Question: If it’s monsoon and I’m sick, is Goa still tropical?
So, I haven’t posted in a while and I’m tempted to turn this into a blog post whining and grumbling about how I’m sick, but I’ll save that for later. First – I will tell you about GOA!!!
Goa is a beautiful little state in India that is famous for being a hippy heaven and a beach paradise. My friend Jimmy (who I haven’t seen in close in three years) came to India and we were fortunate enough to be able to coordinate the three of us going to Goa together. Buttmunch and I were really looking forward to a much needed break from work and having Jimmy around just made it that much better.
In retrospect I’m not sure exactly what to write about, in a word, the mini-vaca was AWESOME. I’ll try to categorize our trip to make for an easy read:
5 Star living – I could get used to it
Our first night in Goa we spent the night at a 5 star resort (Fort Aguada) where the first thing I did upon entering our MASSIVE room was jump on the bed. A pillow fight then commenced. We ran around like little kids between the walk in closet, the mini waiting room, the room and the large balcony we had overseeing the entire resort. Those people in 5 star places really know how to live it up. The three of us dined in the one of three restaurants, this being Goa and Buttmunch and I being pescatarian we opted for the Seafood Restaurant. It was a very good decision.
Our table overlooked the ocean and as we were served fancy breads with really cool sauces (sauce 1 made from apples and pomegranates, sauce 2 made from pineapples, sauce 3 made from celery) all three of us commented on 1) how over the top happy we were and 3) how we could totally get used to high end living. Our dinner was some of the best sea food ever (hello different kinds of fish, beyond phenomenal crabcakes, calamari and LOBSTA’!!) and dessert was no disappointment either. After eating to our fill we decided to sit at the bar and challenge the bartender to a few bar tricks. (Next time you see me please ask me about these because I’m guaranteed to be the highlight of the party.) We wandered around the resort and were disappointed the pool was closed for the night, but decided that we were all pooped and the large soft bed was rather enticing.
For the remainder of the trip we stayed in Baga where you could step outside our room and see the beach. The first day we went to the beach it was overcast, but in no way did that mean the beach was empty. Buttmunch and I went into the water first and then came back after a quick dip so that she could work on her tan, and then Jimmy and I set off to ride the waves. Holy Hilsa, those were some glorious waves indeed. The water was just perfect (save for the creepy Indian men who clearly aren’t used to seeing women in swim wear) it was a lovely time. Jimmy and I caught some incredible waves and I even ATE some serious ocean water to get incredible footage of him riding the Indian waters. (Will try to post a video here if I ever get the clip from Jimmers).
It’s been a while since I’ve been on the beach and I had forgotten how much I enjoy salty ocean water and how truly annoying sand is when I’m wet – those two factors are universal, however something that makes the beaches in Goa uniquely Goa are the vendors. By “vendors” I mean there is a cluster of women who walk around the beach trying to sell you knick knacks, trinkets and jewelry that you neither need nor want. At first we politely declined their nice invitations (“seeing is free, have look only”) but after the 7th woman trying to sell me shells I could very well pick up myself, I got a tad bit annoyed and the conversations would go something like this:
Lady: yes please, you want to have look
Lady: please look, seeing is free
Lady: Okay, maybe not now
Lady: Maybe you want later.
Me: Nope. Never.
Lady: Okay maybe tomorrow.
Me: NOPE. Not now, not ever.
*lady hovers for a while and then leaves after a bit*
I’m not exactly proud of how rude I was, but I discovered politeness does not beat persistence. Buttmunch would put her music in and just pretend to be sleeping.
My favorite was perhaps when I was trying to look engrossed in a magazine as to avoid more rude conversations where I hear a smooth sultry voice above me offer “foot masssssage?…” I responded with a firm “NO THANK YOU” and was slightly worried when the gentleman walking away from me clearly had no product in hand to sell and was just walking around and any other man on the beach. Ew. Stay away from my feet please.
The second day on the beach was far more sunny. We found a spot that was a makeshift island of sand that we claimed and made our spot until the tides came in and we had to make our way to the main beach. The advantage of our little island was that the life guards prevented creepy Indian men from wading their way across the water to us, and I had a great view of the heavily populated beach. My favorite part of lying there was the eagles. Yes, you read that correctly, there was a certain time of the day when eagles would swoop around and the bright skies, the shiny water and the flight of eagles made for a spectacular sight.
At one point, we even tried to make a sand castle but that ended up being an epic fail. The “finished” product we left on the beach was just a mound of sand with grotesque lumps on top. I should have been an architect.
Although India has an amazing music industry (all too apparently in Bollywood movies,) when it comes to English music, this side of the world seems to be perpetually suck in the past and hits from the 90’s. Our first night in Baga, Jimmers, Buttmunch and I stumbled into Cavala where we had delicious dinner and drinks and as we munched away the place transformed into a dance floor where customers tried to keep up with the amazing cover band “Tidal Waves”. The band was without a doubt talented. The harmony was incredible and the bass that the lead bassist had made me drool it was so beautiful! (One of the band members is also Dmitri Martin’s doppelganger and even acted like him and also played a KEYTAR!!)
There were a few songs where the generational gap was more than obvious when the three of us could no longer identify the music being played and customers who were well above two decades older than us were happily moving their bodies and singing along word for word.
A few of the other places we went to had DJ’s that didn’t do a terrible job of playing music that we could dance to, however, if I hear Black Eyed Peas “It’s going to be a good night” one more time I’m going to punch the DJ in the face.
Foods from the SEA
As I’ve already mentioned, Buttmunch and I are pescatarian and are therefore vegetarians who eat seafood. In Kolkata we had gotten used to eating fish at least once( if not twice) a day but our intake of seafood took a dramatic decline due to the oil spills that happened right off the coast of Mumbai…a factor that both of us felt compelled to make up for in Goa. And make up for it we did. I was partial to the food in Boston seeing as it’s fresh and coastal, however, a number of the dishes I indulged in in Goa puts even the best of Boston’s calm chowda’ to shame.
With every meal we had fish at the least if not calamari, crab and perhaps even lobster and each item was prepared in a way that made our mouths water and sent our tummies into spirals of delight. There was one night in particular where we experienced the longest stretch of silence between the three of us (Jimmy, Buttmunch and I all being chatterboxes) as all of our attention was devoted to shoveling delicious spoonful after delicious spoonful into our mouths. The following picture shows almost all the dishes from ONE MEAL.
As with every new place in our trip, we’ve met many wonderful and interesting people and Goa was no exception. Here is a list of the some of the individuals I had the happy fortune of making acquaintance with:
Jon – Jon is a fellow who at the age of 17 went into the Marines and now some 15-20 years later he still suffers from nightmares and travels back and forth between Nepal and India self medicating on whatever illegal substances he finds. The whole situation is rather unfortunate because when talking to him, it’s apparently that he’s actually a really nice guy and perhaps would have turned out differently had circumstances been different.
Dutchmen – Ah, the flying Dutchmen. There were three of them and I even remember their names! A one, Chikta, a Thomas and Benjamin from Holland found themselves in Goa and we happen to run into them several times in several places. They were hilarious, especially Benjamin. Three Dutchmen roughly in their early 20’s in India just having a good time.
Frenchmen – It seems finding Frenchmen wherever I go is inevitable. In this case, they were not as comatose and were slightly more impressed. I only got to talk to two of the four I met, but one of them made me laugh because he just got a degree in petroleum engineering (how cool is that?!) and is off to “Africa” in a week (or…in a few days now I guess). When I asked him where in “Africa”…he said he didn’t know. Only men, and only Frenchmen would be able to completely unalarmed by the fact that they are moving their entire lives to an unknown place (Africa!!) and with a week to go have NO information about it.
Stereotypical American – And…of course, we have the stereotypical Americano. If you asked someone to describe an American, especially one they didn’t like…they would undoubtedly describe this guy. He was loud, cocky, talked too much, talked too much about himself and was all gung-ho America….from Texas…wearing a basketball jersey. *cringe* Yeah. Great. You’re in India, and we’re not interested.
British Ladies – Of all the characters we met, our favorite (without any competition) were definitely our two Ladies who hailed from England. Livvy and Becca are the type of girls I want to hate. They are beautiful, they are smart, they are funny, talented and just so wonderful and down to earth that I can’t help but fall in love with them! The two of them with the three of us made for a jolly team of 5 where Jimmy was the happy sole male and he couldn’t have been more pleased with the wonderful women he was surrounded by. Also, if I die without seeing these two lovely ladies again I will be terribly sad.
All in all, Goa was amazing and it ended all too soon. We’re back in Mumbai for the weekend and then after one final week in Delhi our three month saga will come to an end. Scary.