Day #59 - Restful South of Goa
Setting foot on the warm sand of Goa felt just like how someone would imagine heaven to be. Finally, after almost 2 month of travelling, we swap the messy, buzzing and colourful North of India for the sea and coconut abundant South. We were welcomed to a totally new country. Humidity skyrocketed to 90% and vegetation was tropical. People looked calmer and healthier, streets were cleaner, we could smell nature and moments of silence finally existed. We could see an opportunity for a real rest and extra time to take care of ourselves. Could this be India? Yes, and we were so happy!
Because we were only going to spend a few days in Goa, we had to pick between North or South. If you are looking for party at the beach and social life go for the North. Otherwise, for some peace and quiet, less touristic vibe, don’t hesitate to pick the South. We went for the South and found Agonda beach to be the perfect spot to rest. Close to other beautiful beaches such as: Palolem, Kola and Butterfly (only accessible by boat), we felt we had plenty to discover on scooter for the 4 days. We settled down at Agonda Secret Garden in front of the beach in a tiny wooden hut. Nothing fancy but its simple and natural architecture on top of pillars and the coconut tree surrounding made it very cosy. Sunrises and sunsets were magical moments of colours at the beach. It attracted entire families of locals and indian tourists trying to better enjoy the warm sea by avoiding the burning peak hours. Every sunset was a perfect opportunity for us to get back to our yoga practice with a few sun salutations. We felt that this place could be home for longer than just a few days.
Another important improvement was the local food. At last, fish and sea food were available, more fresh than ever! Besides the Portuguese cultural influence in Goa, the quality of the sea food was a crucial factor that made us feel like home. Every traditional dish tasted better and healthier in Goa. There, we found more choices of safe protein and a delicious organic fruit variety. Jess finally got to satisfy her desire for fresh mango juice, which had become a recurrent topic of conversation throughout our first two months in India. Sweetness was a big add-on on spicy dishes. Also, we noticed that the degree of spiciness in Goa had become more tolerable compared to Northern Indian dishes. Coconut milk was a great substitute for yogurt on their gravies. Jess’ body and mine, felt better eating here. We were so delighted to discover their traditional dishes such as their selection of tandooris, vindaloo and balchao. My favourite food experience was the tandoori crabs. Covered in a red sweet and spicy sauce, it was worth the fight to get to its tender and juicy meat.
Coconuts were everywhere and we were so pleased to have them in our lives. We discover how versatile and useful this fruit can be. We first became addicted to its water, known as a very healthy and natural choice of hydration. Once we had drank its water, we would eat its delicious slimy centre. Moreover, we discovered that the other way to give usage to coconuts was to leave them to ripe for longer, to get the coconut we commonly know. At this stage, other products like coconut oil for cooking or skincare can be made. Actually, we have been testing the benefits of coconut oil on our skins and hair and results have been great! With leftover fibres of the coconut skin, locals make super strong ropes and organic earth fertilisers. We are not planning to forget this amazing fruit so soon.
One of our little detours was to the hippie market in Anjuna beach, in the North of Goa. This market is open every Wednesday, which coincided perfectly with our schedule. Rumours say it was created by the father hippie himself ,“eight finger Eddie”, in 1975 as a way for the community to sustain their living in Goa. Since then, this organic market has grown considerably and evolved to a more commercial structure. Still, it is well preserved and it was fun to see all the types of stuff that are sold there. We even took this opportunity to buy some of our missing christmas presents :) . Besides that, we were terribly disapointed by Anjuna beach and its town vibe. It was dirtier, touristic and badly frequented.
We finished Goa, with a few hours in the beautiful area of “Altinho” in the capital named Panjim and did a quick sightseeing of the Old Goa.
Hampi is our next stop!