Tropical Paradise- My Weekend in Goa

A view of the beach

The last weekend about half of our program took a trip to south Goa, a small state south east of Maharashtra on the coast on the Arabian Sea. I was the most relaxing weekend I’ve had in India so far.

One of the most interesting parts of the weekend was getting to and from Goa… by overnight sleeper bus. We took a rickshaw to the bus station, although it turns out you catch private busses from small stands in front of hotels nearby. We took a tiny, incredibly crowded bus for about 10 minutes to the actual bus.

I was surprised how much the palm trees slanted- and you could see the coconuts hanging off!

The sleeper bus was an experience. One the way there the bus consisted of closed compartments with single beds on one side, and double on the other, stacked two high, with a sliding closing door so you were basically in a box. The drive is about 10 hours, and roads in India are defiantly not nearly as smooth as what you might be used to in the States or Europe.  A couple people said they caught some air at one point in the night, but other than being rather cold because the window wouldn’t shut all the way I thought the ride was fine. The bus generally only makes one stop, for dinner about two hours in, so we did have some pretty out-in –the-open midnight bathroom breaks.

An Indian beach experience couldn't be complet without a cow walking along

 

We got to Goa about 8am on Saturday morning, and caught a bus to our hotel on south Goa. We were staying in these cool eco huts, made from bamboo that I thought were really cool. To get to the beach you had to go down a hill though some palm trees, clime around some rocks until suddenly this view of the incredible white sandy beach and clear blue water opened up. There were a lot of other small hotels, shops and restaurants along the beach, but it totally felt like tropical paradise.

The sunset, rock and boat from the beach at low tied

 

We spent the day lounging on beach chairs, swimming in the bath warm water, and enjoying some western style food and drinks. It was probably the most foreigners I have seen in one place anywhere in India, and bikinis were totally acceptable. It was really strange to see all of the exposed skin after not seeing shoulders for months. As one of the girls on the trip said, it was like everyone lost 20lbs when they took of their kurta’s- the loose Indian tops most of us wear all the time.

Silent dance party!

Saturday evening, after getting dinner right on the beach, we went out to a ‘silent dance party’ that we had see advertized. It was a rather strange experience- upon entering you were given a pair of headphones, though which you could choose from one of three music stations (each with different types of music playing) indicated by a colored light on the headphones.

A fire dancer? Random but cool, and slightly dangerous

You could then pick a station, adjust the volume, and dance. When wearing your headphones it wasn’t so odd- although not everyone was listening to the same thing all the time, people got totally into it. The really weird part was when you took your headphones off and people were rocking out to music you couldn’t hear. While a silent party not something I feel the need to do again, it was surprisingly quite a bit of fun. One of the strangest parts was the rather random acts they got to perform- including a guy dancing with an outfit that had fire on the ends of it and a trapeze artist.

My favorite picture from the weekend

Sunday we spent the morning and early afternoon on the beach. I also did some shopping at a market just off the beach. They had kind of odd collections of things from all over India and I did get some really delicious smelling loose leaf Mango and Ginger teas. That afternoon it was time to head back to Pune, we caught taxies to the sleeper bus and arrive back at about 6am on Monday morning. It seems almost silly to travel all that way for less than two days on the beach, but in my book it was totally worth it. If you ever want a place for a beach vacation, I would highly recommend south Goa!

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