It’s been a while since I have been in Goa and it has changed less than I thought it would in some ways, more in ways I perhaps cannot see. But I am a little wiser and am enjoying the bits I am seeing more and am willing to travel a little farther afield to see them.
I had booked a hotel in South Goa through the free internat at Mumbai internatial airport (I had decided to fly as it was only around 40 quid for the flight) The information said that this hotel had a swimming pool and internet. Sorted.
The Taxi shoehorned it’s way around cars with little thought to anyone’s safety and we arrived in one lucky piece, at the Donna Sa Maria hotel (full of cheerfully aged English package tourists), dial up internet (available at 8pm should you wish to check your mail) and a swimming pool. I stripped off and swam until my arms thrashed the pool full of bubbles and gnashed my teeth about the cheek in stating that a few minutes dial up could be called an internet connection.
The beach (Varca Beach I believe) had a few bars with union jacks flapping above them and the kind of sea you wouldn’t see many fish in even had they survived the daily net to table rat run.
No problem, we chowed down on a meal in a local restaurant of Chicken Xacuti and rubbed our tummies in delight, chatted to some of the lovely package tourists who give good value considering they are teetering on the abyss and slept like babes.
The next day I hired a motorbike and headed off down south to see what delights were in store for us there. I wanted internet, a nicer beach and some young people. We had heard of a mythical beach called Palolim, white sand and the kind of traveller normally found in the S.A.S. That’s us, rock and roll.
The motorbike ride was great. The air cooled by the constant breeze, the small ferry across the Sai river that looked like it had been carved by nemo himself out of old rusty iron, the ups and downs of the road as it snaked through emerald hills, the colourful locals planting rice in the paddies, the perfect little paddy fields on multi levels so that water would trickle down through a neat system of sluices. We even came across a deserted beach – well deserted apart from a handfull of other lucky devils, but that’s pretty deserted by Goan standards.
After a good few hours we arrived in Palolem. It was busy, colourful and like Koh Samui twenty years ago, so we booked a hut and moved ourselves down to the little sickle shaped beach.