Oh it's a hard life.

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November 30th 2006
Published: December 23rd 2006
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Goa Thurs 30th Nov - Wed 6th Dec

I arrived in Palolem early afternoon after a cab ride through the bluegums and cashew nut forests that line the Goan coast, my head full of American styly religious preachings - the taxi driver was very devout and set of in search of a Banyan tree. I'd been highly recommended the River Valley accom nearby the tree and functioning on pure adrenalin in the hot sun with my heavy bag, I dribbled along the pristine sand beach, past restaurants, fishing boats, sunbathers, cows and dogs. Success, I found my home for the next few days, a little bamboo hut on stilts looking out over the river through coconut trees and hammocks, there was even a resident yogi!

Lying in bed the first morning I plucked up the courage to join the early morning yoga session by the river. I had nightmare visions of toned bronzed bodies in bikinis contorting themselves into various poses while I, dressed in my linen trousers and t-shirt, struggled to even kneel for 5 minutes; but I was pleasantly surprised by the relaxed atmosphere and mixture of abilities. I soon found myself limbered up and attempting the wheel (aka as the crab in the playground) whilst trying to 'concentrate the mind' and control my breathing... it was amazing I didn't realised that I could bend so far upside down.

With daily 90 minute sessions in my new hot pink fisherman trousers I felt fantastic and on the last day after many attempts even succeeded in doing the crow - basically you balance all your weight on your hands with your knees resting on your elbows. It was such an achievement, I felt like I'd just won a gold olympic metal.

The rest of the days were sooooo tiring, I'd wander along to a lounger on the beach, laze in the sun watching the eagles sore above and the palms dance in the wind against a bright blue sky, swim in the warm sea, chase crabs, search for shells, chat to fellow travellers and the women who walked the beach selling all sorts of treasures, every now and then popping inside the beach shack restaurant for a delicious snack or a cool drink of fresh pineapple juice. When I tired of the sun I'd meander around the little parade of book and jewellery shops, searching out ideas and sources or watch the fishermen get ready to launch thier boats and haul in the days catch, and late afternoon settle down with my sketch book and G&T and marvel at the sunsets as the sky changed through variations of yellow, orange and red, till the stars started twinkling.

I had hoped to hire a moped and explore the area further but time seemed to pass so quickly, I can so see why people end up here for weeks. Still I did pop into a local town with some friends and explored the fruit and veg market, sampling the tamarind and delicious pomergranites, attempting to find out the names and cooking methods for various bizarre and odd shaped veg and purchased some very cheap antihistamines from the local chemist, which I was later assured were ok. Early one morning I set of with a family to explore upriver for monkeys, as we were punted along the river we sat back watching the brightly coloured birds fish and sit in the sun, and jungle drift by. We were unsuccessful in our search, I think it was a little to do with Tinka's (a little 5 year old girl) cries of delight at anything that moved. I also attempted to show Tinka how to paint and mix colours but we decided it was more fun dunking the chim paper in the water than painting flowers and palm trees - she'll learn.

I really wasn't ready to leave my new home, but felt revitalised by the sun, yoga, good food (ummm prawns...) and a pedicure and headed off to the airport to catch my 16 pound incl tax flight to Bangalore and the Rudkin arrival. Unfortunately my flight had been delays a la easyjet, so I spent rather longer than anticipated in the departure lounge but I'm so pleased I decided to go to Goa, after my initial reservations it may be suffering from too many tourists but it's still paradise.


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