Life in Goa
November 21, 2009 – Day 331 – Arambol Beach, Goa, India
After a heart pumping run on the beach this morning, we decided to toss things up with a breakfast of oatmeal with sliced bananas and fresh orange juice. Mmm! There is a huge fruit stand in town that sells everything from green beans and eggplants to fingerling bananas and melons. Everything just seems to taste better here in Goa!
Maybe it is our extreme happiness and our reward for having gone through 2 months in northern India where the people are difficult (to put it nicely), the prices are outrageous, the food mediocre to inedible, and the streets are covered in at least 3 different kinds of poop.
Yes, Goa is still India for sure but it is definitely different than the rest of the crazy country. The dreaded beach oglers are fairly limited and there are not as many domestic India tourists here to throw trash all over the beach or walk around pointing at you. People don’t even stare that much! Well, at some of the girls who think it’s okay to walk around town in a bikini top and a fluttery skirt that barely covers her bum. But the foreigner guys stare at her too. Anyway, we are loving every second here. The people are so much more laid back, so friendly and not at all in-your-face. Even the shop keepers are pretty chill.
We had to run an errand this morning before we could get out in the sandy sun. We caught the local bus to a town called Shiolim which currently has the only ATM in the area. The bus was cheap, Rs. 10 each way if I remember correctly. (That’s about US$0.25). In total it took about an hour to get there, get some money and get back to Arambol. We were out enjoying the beach before we knew it and our tans can back us up. The sun is pretty harsh here and within just a few days of our skin actually seeing the sun (we have had to cover up for India to try to be as culturally sensitive to their conservative standards as possible). It’s nice to get some sun and there is no way to avoid taking a dip in the water that is always the perfect temperature.
Feeling itchy feet, we took a walk again but this time in the opposite direction from yesterday. Wow, what a fabulous discovery (well, it was a discovery for us anyway!)! The little beach that is hiding out in a rocky cove is, depending on which direction you are facing, incredibly lush and green or rocky and shimmering water. About 200 meters up from the shoreline is a large freshwater pool with beautiful greenery surrounding it to make an exotic, tropical looking escape. The beach itself is marvelous with the large black rocks jutting out from beneath the surface. The waves seemed a bit rough and although we didn’t swim here, it looked like it might drop off quickly since the beach slopes downward slightly and the waves being crashing in a bit hard.
There are several sun beds lining the small shoreline and there seems to be a wealth of fully clothed Indian men hanging about. Some were staring, some were touting sun beds or drugs, and others were doing who knows what. It’s hard to tell with that deliberate, rapid, and sometimes flailing walk so common among young Indian men. Anyway, it is an astoundingly gorgeous beach worth a visit while you are at Arambol.
We hung out until sunset and watched the black crabs camoflauged against the black rocks scitter between the crevices. Once we made our way back to our favorite restaurant by our guest house, we enjoyed a fabulous Indian dinner: potato-paneer dosas with the obligatory ice cold Kingfisher beer. In case you’re wondering, a dosa is a big thin pancake about a foot long that is filled with goodness. Ours were potato and cheese (paneer is Indian cheese) but you can get just about anything in a dosa—chicken, masaala (spicy Indian sauce kinda like curry but not as thick), plain, etc. And the best part is that dinner cost under $2/pp including the beer which is always expensive (well, it’s just over a dollar itself but still that seems expensive here).
To get to this beach (we’re not sure of the name), walk toward the rocky part of Arambol near all the beach restaurants. The closer you get to the big rocks you will see a set of stairs going up into a little “street” of souvenir shops and more restaurants. Walk left for 10-15 minutes through the many shops along the rocky path and you will run straight into the beach. If you want to sleep there, you can find accommodation in several basic beach huts as well as a restaurant right there or the many restaurants you will pass on the way.
Ladies, there really are a lot of those infamous Indian oglers here that we all dread. Be prepared for some to approach you for offers of drugs, shoulder massages, or even to rub in your sunscreen (that’s no joke). Another thing that we saw happen a lot and had happen to Lin was unaware photo-taking. We were standing by a big rock watching the crabs run around and some Indian man wearing only a T-shirt and flipflops (guessing there was a Speedo under there somewhere?) sneaks behind Lin and snaps a photo of her backside. She wasn’t even wearing a bathing suit but a loose knee length dress! Saben flipped out on the guy and yelled at him which caused the creep to scurry off and over the hill toward Arambol. Anyway, this sort of behavior happens at Arambol too but less frequently because there are fewer Indians on Arambol.