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Published: November 30th 2015
Sat in a beachside bar, catching up with blogs, an overwhelming feeling of happiness built up in my stomach. I don’t ever want to go home we thought to ourselves.
Why is it that the beach does something to us? You soon become relaxed and you just feel really good. In some ways it is almost therapeutic just being there. Well for us that is how we felt sitting on Anjuna beach in Goa. Looking out onto the amazing blue skies, the sun shining brightly although you dare not look at it as it you would momentarily lose your vision. Instead you smile at its beautiful reflection or stream of crystal light sparkling in the sea seemingly moving all the way towards you.
We sat there simply watching the waves furiously crashing into each other, making its journey to shore and retreating again. Given the strength of the waves, the splashing sounds of the sea was all we could hear. Still calming though.
Sat with a beer in hand, soft tranquil music being played in the background of the beachside bar we sat in, we both smiled to ourselves happy to be in Goa. I
hope we can explain why as it was certainly not like any beach we had witnessed in the Philppines but we felt really good in Anjuna.
Initially when planning (our very last minute trip to India) we were unsure about adding Goa to our India trip altogether. We like culture and local life and many people had said 'Goa is nice but not the real India'. Once we arrived we asked ourselves what makes Goa any different to the many previous beaches we have visited or to other areas in India.
In answer to the above question Anjuna, Goa proved to be a break from the chaos of the previous cities and was relaxed and calming. No cows (on the beach that is, although you can still find them on the streets) or monkeys. For us it still felt like India although just a very different India to the one we knew. Calm and relaxed.
Our initial impressions were rather different to how we felt after settling down there. We initially arrived at 3pm on a completely overcast day. The lack of sun did not do the scenery any justice. Although happy to be
there, we were not overwhelmed by it.
We walked around for what felt like hours trying to find affordable accommodation. After an hour we settled on Premavati guesthouse. A small family run place with clean rooms located on the main dirt path behind the beach.
Immediately we felt something not right here. As we strolled the back streets there were one or two restaurants/bars, some pumping music. We peeped inside and did not see anyone, maybe one person but then again they could’ve just been workers!
Added to this there were lots of wooden shacks filled with clothes for tourists. Bright vest tops, shorts, and bikinis. This stood in complete juxtaposition with the women who sat beside these huts in their beautiful saris. These clothes were clearly not for them or any locals for that matter. However there were no tourists to shop there. Strange.
It was also strange seeing such clothes for sale as not once had we seen such revealing clothes for sale in Delhi, Agra, Varanasi or anywhere in Rajasthan. We use the word revealing but in truth these are normal western clothes but would had made us, especially P,
feel the need to cover more in India.
Given the amount of stalls we expected there to be more tourists. There wasn't.
There were many shacks, some that were quite big all covered in bright blue or yellow tarpaulin. They looked like they was once bars and lodges. All been long forgotten about. Strange we once again thought to ourselves.
After settling in we soon got speaking to some locals. The women here were very friendly at first but they soon get to the point of asking you to look in their shop. This did get a little tiresome. We learnt to be less chatty with them as they often became a little annoyed when we said we wasn’t looking to buy anything. Coming from Rajasthan we completely underestimated their sell motive as it was rarely the women selling things or ushering you into their shops there. Goa is the complete opposite.
In speaking to these women however we did learn that the monsoon season sees a closure in many bars and hostels thus explaining why the town felt built up for tourists but yet there were none to be seen. The tides
are really strong during these times of year and come far into shore leaving little if any beach left. Any beach properties around were flooded and inhabitable. This is a deterrent for both tourists and the owners of these properties to settle here during this time of year I guess.
We however enjoyed this quiet relaxing feel. During the day we could count the number of tourists we saw on one hand. A few international tourists, one couple sunbathing, an Indian guy and a western girl playing frisbee but that was about it.
People are put off by the very little beach. On one day it wasn’t until 2pm that you could easily navigate the beach again. Plus the sea was always too strong for you to swim in it. In the evenings with the tide out many locals and domestic/international Indian tourists would appear again playing in the shallows of the water, strolling up and down the beach and watching the sunset.
Over the 2 days at this beach we enjoyed strolling up and down it getting our feet wet in the sea, doing nothing but sitting at a beach side bar (choosing
one out three present) and just enjoying the relaxed pace of life.
The beach was a golden black sand surrounded by many palm trees, the sea a deep blue colour, with bright green hills surrounding the beach in the distance.
The food here was delicious too. Our favourites were at a cliff bar (Guru bar) that served up the yummiest fish masala curry and chicken curry dish that were both perfect for being mopped up by the doughy roti that we ordered.
After Rajasthan and Varanasi, Goa was just what we needed and we didn’t want to leave. Calangut
Also wanting to see more beach we also visited an area called Calangut for a full day and night before our train to Hampi.
This was described as a bigger beach, more lively, touristy and not very Indian at all. Many people also mentioned there were many Russian tourists.
This was not quite what we found. What we found was wait for it... cows on the beach. Haha. This is India. A handful of non-Indian tourists and big crowd of both domestic and international Indian tourists.
Although more developed and untouched we liked the feel of this place although we were only staying for the one night. If we were there for much longer I doubt we would have left with the same impression. We relaxed at a beach side food place, getting out of the unbearable sun. The sun was too hot so we had to purchase sun cream again for just walking in the sun. P actually fell asleep as the sun had taken it out of here at this beachside bar.
The rest of our time was spent purchasing some cheap $1 sun glasses, getting Chris's watch strap fixed and eating 2 masala and lime smeared corn on the cobs along with a very western pizza hut for dinner.
A few observations about Calangut beach in Goa was;
1. The tendency for people to stick together in one spot of the beach. The beach was huge but everyone stuck together. So you would have areas where it was completely deserted and areas densely packed with people. Both areas right next to each other. Funny to see.
2. You will see many Indian men drinking large quantities of
alcohol here. This was a surprise to see as we never saw this throughout the whole time spent during India so far. We were also surprised to see many stores selling spirits and beers with many men standing outside drinking, drunk even.
3. Even though one of the most established beaches in Goa, they did not really make use of the beach side location for bars and hotels. This meant lots of empty beach. It would have been nice to relax in one place overlooking the beach as unlike Anjuna beach Calangut retains its beach during the day in monsoon season.
Premavati guest house-Anjuna
Casa Jack guest house- Calangut
From airport; bartered a price lower than prepaid taxi at 900rps (1 hr ride)
To Calungut 250 rps (25 minute ride)
To Vaso de Goa (near airport) taxi at 1000 rupees.
Transport from Goa (vasco da gama) to Hampi (hospet). 250 rupees per person 8hrs Sleeper class.
Tot: 2.476s; Tpl: 0.069s; cc: 41; qc: 172; dbt: 0.1058s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.9mb