to read, relax and stare off into the horizon for a week. A recovering desk jockey’s dream!